The first image was from the river shore at Ives Preserve. This shot is from the old gravel pit at the preserve. The trees in the background are all cottonwoods, taking advantage of the space cleared for them. Cottonwoods are an important part of natures progress in reclaiming places like this. Watching this process for the last couple of decades has been very interesting. We started with pretty much bare ground, with a couple of ponds that are habitat to the threatened Blanchard's cricket frog. There is now a thriving natural community that includes wild orchids, box turtles, grasslands, a wonderful array of goldenrods, and of course lots of cottonwoods. There is also a nice guided walk that starts at tha southwest corner of the preserve.