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David Douglas, A Naturalist at Work by Jack Nisbet - Washington State Historical Society

David Douglas, A Naturalist at Work by Jack Nisbet

  • 2795


David Douglas, A Naturalist at Work by Jack Nisbet.

An Illustrated Exploration Across Two Centuries in the Pacific Northwest

Scottish naturalist David Douglas made three collecting trips to the Pacific Northwest between 1825 and 1834. He sent back to England hundreds of specimens that were new to science, and today his name still appears in more than eighty different species of flora and fauna, ranging from Douglas-fir, the totem tree of the region, to Phrynosoma douglassii, the shrub-steppes' secretive horned lizard.

Although Douglas tramped across the region nearly two centuries ago, many of the landscapes and peoples he described in his journals remain very much alive. In this book, Jack Nisbet sets out to connect aspects of Douglas's work to modern reality. He explores the turbulent mouth of the Columbia with a bar pilot, tastes traditional food plants from Coast and Plateau cultures, and watches set fires open up crowded oak woodlands. These parallel journeys not only provide a deeper context for Douglas's work, but also show how many of this impressions of the Northwest still ring true.

The pages of this volume are richly illustrated with reproductions from Douglas's journals and the tools of his trade, tribal artifacts he noted that are still in use today, period botanical drawings and maps, and photographs of habitats that have stood up to two centuries of change. Crisscross time and terrain in the exploration of the natural and human history of the Pacific Northwest. 


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