Author Archives: Chris Helzer

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

Photo of the Week – July 21, 2016

Lately, I’ve had some great opportunities to photograph big charismatic animals like bison and cute mammals like prairie dogs.  During the same period, however, I’ve also managed to make the kind of photographs I’m most drawn to – images of … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Crappy Job But Somebody’s Got To Do It

Oh man, there are so many choices for titles when writing a blog post about dung beetles… While my wife and I were hiking around the Niobrara Valley Preserve a few weeks ago, Kim spotted a couple dung beetles rolling … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Photo of the Week – July 14, 2016

One of the great things about working for The Nature Conservancy is that I get to do a lot of bison watching.  Just in the last couple weeks I’ve had several opportunities to get close to bison at our Niobrara … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Hubbard Fellowship Blog – Welcome to the Fourth Class of Hubbard Fellows!

Many of you have followed this blog enough to be familiar with our Hubbard Fellowship program and the experiences they’ve had with us during the last several years.  In June, our fourth pair of Fellows, Katharine and Eric, joined us here … Continue reading

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A Conciliatory Gift from the Mammal Community?

Maybe it was because my daughter was with me.  Maybe it was just one brave (or not very bright) individual.  Or maybe the prairie dogs and otters got together and decided to throw me a bone.  Regardless, my daughter and … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Photo of the Week – July 7, 2016

I bet you won’t be surprised to learn that this particular grasshopper feeds primarily on this particular plant… The coloring of the cudweed grasshopper (Hypochlora alba – aka sagebrush grasshopper, greenish-white grasshopper, mugwort grasshopper) could not be more perfect as … Continue reading

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More Than One Milkweed

I recently wrote an article for NEBRASKAland magazine about milkweed and the surprising number of milkweed species that can be found in Nebraska.  (See the most recent online issue here).  In total, there are seventeen species known to the state, and … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Photo of the Week – July 1, 2016

I often tell people, “I’m not an insect expert, I’m an insect enthusiast.”  I don’t spend nearly enough time immersed in the vagaries of invertebrate taxonomy and biology to know much more than some interesting trivia about most species.  This … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Photo of the Week – June 24, 2016

I don’t often photograph sunrises and sunsets.  I’ve got file folders full of color slides from my early years of photography, many of which are trees, grain bins, and other objects silhouetted against the purple or orange sky of sunrises … Continue reading

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In Defense of Erosion

The Nebraska Sandhills region consists of about 12 million acres of sand dunes with a thin layer of vegetation draped across them.  That vegetation has come and gone over the last several thousand years, as long-term climatic patterns have shifted … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments