News Release

Author and Naturalist Jack Nisbet to Present "David Douglas's Nine Lives" at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Photo of man standing near Fort Vancouver with park ranger and group of children.

NPS Photo by Christina Stolmeier

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News Release Date: April 11, 2018

Contact: Bob Cromwell, Chief of Interpretation, (360) 816-6253

Jack Nisbet, renowned naturalist and author of numerous books on the natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest, returns to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. In May, Jack will be offering an outdoor class and evening lecture, both of which are open to the public.

The outdoor class for up to 25 people (ages 16 and older) will take place on May 24 from 1 pm to 3 pm (rain or shine). Participants may register by calling (360) 816-6244; there is no fee for the class and the registration is on a first come, first served basis. Nisbet will lead participants on a walk around the national park, using David Douglas as a lens for exploring the cultural and natural history of Southwest Washington. The flora and fauna studied by Douglas, and the naturalist's relationships with tribal families and families of mixed ethnicity will be a focus. The state of science at the time and Douglas' personal story will also play an important role in the class. "David Douglas was a man who got out and walked, and seemed to be interested in everything," says Nisbet. "We will try to follow his lead."

Between 1823 and 1835, Scottish naturalist David Douglas traveled all over the western hemisphere collecting flora and fauna for the London Horticultural Society. He did much of his best work in the Pacific Northwest, based out of Fort Vancouver, where his contacts with local fur traders and tribal families resulted in a flood of key information about our native landscape.

Douglas met his demise in a mysterious manner while on the big island of Hawai'i, but he had several close calls in our region as well. On May 24 at 7 pm at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, Nisbet will provide a free public presentation titled "David Douglas's Nine Lives" on how Douglas managed to stay alive while he was in the Northwest, what his collections mean to us today, and what really might have happened at the scene of his death.

Signed copies of Nisbet's books will be available for purchase that evening at the Visitor Center Bookstore, managed by the Friends of Fort Vancouver.

Nisbet will also be teaching two youth classes while in the national park. These are open to an upper elementary class only, up to 35 students, and are requested through the national park's formal field trip reservation system. For more information on this opportunity, please contact Ranger Scott Irvine at (360) 816-6243.

What: Public outdoor class and evening lecture by author and naturalist Jack Nisbet.

Where: The outdoor class will take place at the reconstructed Fort Vancouver. The evening lecture will take place at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center.

When: The outdoor class will take place on Thursday, May 24, from 1 pm to 3 pm, rain or shine. The evening lecture will take place on Thursday, May 24, at 7 pm.

Cost: The outdoor class and evening lecture are free.

Reservations: Reservations are required for the outdoor class on May 24. The class can accommodate up to 25 people, ages 16 and up. Call (360) 816-6244 to make a reservation.

Last updated: April 11, 2018

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