World-Renowned Explorer and Spell-Binding Storyteller; Time Magazine "Hero for the Planet"; Star of the Academy Award Nominated IMAX Documentary "Amazon"
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World-renowned explorer and spell-binding storyteller, Mark Plotkin is a Time magazine “Hero for the Planet,” and star of the Academy Award nominated IMAX documentary, Amazon. Respected and revered for his work in the » Read Full Bio
World-renowned explorer and spell-binding storyteller, Mark Plotkin is a Time magazine “Hero for the Planet,” and star of the Academy Award nominated IMAX documentary, Amazon. Respected and revered for his work in the Amazon Rainforests, Dr. Plotkin’s fascinating adventures inspire audiences to dream big, take risks, overcome adversity, and look beyond the obvious or expected, pushing the limits of commonly accepted concepts.
Over the course of his 30 year journey deep in the jungles, Dr. Plotkin has endured some of the most bizarre encounters with nature. Whether sleeping in a tiny thatched hut, suffering from vampire-bat bites, eating delicacies like boiled rat, or nearly being electrocuted by a giant eel, he continues to race against time in saving the rainforest, the ancient knowledge of its shamans and its enchanted and endangered existence.
An unforgettable orator, Dr. Plotkin's work has been featured in a PBS Nova documentary, in an Emmy-Winning Fox TV documentary, on the NBC Nightly News and Today Show, and on CBSs 48 Hours. Dr. Plotkin has also been the subject of several articles in Life, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Elle, and People, and on National Public Radio.
For over 30 years, Dr. Mark J. Plotkin has worked with and learned from the ancient shamans in the rainforests of Central and South America, providing him with incomparable knowledge of healing plants and shaman traditions. Dr. Plotkin was educated at Harvard, Yale and Tufts. He formerly served as Research Associate in Ethnobotanical Conservation as the Botanical Museum of Harvard University, Director of Plant Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund and Vice President of Conservation International in Washington, D.C.
Mark Plotkin currently serves as President of the Amazon Conservation Team, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting biological and cultural diversity of the tropical rain forest. Dr. Plotkin and his group have been working with 32 Amazonian tribes and Google Earth to protect 75 million acres of South American rainforest.
Dr. Plotkin was recently named by Smithsonian magazine as one of “35 Who Made a Difference,” along with other luminaries such as Bill Gates, Wynton Marsalis, and Steven Spielberg. In 2008, Dr. Plotkin was hailed one of the “Social Entrepreneurs of the Year” by the prestigious Skoll Foundation.The author of numerous scientific papers and reports, Dr. Plotkin received the 1994 San Diego Zoo Gold Medal for Conservation, one of the top awards in the environmental field (previous winners include Jane Goodall, Sir David Attenborough, and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh).
Dr. Plotkin's book, Tales of a Shamans Apprentice (Viking-Penguin) is currently in the THIRTIETH printing and has also been published in Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. A childrens version, entitled The Shamans Apprentice - A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest co-written and illustrated by acclaimed author Lynne Cherry (The Great Kapok Tree), was published by Harcourt-Brace in the summer of 1997. Smithsonian magazine hailed it as “the outstanding environmental and natural history title of the year.”
Dr. Plotkin's critically acclaimed book, Medicine Quest: In Search of Natures Healing Secrets, addresses the battle between rapidly evolving bacteria and the doctors struggling to outwit them.
In 2000, Dr. Plotkin's work hit the IMAX screen in the film Amazon, which was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary.
In 2010, Dr. Plotkin was granted an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Lewis and Clark College in recognition of his pioneering conservation activities in the Amazon rainforest.