Doug Elliott says he tells stories because he’s celebrating nature. Stories just evolve from that, he believes. His stories are organic and unique and are usually told (or sung) to the harmonica.
Originally from Maryland, Doug has made his living for years as a traveling herbalist—gathering and selling herbs, teas, and natural remedies. When he noticed bee hives all over Utah, he says it kind of inspired him to investigate and share stories of honeybees.
“I’ve been a naturalist since I was a little kid. I tell snake tales and fishing stories. I have a whole set about honeybees,” he said.
Doug likes Utah and its beauty, rugged landscapes, and rocks. “I’ve been to Utah two times. We’ve made a family trip of it,” he says.
He enjoys telling stories, especially during what many feel are difficult times. “I feel honored when people show up to listen to me,” he shares. “I feel like storytelling makes sense of our lives. We’re all in this together. We share this world. We’re unraveling the mysteries together.”
Elliott’s stories are family friendly—about catfish, possums, dandelions, wild snakes, and the ‘nature’ in human nature. He can wail out a jivey harmonica tune or take you on an unforgettable cultural tour of North America’s backcountry. He can perform a lively concert of tunes, spin tales, and share outrageous personal narratives flavored with regional dialects—with more than a few belly laughs. He has spent time with traditional country and indigenous people, learning their ways of relating to the natural world.
In recent years, Doug has performed at festivals, museums, botanical gardens, nature centers, and schools from Canada to the Caribbean and has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival. He has lectured and conducted workshops at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and 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.
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.) honored him with 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.
Doug is the author of five books and many articles in regional and national magazines, has recorded a number of award-winning story and song albums, and is occasionally seen on PBS-TV, and the History and National Geographic Channels.
Come enjoy Doug’s unique and entertaining storytelling as you experience nature’s beauty first-hand in the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point, September 8-10, 2022.