If you walked this slice of Pondhawk Natural Area a few thousand years ago, you'd be walking beachfront property. This is scrub, an ancient coastal dune once upon a time. As sea level retreated, so did the ocean leaving this bit of land high and dry, literally. Environmentally speaking, it's incredibly valuable land because there is so little of it left. It's tough land, where only the tough can survive, plants like saw palmetto, staggerbush, fetterbush, Feay's palafax, pricklypear cactus, goldenrods and scrub oaks. It's a bit higher than surrounding land, and because it's an old dune, the soil is sandy and porous, holding little moisture. The white sand also tends to reflect heat, making it a little hotter than its surroundings. As we said, tough, tough land. NEXT PHOTO.