Ian McTaggart Cowan


This abridged version of the original 558-page book published by Rocky Mountain Books in the fall of 2015, has been specially prepared for the University of Victoria Library and Special Collections to showcase and curate the Ian McTaggart Cowan Collection of field notes, photographs, documents and television shows that was donated to the university by Ann and Mikkel Schau. 

Rocky Mountain Books have generously supported this abridged version by Briony Penn. Cowan’s long career culminated in his last appointment as Chancellor of the University of Victoria in 1979, making the university a fitting resting place for the collection and this curated digital introduction to his life from 1910-2010.

The writing of The Real Thing focused on the first half of Cowan’s century-long life, during which he wrote the majority of his field notes and scientific publications and developed his television series. The University of Victoria Library's collection also includes documents and field notes from 1960s onwards but remains terra incognita—ripe for future researchers of environmental history.

Sitka Foundation
Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation
BC Conservation Foundation
Cowan Family
BC Conservation Data Centre
BC Ministry of Environment
BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
The Nature Trust of BC
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Canadian Wildlife Federation
Royal BC Museum
BC Nature
University of British Columbia - Zoology
Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Boreal Forest Initiative (DUC)
Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund
Meyer zu Erpen & Associates
BC Arts Council
Nature Vancouver
World Wildlife Fund
BC College of Applied Biology
BC Wildlife Federation
Association of Professional Biologists (BC)
Victoria Natural History Society
University of Victoria
University of Victoria Libraries
University of Victoria Special Collections and Archives
Dancehall Players
Rocky Mountain Books
Avis Canada (Victoria)
Private donors

< Epilogue: 2010 About this Exhibit >