From the book: A Pictorial Guide to South Platte Park available at
I first started enjoying South Platte Park in 1988 when I was jogging and rollerblading on the Mary Carter Greenway. At the time, I remember thinking what a sanctuary it was to jog in and how you could rollerblade in the moonlight. It was much quieter than it is today.
My next impressive memory was when I witnessed the Theo Carson home being transported into the park. At first, I had no idea why it was there. It seemed like an intrusion in the middle of fields and streams. Later I learned that it was destined to become a nature center. I remember thinking what an awesome plan it was and that the park’s visitors would be able to experience the park in a much more informative way. What really excited me was that the natural aspects of the park such as its vegetation, water, and wildlife would receive the kind of attention they really deserved.
Well, time flew by and I was getting older. I traded my rollerblading time for hiking and soon found how much I had missed by traveling the trails at a much faster pace. I was beginning to see beautiful seasons and myriad wildlife. I picked up a beginners camera and began recording what I was seeing. Part of what made this park so alluring was the challenge of exploring the park in more detail, witnessing how climate transforms it, and learning about the behavior and movement of both static and migratory species. It also challenged me to expand my photographic skills so I could capture these stories. Within a year I realized that I had traversed all four seasons and accumulated an extensive library of images. My first thought was that somehow they should be shared with the park.
It wasn’t until 2013 that Skot Latona , Park Manager, asked me to post my images on their Facebook page. I welcomed the opportunity because I saw the park as an ecosystem and how interdependent every living creature and plant in it is. Some of the things that fascinate me the most are the incredible Cottonwood trees native to the area, the wildflowers, the ebb and flow of critical river water, and an everchanging and diverse base of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. I’ve seen Cottonwood trees die after an impressive long life, babies of all kinds learning to survive,and beautiful Bald Eagles reminding us of how the food chain is structured.
Today, my South Platte Park image library has grown tremendously. Many more images than what are offered in this book and videos may be viewed in the South Platte Park Gallery on my website at www.maureenravnik.crevado.com. The library is free to the park to use anytime to further their nature center objectives. Giving back to the park in this way is a small offering for all I’ve learned in the years since 1988 and certainly doesn’t compare to all the enjoyment I’ve experienced while hiking the trails. I’ve also had fabulous opportunities to participate in nature center events such as sunset canoeing, Cooley Lake nature walks, and HawkQuest... My journey will continue.
Maureen Ravnik, 2014