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Quinta Scott, Fine Art Photographs

Peabody River King Wildlife Refuge

Cottonwood Lake
Reed Lake
Reed Lake-Overburden
Back Lake

When the Peabody Coal Company stripped the coal from its River King Mine-near New Athens, Illinois-a giant excavator lumbered across the land, following the coal seams. It scooped the dirt -overburden-covering the coal, turned, and deposited it in long mounds. The process leaves behind long empty spaces that filled with water, either from rain, flooding from the nearby Kaskaskia River, or runnoff from the land.

When the Peabody Coal Company had stripped all the coal it gave the land to the State of Illinois for a wildlife refuge, which stocked the lakes with fish. Local anglers put in their jon-boats early in the day and spend their mornings fishing.

Trees took root on the mounds. Aquatic plants took root in the lakes.

Today, raptors cruise the open fields between the lakes. Elusive deer wander the back lots.