Best of 2017 – Stories and Photos from The Year

I’m consistently and deeply grateful to everyone who takes the time to read and/or follow this blog.  After more than 7 years, pumping out a couple blog posts each week is still energizing for me, and it’s awfully nice to know people are out there enjoying what I post.

This is my annual “Best Of” post, in which you can find some of my favorite posts from 2017 in case you’re looking for something to read (or re-read) over the holidays.  Below that, you can peruse what I think are the best photos I took this past year.  If you have friends or colleagues who don’t yet appropriately appreciate the beauty and complexity of prairies, feel free to forward this post to them.  You never know what might start someone on their own journey of discovery, and we need all the prairie fans we can get.

Speaking of that, please consider supporting your favorite conservation organization this season.  There are lots of good options, including the one that pays my salary.  Thank you for any support – financial or otherwise – you can provide to help conserve prairies and other important natural areas around the world.

Favorite 2017 posts:

General Science, Prairie Management, and Philosophy

  1. An essay about the importance of understanding the scientific process and its impact on our lives.
  2. How does livestock grazing fit with concerns about emissions that contribute to rapid climate change?
  3. Thoughts about tough decisions regarding sometimes conflicting prairie management objectives.
  4. A discussion about how prairie size can influence the viability of prairie species and communities.
  5. A post designed for land managers who might feel discouraged about the constant and growing challenges they face.

Natural History and Place-Based Stories

  1. The unsung heroes of pollination – single moms.
  2. Is it a wasp, mantis, or fly?  Nope.
  3. Background on the incredible numbers of painted lady butterflies seen in 2017.
  4. Insects that steal nectar without following protocol.
  5. Monarch butterflies arrived in Nebraska much sooner than usual this year.
  6. Photos from one of the most spectacular and hidden places in Nebraska.
  7. An informative (and humorous) look at a beautiful and unusual plant.

Most Viewed Post of all Time…

Just for fun, here is a link to the blog post that has had more views than any I have other written.  It’s certainly not the one I would have expected, but I checked the statistics out of curiosity and there it was – 48,000 views all time, including 21,000 in 2017.  I’m not going to tell you what it is, but if you’re curious, you can click here and find out.

Favorite Photos of 2017

Here is a selection of the photos I thought were my best from 2017.  You can see them in the slideshow below (click on the arrows or just sit back and watch), or in YouTube video form below that.  Hopefully, one of the two formats will work on whatever device you’re viewing this on.

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YouTube Video of the same photos:

If you liked these photos, you might also like my 2016 selections or this collection of some of my all-time favorites.

Best of 2016 – Stories and Photos From This Year

This is the 114th post on The Prairie Ecologist in 2016, and the 770th since I started back in 2010.  As always, I’m humbled and grateful that anyone besides me cares enough about prairie conservation, management, and/or photography enough to read this blog.  Thank you very sincerely.  I can hardly believe we’ve reached nearly 3,000 subscribers, and that there are many others who just check in regularly.

I’ve picked out a few posts from this year that I’m particularly proud of, and have provided links to them below in case you missed them or just want to revisit them.  Below that, you’ll find a slideshow of some of my favorite prairie photos from this year.

If your financial situation allows, please don’t forget this is a good time of year to support the conservation organization of your choice.  I’m a little biased, since one in particular pays my salary, but support whichever organization does the work you most appreciate.  Thanks.

Natural History Posts

Plants on the Move – Timelapse images showing plants moving between years.

Crappy job – Dung beetle natural history.

Sage hopper – A grasshopper perfectly camouflaged for its favorite food plant.

Prairie Management/Restoration Posts

Role of history – History shouldn’t necessarily drive management decisions.

Don’t just manage for plants – It’s dangerous to forget about the needs of animals.

Mechanics of conservation – A thoughtful post about how best to influence conservation.

Milestone in restoration – A celebration of our proven ability to defragment prairies.

Fun Posts

Another otter post – in which I finally saw an otter, but not on the Platte River.

Toadal mystery – how did a toad imprint get in a concrete parking lot?

An accomodating prairie dog – a prairie dog inexplicably lets my daughter and me get close.

Best Photos

Here are my favorites from the thousands of prairie photos I took this year; you can click on the arrows within the slideshow to make it go faster….

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If the slideshow doesn’t work for you, below is a four minute YouTube video with all the same images.  If you can’t see the video automatically, try clicking on this link.  Feel free to share this post or the YouTube link with others who might appreciate them.

Enjoy the remainder of 2016 and a have a great 2017.  We can make this world a better place by working together with empathy and purpose.