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Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Bio-Sketch of Allan Brooks: Okanagan Ornithologist and Artist

A well-known resident of Okanagan Landing (now part of Vernon, BC) was the renowned ornithologist and painter Allan Brooks. His works can be seen at the Allan Brooks gallery located in the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives and his namesake is also honoured at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre at the top of Mission Hill.

Allan Brooks was born in Etawah, northern India in 1869 and after many travels he eventually decided to call Okanagan Landing home in 1905. Brooks' interest in birds and their habitat and his wonderful talent for art later resulted in the contribution of sketches for such publications as The Audubon society and National Geographic. Ron Candy notes: "At least four major museums offered jobs to Brooks in his early years including the Provincial Museum in Victoria.  He turned them all down.  He was a free-lancer and a steady job would have driven him mad."

Brooks was also a sniper in WW1 but that experience seemed to have changed him and afterwards he focused less on big game hunting and more on ornithology and art. His acre of land in the Landing  “ became a sanctuary and nesting site for over 34 species of small birds”.

No less than Robert Bateman has credited Allan Brooks with being an inspiration to his work as an artist.

For a much more in-depth biography of Allan Brooks please see this article By Ron Candy, former curator or the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives

"Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good..." Genesis 1:31

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