Education‎ > ‎

David Douglas in Okanogan Country

with Jack Nisbet

November 1, 2013


Jack Nisbet kicked off the 2013-2014 indoor Highland Wonders educational 
series with a fascinating presentation about naturalist David Douglas.


David Douglas song, by Julie Ashmore (OHA's Conservation Coordinator)

Son of a Scottish stonemason / Born in the very last year of the 1700's / 
Apprenticed as a gardener for seven of his 36 years / then made the 
natural shift to botany / His passion turned into an odyssey / 
Great botanical explorations...




Between 1826 and 1833, Scottish naturalist David Douglas 
visited the Okanagan six different times, including an epic 
1833 trip that took him north to the Thompson and Fraser Rivers.


Jack Nisbet shared detailed observations written by David Douglas 
about native plants, including food preparation methods used by First 
Nations families encountered by Douglas on his journeys.


The Community Cultural Center of Tonasket continues to create a 
fantastic environment for learning about local natural history.


Jack Nisbet shared photos of actual plant specimens collected by 
David Douglas in the 1820's and '30's. These specimens are a part 
of the David Douglas exhibit that Nisbet created (which was displayed 
both in Spokane and in Tacoma).


Hand-drawn maps were also shared, created by David Douglas, 
including the first known map showing the mouth of the Okanogan River.


Over 100 people came to learn about the natural history of our region 
through the lens of David Douglas, and his amazing adventures and discoveries.


Thank you very much, Jack Nisbet, for opening a porthole into our region’s 
past, creating a unique opportunity for our community to explore the world 
as David Douglas saw it, and compare this perspective with our own.‎ What 
an intriguing presentation!

Jack Nisbet is the author of several books that explore the human and natural 
history of the Intermountain West, including Purple Flat Top, Singing Grass Burning 
Sage, and Visible Bones. His work on Northwest fur agent and geographer David 
Thompson resulted in Sources of the River and The Mapmaker’s Eye. Nisbet’s 
recent projects have focused on Scottish naturalist David Douglas. The Collector 
follows his adventurous life, while A Naturalist at Work aims to connect Douglas’s 
observations to the present and future Northwest. David Douglas: A Naturalist at 
Work is also a museum exhibit currently on display at Tacoma’s Washington State 
History Museum, where it will run through February 24, 2014.