Renowned Naturalist Chris Helzer is Young Lecture Speaker Sept. 27

Aug. 21, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. — Drawing attention to Nebraska's complex and beautiful prairie ecosystems will be the focus of prairie ecologist and author Chris Helzer's presentation in Lincoln, Sept. 27. His presentation, titled "The Complexity and Resilience of Nebraska's Prairies," is part of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum's Young Memorial Lecture series.

Helzer has been gathering photos and stories of Nebraska prairies for more than two decades. As program director for The Nature Conservancy, he supervises the restoration and management of more than 4,000 acres of prairie, woodland and wetland habitat in eastern Nebraska. Much of his research on conservation grazing, prairie restoration, ecological resilience and pollinator ecology involves testing grassland management strategies. He shares his results with owners of both private and public prairies so they can make careful choices about how to manage their grasslands.

The author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies," Helzer is a frequent contributor to NEBRASKAland magazine and other publications. His blog, PrairieEcologist.com, is a well-followed and respected resource for naturalists nationwide.

He claims his greatest aspiration is to become an "old man of the prairie" like his favorite mentors. "Much of what I've learned has come from following them around and soaking up whatever information I can squeeze out of them," he said.

The presentation, part of the 2013 Joseph and Dorothy Young Memorial Lectures in Horticulture, begins at 7 p.m. at the Hardin Hall Auditorium, located on the East Campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 for NSA members, $14 for the general public and free to UNL students with valid identification. Space is limited.

Advance tickets are available online at http://nsaplants.org/classes-tickets/tickets.html or by calling the arboretum office at 402-472-2971.

The lecture series honors the late Joseph Young who served the university from 1958 to 1980 as chair of the Department of Horticulture and as arboretum founder and its first director. A visionary advocate for landscape beautification, he helped establish the Maxwell Arboretum and, later, the UNL Botanical Garden and Arboretum.

Connie Paxton
Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
402-472-2971
cpaxton1@unl.edu