HIDDEN TREASURE: RESTORATION OF PUTAH CREEK

ROB STONE

As a native Californian, Stone has been repeatedly drawn to natural restoration efforts in the Northern Sacramento valley. Starting in 2014, he began working with a team of community leaders engaged in a decades-long project to revive a creek running through his hometown of Davis, California. Named Putah Creek, the body of water preserves the indigenous name given to it by early Native American inhabitants of the region. Over time, the creek, like many other waterways and riparian habitats in the area, was damaged by water diversion, gravel mining, and the corrosive practices of corporate agriculture. Here, Stone photographs the myriad ways that life has now returned to the creek, thanks to the stewardship of concerned residents. Many of his images show plants and landscapes that show the signs of human engineering. While peaceful, these pictures often hint at an un-peaceful history. As viewers, we are struck by the silent storytelling ability of trees, clouds, and riverbanks, who share their past and present under Stone’s patient, inquiring gaze. Ultimately, these are portraits of grace and renewal, showing the natural world’s miraculous resilience in the face of drastic environmental change.

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