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Biography

Dr. Mark Plotkin is a renowned ethnobotanist who has studied traditional indigenous plant use with elder shamans (traditional healers) of Central and South America for much of the past 30 years.
As an ethnobotanist—a scientist who studies how, and why, societies have come to use plants for different purposes—Dr. Plotkin carried out the majority of his research with the Trio Indians of southern Suriname, a small rainforest country in northeastern South America, but has also worked with elder shamans from Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil.
His TED Talk on protecting shamanic wisdom and the uncontacted tribes of the Amazon has been viewed well over 1,000,000 times.
Dr. Plotkin has a long history of work with other organizations to promote conservation and awareness of our natural world, having served as Research Associate in Ethnobotanical Conservation at the Botanical Museum of Harvard University; Director of Plant Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund; Vice President of Conservation International; and Research Associate at the Department of Botany of the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Plotkin is now President of the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), a non-profit organization he co-founded with his fellow conservationist and wife, Liliana Madrigal in 1996, now enjoying over 15 years of successes dedicated to protecting the biological and cultural diversity of the Amazon. ACT has been a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Global 500 Roll of Honour since 2002, and was recognized as using “Best Practices Using Indigenous Knowledge” by UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural organization.
Dr. Plotkin has authored or co-authored several books and scientific publications, most notably his popular work Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice, which is currently in its twenty-seventh printing and has also been published in Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. Acclaimed filmmaker Miranda Smith produced a related documentary title