Restore/Restory documents the changing social, economic and physical landscape of a highly contested area in rural Yolo County, California. The Cache Creek Nature Preserve has its origins in a generational controversy between environmental and economic interests associated with gravel mining on Cache Creek. Following restrictions on gravel mining, the Preserve opened in 2000 to restore lower Cache Creek and return civic peace to the region by setting up common ground between competing interests in the watershed. The 130-acre Preserve sits on land used most recently for large-scale gravel mining, but was home to Anglo farming, Californio ranching, European trapping, and native Patwin fishing and gathering. Recognizing a need for cultural restoration to accompany the ecological work at the site, the UC Davis Art of Regional Change and the Cache Creek Conservancy partnered to implement a participatory community process to produce a people’s history exploring the complex human and natural significance of the Preserve.
Directed by media artist jesikah maria ross, Restore/Restory brought students and scholars together with a diverse cross-section of Yolo County residents to collect oral histories, archival images, historical documents, and landscape photos and curate them into a people’s history website that conveys different—sometimes underrepresented—perspectives on history, politics, and land use. In many ways, the Cache Creek Nature Preserve is a microcosm of California and in telling its story through different viewpoints we reveal the larger story of California's dynamic cultural and environmental heritage.
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