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Renowned ethnobotanist to reveal nature’s healing secrets at Moravian College

Dr. Mark Plotkin(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)—Moravian College will host a lecture by renowned ethnobotanist Dr. Mark Plotkin, titled, "Medicine Quest: In Search Of Nature's Healing Secrets," on Thursday, April 26, 8:00 p.m., in Prosser Auditorium. A compelling storyteller, Plotkin interweaves his personal experiences as an ethnobotanist with the most fascinating scientific developments in medicine. The lecture is sponsored by Moravian College Arts and Lectures.

Plotkin will discuss adventure, anthropology, science, and his personal quest among the rain forest shamans for ancient medicines that may hold the cure to today's devastating diseases. In an era of environmental devastation and mass extinction Plotkin’s message is all the more compelling as the rain forests are a great natural resource, and a natural storehouse that may promise cures to both known and unknown diseases.

Educated at Harvard, Yale, and Tufts Universities, Dr. Mark J. Plotkin is a renowned ethnobotanist. He has served as Research Associate in Ethnobotanical Conservation at the Botanical Museum of Harvard University, Director of Plant Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund, and Vice President of Conservation International in Washington DC. He currently serves as Research Associate at the Department of Botany of the Smithsonian Institution and Executive Director of the Ethnobiology and Conservation Team, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting biological and cultural diversity of the tropical rain forest. 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 HRH Prince Philip).

A spellbinding orator and storyteller, Dr. Plotkin and his work have been featured in a PBS Nova documentary, in an Emmy-winning Fox TV documentary, on the NBC Nightly News, on The Today Show, and on CBS' 48 Hours. He has also appeared in Life, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Elle, People, The New York Times, and on National Public Radio.

For the past 15 years Dr. Plotkin has worked with ancient shamans of Central and South America to learn about healing plants, which has enhanced his reputation as an expert in tropical rain forest ethnobotany. He co-edited Sustainable Harvest and Use of Rain Forest Products (Island Press) and his book, Tales of A Shaman's Apprentice (Viking-Penguin) has met with resounding success. Currently in its sixteenth printing, it has also been published in German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch. A children's version, entitled The Shaman's Apprentice - A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest, co-written and illustrated by acclaimed author Lynne (The Great Kapok Tree) Cherry, was recently published by Harcourt Brace. Smithsonian magazine hailed it as "the outstanding environmental and natural history title of the year."

Plotkin played a leading role in the IMAX film "Amazon" which was directed by Academy Award-winning director Keith Merrill. The film was a 1997 nominee for an Academy Award as Best Short Documentary and is currently on view in IMAX theatres nationwide. His next book, Medicine Quest: New Medicines from Mother Nature was published in 2000.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Prosser Auditorium is located in the Haupert Union Building, Monocacy and W. Locust Street, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.