Truckee Public Arts Commission invites the community to take in the beauty of autumn during this year’s Fall into Art showcase, which celebrates Truckee as a Cultural District of California.

Truckee Big Life Artist: Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District

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The FOREST⇌FIRE Project invites the people of the Truckee Tahoe region into the captivating story of the Sierra Nevada Forest’s 13,000-year relationship with fire and the surprising and essential role humans play within it, effecting forest, watershed and our own health, from the past into the future.

The FOREST⇌FIRE Project addresses:

  • The causes and consequences of catastrophic fire in the Forest.
  • The Forest’s irreplaceable role in safeguarding our precious watersheds.
  • Its unparalleled value in mitigating looming Climate Change.
  • How it can be saved from imminent ecological collapse.


  • Field trips to local forest restoration sites for community leaders.
  • Workshops at local libraries for families and the general public.
  • Local ecology education, field trips
  • A free, museum class, interpretive exhibit at the Truckee Community Recreation Center, debuting on December 10, 2021.

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The FOREST⇌FIRE Project is presented to the Truckee Tahoe Community by Nevada County Arts Council in partnership with UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station, Truckee Donner Recreation and Parks District and Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships. It is created by artists Michael and Heather Llewellyn, in hope of inspiring a broad community conversation about fire and catastrophic fire in the Sierra Nevada Forest, and what can be done to help the Forest, the watersheds and ourselves become resilient into the future. Through the story and artwork of 18 California writers and artists, the FOREST⇌FIRE interpretive exhibition:

  • Shares a science-based solution to catastrophic fire.
  • Addresses the paradox that some trees need to be removed to save the Forest.
  • Explains why fire needs to become our partner in returning the Forest to resiliency.
  • Provides a vision of what a healthy future forest actually looks like.
  • Offers an economically sustainable, hopeful future for the Forest.
  • Aims to activate a transformative cultural understanding that we learn to live as a part of Nature, rather than apart from Nature in facing Climate Change

Meant specifically for the general public, the FOREST⇌FIRE exhibit will be presented in English, Spanish and Washoe and debuts at the ADA accessible Truckee Community Recreation Center in Truckee, CA, on December 10, 2021. 

To enhance deeper participation in the community, the exhibit is supported by engagement platforms for civic leadership and future generations. In the months leading up to the exhibit, the civic leadership platform offers local leadership (religious, HOA, Rotary, Veterans, etc.) field trips to active restorations sites in the Tahoe National Forest. Artist led and accompanied by US Forest Service fire, water and native plant scientists, as well as, a Washoe culture bearer, participants will experience ecological thinning, burning and biological regeneration, so that they will, in turn, bring informed knowledge to their constituencies.



Partnering with Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP), and beginning this Winter, the future generations platform embeds forest ecology into the Truckee Tahoe Unified School District’s school curriculum, offers children in-the-forest workshops and provides field trips to and a chance to participate in the FOREST⇌FIRE exhibit.

Participants in both engagement platforms, as well as, the viewing public are invited to contribute visual and written responses which will be displayed in the FOREST⇌FIRE exhibit and ultimately housed at the Truckee-Donner Historical Society as part of the region’s cultural record.

At it’s heart, FOREST⇌FIRE springs from recommendations made by California’s Little Hoover Commission Report #242 “Fire on the Mountain: Rethinking Forest Management in the Sierra Nevada”, as well as, the forest management prescription developed by UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Forest Project and the Tahoe Central Sierra Initiative.

For more detail about the FOREST⇌FIRE exhibition, it is arranged chronologically, and moves through four main chapters:

  • RecTemplate3What the forest was for 13,000 years under the management of indigenous Americans

    1. The universality of fire in traditional human cultures
    2. The Washoe creation story and their cultural relationship to the Forest
    3. Cultural Burning
  • What happened to the forest with the arrival of Euro-Americans

  1. The change in cultural influence over the Forest
  2. The arrival of extractive industries
  3. The effect of domestic livestock on biodiversity
  • The Forest today, vulnerable and volatile 

  1. Fire suppression, conflicting management policies and the expanding Wildland-Urban Interface
  2. Fire suppression and the effect of catastrophic fire on soil health
  3. Good smoke and bad smoke
  4. Watersheds - the rural/urban connectors
  • The Future Forest and the path to restoration and climate resiliency

    1. Restoration prescription: topographic scanning, mechanical thinning and prescriptive burning
    2. Sustainable market based solutions for wood products
    3. Visioning the Future Forest - the many faces of forest restoration and resiliency
    4. Return to biodiversity and the collective responsibility to care for the Forest and its watersheds.


As participants of UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station’s Artist-In-Residence Program, in developing the project we interviewed individuals from, and/or partnered with, forest stakeholders as varied as (but not limited to):

  • UC Berkeley, Sagehen Creek Field Station
  • Cal Fire
  • U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe National Forest
  • U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region
  • National Forest Foundation
  • Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California
  • Nevada County Office of Emergency Services
  • Collins Pine
  • Sierra Nevada Conservancy
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships
  • Tahoe Truckee Unified School District
  • Truckee River Watershed Council
  • South Yuba River Citizens League
  • The Center for Art + Environment -The Nevada Museum of Art

Supporters Include: California Arts Council, California Humanities, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, University of Nevada, Reno, Tahoe Truckee Excellence In Education, and more.