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TouchWood Editions Fall 2019

In Nature's Realm
Early Naturalists Explore Vancouver Island
By (author): Michael Layland



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paper over boards
Hardcover , Paper over boards


Oct 08, 2019
$40.00 CAD


9.38in x 10.12 x 0.25 in | 100 gr

Page Count:

288 pages
TouchWood Editions
HISTORY / Canada / General
History of the Americas|Wildlife: general interest|Trees, wildflowers and plants: general interest|Expeditions: popular accounts|British Columbia Vancouver Island|Naturalism
British Columbia Vancouver Island

Winner of the 2020 Basil Stuart Stubbs Prize
Winner of the 2019 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing

A celebration of the richly diverse flora and fauna of Vancouver Island as explored through the records of explorers, settlers, and visitors, and with due respect to the wealth of Indigenous traditional knowledge of the island’s ecosystems.

In Nature’s Realm gathers initial reports, recorded histories, and personal accounts left by Vancouver Island’s early naturalists who studied the region’s flora and fauna.

Many, such as Archibald Menzies, accompanied English and Spanish explorations investigating the coastal geography for colonial expansion. Doctor–naturalists such as John Scouler, David Douglas, and Robert Brown worked with the Hudson’s Bay Company and collected specimens. Irish-born John Macoun, a renowned naturalist, brought his expertise to Vancouver Island, as did botanical artists Sarah Lindley (Lady Crease) and Emily Henrietta Woods.

In Nature’s Realm is a companion volume to Layland’s two previous titles: A Perfect Eden: Encounters by Early Explorers of Vancouver Island, shortlisted for a BC Book Prize in two categories; and The Land of Heart's Delight: Early Maps and Charts of Vancouver Island, shortlisted for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Prize, and for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.

Michael Layland was president of the Victoria Historical Society, the Friends of the BC Archives, and is an amateur naturalist. Trained as an officer and mapmaker in the Royal Engineers, now retired, he has authored three books on the progression of European knowledge of Vancouver Island. Discover more at michaellayland.com.

Marketing plans
  • Regional and subject-specific print features, recipes excerpts, and review coverage targeting the Times Colonist, Vancouver Sun, BC BookWorld, Strong Nations, Common Ground, Victoria News, BC Studies, BC History, Canadian Field-Naturalist, Ormsby Review, BC Nature
  • Publicity and promotion in conjunction with author's speaking engagements in regional locations such as Victoria, Duncan, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Comox, Campbell River
  • Outreach to subject-specific organizations such as the Victoria Natural History Society, Federation of BC Naturalists, Canadian Wildlife Federation
  • Outreach to travel and tourism organizations including Travel BC, Tourism Industry Association of BC, Tourism Vancouver Island, Tourism Victoria
Marketing Deliverables
  • Electronic blad / sampler
  • Excerpts
  • Online banner
  • Press release
  • Postcard
  • HIS006000   HISTORY / Canada / General
  • NAT000000    NATURE / General
BISAC Regional Themes Vancouver Island

THEMA Subject Codes


For more information contact
[email protected]

"It is difficult to convey the excellence of this book. The 150 illustrations (sketches, woodcuts, paintings, photos) alone make it a treasure . . . a top-notch book and one I highly recommend." —BC History

"Leaving no stone unturned cartographer Layland has brought to life a cast of characters a mile long and each one a little masterpiece of story telling." —BC Nature

"Michael Layland has done it again . . . In his new book he has prepared a major study of the early naturalists who explored Vancouver Island. To say this fills a gap in our knowledge is an understatement . . . we have had nothing like it. Now, though, we have a large, comprehensive work, that covers many people and topics. For some of us it opens up a whole new area of study. . . . This will be a standard reference text on Vancouver Island for years to come." —Stephen Ruttan, The Log, Friends of Ecological Reserves Newsletter

"There is never a dull moment in this beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable book. It will appeal to Indigenous elders, armchair adventurers, Island hikers and coastal sailors, student, amateur and professional historians, artists, botanists and photographers, museum and art gallery curators—and everyone who appreciates a well-written and gorgeously illustrated book." —BC BookWorld

"This is a book of history rather than "natural history." While Layland's subjects focus on wildlife, he focuses on them. . . On the dust jacket of In Nature's Realm [Layland] presents as an "amateur naturalist"; amateur here must be interpreted in its full sense as one who pursues an interest purely for the love of it. That is how we should approach these books — for the love of it — for the love of history as continuing connecting narrative full of chance encounters and surprising recognitions, for the love of maps and hummingbirds, of obsessive personalities and true adventures on land and sea, probably also for the love of place." —Dorchester Review

"Large and brimming with information on British Columbia’s coastal past and horticultural endeavours, as well as being stunningly designed and illustrated – it’s like a coffee-table book, but with a vast amount of beautifully presented knowledge on both flora and fauna and historical discovery." —Times Colonist

"An artistic and literary achievement. . ." —BC Studies

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Also Available

A Perfect Eden Michael Layland 9781771511773 $39.95 CAD Oct 04, 2016
The Land of Heart's Delight Michael Layland 9781771510158 $39.95 CAD Oct 01, 2013
A Year on the Wild Side Briony Penn 9781771512671 $26.00 CAD Mar 19, 2019

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