Richard Nelson, the Sitka-based host of radio show "Encounters," died Nov. 4 in a San Francisco hospital.

Nelson was a cultural anthropologist and wrote books about Alaska Natives and their relationship with the land.

"He morphed from being a cultural anthropologist to sort of an interpreter of the biological world to the public," said Rick Steiner, who was a friend Nelson’s and met him when he worked at the University of Alaska.

"Encounters" started in the early 2000s. The show evolved with Nelson narrating what he saw as he recorded wildlife. 

"He was smart enough to see the limitations in scientific interpretations of both human cultures and of the natural world,” Steiner said. “So he looked deeper into both of those things."

In May, Nelson won the Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist Award for his decades-long work in Alaska. 

He was 77 years old.

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