Welcome to PhotoVoice

The PhotoVoice Project is a participatory method that uses a grass-roots approach and photography to bring about change and understanding. This project draws on individual curiosity and a desire to participate for the social and ecological good; it reconnects residents to their communities through the process of experiential place-based learning with a focus on scientific understanding and exploration.

Curiosity about and care for the environment can result in a quest to solve today's critical issues. Through the use of the facilities and faculty at WSU's Puyallup Research and Extension Center, community members, teachers and students will create a voice for the Clarks Creek Watershed, resulting in a new view that addresses watershed issues. The project will create and result in a process that explores perception, reality and solutions in the Clarks Creek watershed.

Come see our Gallery show at the EnviroHouse in Tacoma!

Select images from this year's Photovoice will be displayed at the Envirohouse in Tacoma from May 1 to July 31, 2016. Come see our gallery show and see the stories of the residents of the Puyallup River Watershed.

Driving directions to the Envirohouse.



PhotoVoice Promotional Video from Washington Stormwater Center on Vimeo.

Photo Voice 2016 from Washington Stormwater Center on Vimeo.

PhotoVoice Process Final from Washington Stormwater Center on Vimeo.

Funding for this project was provided by the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Photovoice 2016 photographer's stories

     Savannah Anderson
Puyallup High School


My personal connection
Living in a house where my backyard is a lake can be rewarding and also challenging. The wildlife that lives within the lake and around the water is rewarding, through when the rain comes, the lake comes up and floods my yard and sometimes my house. Also erosion is a problem along my bank


Bridge holding up nature
If we as people work together to help our natural surroundings, nature and people can live in harmony to take care of each other.


Trees and their Stream
The trees are beside the water, getting nourishment from the stream. So we need to protect nature's water to help the trees, plants, and wildlife.

     Alexandria Barclay
Chief Leschi High School Faculty


Sunset at Capitol Lake
It’s hard to imagine that anything could taint an image of our state capital at sunset. I have always had a deep love of history and the history of Olympia, WA is no different. Capitol Lake was established in 1937 as a “beautification” project for the city. It was constructed by building a damn underneath the 4th Avenue Bridge that connects downtown from west Olympia. And as beautiful as this scene is, the lake is not what it appears. This space originally was an estuary, home to many native plants, birds, and wildlife. Now, you can’t even swim in it. It must be dredged  eriodically to avoid silt buildup and eutrophication. It also has a high concentration of E.coli and fecal coliform bacteria. I freaked out when my dog jumped in after a duck.


Where the River Begins
Mt. Rainier is home to eleven major glaciers which have provided fresh water to river systems for thousands of years. The melted water winds down through multiple ecosystems and habitats including subalpine meadows, old growth forests, and eventually estuaries and low lying prairies. These waters provide homes to wildlife and resources for those that would use them - salmon, in particular, as they make their way through the river systems to spawn.  And on a good year, the run is filled with an abundance of vitamin rich protein. In recent years however, the salmon runs have decreased as our water quality and water levels have decreased.
Mt Rainier has become my energy source. When I feel out of sorts or confused, I simply go on a hike through the forest or up to the skyline and my head feels clearer. At this particular moment, I was hiking up the Skyline Trail from Paradise. I noticed the waterfall at the bottom left of these massive glaciers. In that moment, I heard my first glacier crack. This mountain always gives more than I can imagine.


For Our Children...And Our Children’s Children
This summer my step-daughter and I took a camping trip to the Columbia Gorge on the Oregon side. The gorge is filled with thousands of waterfalls rushing to the Columbia River and then to the Pacific Ocean. This was her first time on a real camping trip full of hiking, tent life, and propane cooking. On our last day, we decided to travel to the Oneonta Gorge, a cavern cut by waterfalls and a river. Over the weekend, I had relaxed on my watch and let her roam more freely than usual. She beat me to the end of the trail which involved swimming and wading through the river to get to the final waterfall. She had made friends and they were freely exploring this natural setting. This gave me immense joy. The sole purpose of this trip was to share nature and in the process realize that these areas should be protected so that other families and children can experience them.

     Kyle Bergstrom
Puyallup High School


When two paths are ahead of you, will you take the one going up to look down on everything?  Or will you take the one to feel everything?


Nature Does it Better
No matter what we can build a bridge, canals, or even dams.  But nature will always succeed faster, more efficient, and effectively without our “help”.


Memories Gone Away
When memories tell us beauty, but the present tell us otherwise.  What should we do to make those memories become alive?  Like having lots of animals versus not having them at all.

     LaNasha Lee
Chief Leschi High School


This picture is at Crystal Mountain; I took this picture while snowboarding with my auntie. I feel that this picture helps show the water cycle because the water that melts from the mountains go into our rivers and with climate change it can affect how the rivers are, for example last year there wasn't very much snow in the mountains witch lead to in the summer very low rivers.


This is a picture of Lake CleElum where a lot of people go to enjoy themselves. The lake isn't just a place for people to bring their families and friends camping, swimming, jet skiing, snowmobiling, or even just to hang out with. This lake is a home to the wild life. Awhile back there where not any fish in the lake, that's until 2009 when the Yakima tribe released fish into the lake to bring back the fish.

     Rikki McGee
        Community Member


Whose Poop is that?
In this photo we see the lovely lake but a closer look reveals dog and goose poop (aka scat). Both types of scat can contaminate our water supply and geese scat can be tempting to poop-eating dogs, another challenge in a dog-friendly park. What can we do? Provide a more natural habitat for geese that is less appealing to dogs by planting a variety of grasses, grains, sedges, and seeds and berry-producing plants that will appeal to the and reduce the 'scat fields' so attractive to dogs.


Parking Lot Lake
It may appear that this is a man made lake but look closer and notice that the 'island' in the middle consists of drive-by mailboxes making it impossible to walk up and difficult to drive through when the water collects up to 10 inches. Three possible solutions are: (1) expand the 'island' into a rain garden, (2) integrate other permeable materials throughout the parking lot, or (3) add other elevated water capture structures nearby.


Somewhere in Puyallup
This drain system was designed to handle water runoff through the green plastic drain as well as the rocks surrounding it. Yet flowing water is moving the rocks over the drain, blocking some of the water flow and the rocks are creating a place for plants to grow further blocking the flow of water and defeating the efficiency of the drain. Adding native grasses that would pull water into the earth or adding a more stable and porous barrier around the drain could keep the drain clear.

     David Moloney
Community Member


A Call for Action
What can be done about it? Make the community aware of the existing issues and work towards funding a complete restoration of Meeker Creek.


I've been asked what the Clark's Creek watershed means to me. I see the possible return of a natural fish habitat with spawning beds and the return of native Coho and Chinook Salmon. There are two Chum hatcheries on this creek but very little natural habitat for the return of other native species. During this project I have met some people who still only see Clark's Creek as only a flood control system or drainage. I hope this project helps people understand that there are many reasons to come together that support its restoration.


The future of Clark's Creek belongs to the community.  This archaic system of turning creeks into drainage ditches needs to be obsoleted as has been proven on the Meeker Ditch.  This ignored part of Clark's Creek drainage can also be recovered.  With a recovery I can envision native fish returning to their spawning grounds and eventually alleviating the pressure to have man-made hatcheries.

     Kat Moloney
Community Member


Man-Made Barriers
On Clark's Creek there are houses along the side of it.  This house in particular has a fence and cement wall going into the creek which causes the flow of the creek to be rerouted.  The lawn is so close to the creek that if people fertilize the lawn the fertilizer will likely drain into the creek.  The creek should be returned to its natural state without the human-made barriers.


Clark's Creek has elodea which is bad for ducks, fish and the creek itself.


Making a Difference
I helped with other volunteers restoring Clark's Creek and by restoring it we are adding trees and native plants for flood control.  My dad says the trees and plants will help the fish and wildlife.

     Triona Noss
Puyallup High School


Signs are good and bad. Good because they convey helpful messages to us.  Bad because the fact that the sign is there means that humans did something to cause the problem.


We hold the world in our capable hands. It’s up to us to decide what we’re going to do with it.


Choosing Sides
We can choose to take care of the earth or we can badly misuse it.  Which side will you choose?

     Kiana Peńa
Puyallup High School


From my experience when I see this picture I think of the Life I saw moving through these waters.  It reminds me of what a healthy salmon habitat should look like.


Where is the Love?
We are so focused on ourselves that we blur out the real issue


This environment is not idea for the salmon that come here to spawn in early fall

     Cindy Richter
Community Member

CRichter_FallHarvestCM (1)

Fall Harvest
The Richter family has been farming along Clarks Creek since 1906.  Five generations of sustainable farming practices, always keeping in mind the health of the watershed, have made for a symbiotic relationship.


One of many picturesque settings along Clarks Creek as it makes its half mile journey through the Richter Family Farm. Poplar, alder, and cotton wood trees provide shade for fish and bird habitat.


This coyote seen at Richter Farm is just one example of many wildlife friends we have living with us along Clarks Creek. It’s the sign of a healthy ecosystem and proof that we can live and farm in harmony with nature.

     Heather Shadko
Community Member

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What do we Choose?
Depending on which way you look when you stand on the sidewalk above the creek, you will see two very different views.  Look one way and you'll see this pipe and sign-DANGER, not safe, but look the other direction and you will see a meandering creek recently planted just waiting for spring.  I think it should serve as a reminder that we have a choice to make, which direction do we want our environment to go?

2_heather shadko

Urban Renewal
I truly believe we can make a difference and correct some of our man-made environmental problems. This may just look like sticks in the mud or urban art, but those "sticks" are future trees that will shade the restored Meeker Creek allowing for cooler water temperatures for returning Salmon.

1_heather shadko

Human impacts remain long after we've moved on and forgotten them. Nature tries to adapt and a forgotten drain pipe becomes a part of the landscape.

     Roselynn Sisson
Chief Leschi High School


The whole picture is of my fiancé standing in front of my car. I wanted to show the raindrops falling and show the grass around us. I learned through Photovoice that cars are one of the worst pollutants for our water. The rainwater washes off oil and dirt that can be harmful


The Max
This picture is on the Puyallup River. I took this picture because of how high the river is. It's been over a year since it's been this high. It's overflowing on the side where fishermen drive their cars to get the
boat in the river. Our tribe used to fish for salmon on the river but it has become more and more difficult.

     Sharon Thurston
Community Member


Bird's Eye View
This Bald Eagle keeps watch over the fish and small prey that live in and around Richter Farm on Clarks Creek.


This Bald Eagles nest is the home of a beautiful pair that live & thrive along Clarks Creek at Richter Farm, proving that they have a healthy environment where they have remained for many years.


Clarks Creek Watershed is a habitat for so many important species of plants and wildlife.

     Bailey Williams
Puyallup High School

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The Veins of Life
The caption is these two trees at Clarks Creek serve a double meaning. The trees are veins themselves bringing oxygen through themselves out into the air for mammals to breath, as well as the roots of the trees being veins to bring the water from the soil into the tree. Showing the need to protect water and trees in order for them and us to be around for future generations.

S4-10bailey williams_phs

Replanting Restoration
This is a restoration project at the storm water facility. It shows what we can do to help an area with the regrowth of new trees that help hold soil in place and keep it from falling into lakes and streams, which can change the waters ecosystem.

S1-13bailey williams_PHS

Who's Home?
This is a home right next to the water at DeCoursey park. The property looks like it goes to the edge of the water, where the wild animals of this area live as well also using the water resource. So it prompts the question who's home is this really?