Doug Elliott is a naturalist, herbalist, storyteller, basket maker, back-country guide, philosopher, and harmonica wizard. For many years made his living as a traveling herbalist, gathering and selling herbs, teas, and remedies. doug elliott with homemade basket.
He has spent a great deal of time with traditional country folk and indigenous people, learning their stories, folklore and traditional ways of relating to the natural world. In recent years he has performed and presented programs at festivals, museums, botanical gardens, nature centers and schools from Canada to the Caribbean. He has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival. He has lectured and performed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and conducted workshops for the Smithsonian Institution. He has led ranger training sessions for the National Park Service and guided people on wilderness experiences from down-east Maine to the Florida Everglades. He was named harmonica champion at Fiddler’s Grove Festival in Union Grove, N.C. He is the author of five books, many articles in regional and national magazines, has recorded a number of award winning albums of stories and songs, and is occasionally seen on PBS-TV, and the History and National Geographic Channels.
In recent years he has received a variety of honors. The National Storytelling Network (the largest storytelling membership organization in the world) inducted him into their Circle of Excellence for “exceptional commitment and exemplary contribution to the art of storytelling.” The International Herb Association presented him with the Otto Richter Award honoring his work with herbs and useful wild plants. The National Association for Interpretation (the professional organization of park rangers, naturalists, museum curators, etc.) gave him the Master Front Line Interpreter Award for his “mastery of interpretive techniques, program development, and design of creative projects” celebrating the natural world and our human connection to nature.
Elliott’s passion for the natural world developed in early childhood roaming the woods and waters around his home. His dad used to say, “That boy knows what’s under every rock between here and town.”
He still roams the woods today. He has traveled from the Canadian North to the Central American jungles studying plant and animal life and seeking out the traditional wisdom of people with intimate connections to the natural world. And he still looks under rocks. These days he uncovers more than just a few strange critters; he brings to light the human connection to this vibrant world of which we are a part.