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.
As I mentioned in my last post, Kim and I snuck away for a short vacation in the mountains last week. It was a great trip, but now I’m catching up on all the work that was waiting for me when I got home. Since I’m a little pressed for time, I figured I’d just share a bunch more vacation photos instead of writing a long pithy post on prairie ecology.
When I go to the mountains, I usually try to get up above tree line as much as possible. Hiking trails that just pass through dense stands of evergreens doesn’t do much for me. I want to feel the big open space that I like so much about prairies.
However, I found this year that my objection to hiking wooded trails doesn’t apply to autumn hikes through stands of quaking aspen. WOW, that’s a great experience. Of course, I still enjoyed getting up and out of the trees too, but since we were too late for most wildflowers, the aspen provided a lot of the color in the landscape. Kim and I are already planning our return visit next fall.
I hope you enjoy these photos. I’ll try to get back to prairie photos and topics for my next post.
Kim and I took some vacation time this week. Despite living 8 hours or less from the Rocky Mountains for most of my life, I’d never been out to see the quaking aspen in its full golden glory before now. Boy am I glad I fixed that. Here are a few photos from one of our hikes near Ouray, Colorado. More to come next week.