March 30, 2007
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Explorer and anthropologist Wade Davis will speak on “One River: Recent Exploration and Discovery in the Amazon Rain Forest” at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18, in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Amherst, Davis’s talk is free and open to the public.
Wade Davis has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” An ethnographer, writer, photographer and filmmaker, he holds degrees in anthropology and biology, and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Mostly through the Harvard Botanical Museum, he spent more than three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among 15 indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6,000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, and to Borneo, where he lived among the nomadic Penan in the forests of Sarawak.
In recent years his research efforts have taken him to East Africa, Tibet, Polynesia, Mali, Equatorial West Africa, New Guinea, Vanuatu and the high Arctic of Nunuvut and Greenland. Author of 10 books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow (1987), One River (1996) and Light at the Edge of the World (2001), he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lowell Thomas Medal (Explorer’s Club) and the Lannan Foundation $125,000 prize for literary nonfiction. In 2004 he was made an honorary member of the Explorer’s Club, one of 20 in the 100-year history of the club.
His film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, a four-hour series shot in Rapanui, Tahiti, the Marquesas, Nunuvut, Greenland and Peru, that will air internationally on the National Geographic Channel in the spring of 2007. Phantastica, a two-hour special inspired by his books One River and The Lost Amazon, will air this spring on The History Channel. Davis recently completed a third film project, a 3-D IMAX film, Water Planet: A Grand Canyon Adventure, which will appear in the spring of 2008.