Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D.,L.H.D.
Amazon Conservation Team

4211 North Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22203

703.522.4684 (Office)
703.522.4464 (Fax)

Dr. Mark Plotkin is the author of the bestseller "Tales of a Shaman apprentice; an ethnobotanist searches for new medicines in the Amazon rain forest" and several other books and articles. He took the course in 1995 when he said:
" I have spent 15 years in the Amazon trying to learn to identify plants. With the knowledge I got in this Tropical Dendrology course I feel that I certainly will learn during the next year as much as I learned during the past 15 years".



Michael D. Standnisky
7818 University Station ¨ Clemson, SC 29632 ¨ (864) 650-0562                      
3000 Leeds Garden Lane ¨ Alpharetta, GA 30022 ¨ (678) 624-0564

Mike attended the Dendrology course in June-July 2004 and a year later (July 2005) he wrote:

“ ….. First I would like to briefly discuss the various opportunities that I have had since participating in your course…..”.

“…. Most importantly, dendrology helped me to become familiar with the terms and methodology I needed to be able to help with the writing of a field guide to the lianas of Suriname with the Amazon Conservation Team.  I was responsible for collecting ethnobotanical knowledge and also to designing some of the family keys …”

“….. I have just recently returned from working in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.  There I had the chance to use the skills I learned in tropical dendrology during field work with the Malaria Control Program (Paludismo) and also while working with a traditional healer.  Your course on tropical dendrology has been instrumental in my success in these situations since it was my first foray into field identification of plants.”

“ ….. It should be noted that before your course in tropical dendrology, I had no experience in botany or dendrology.  However, I was amazed at how quickly I learned to identify plants in the field and  I noticed a true breakthrough during the second week of the course when during our field studies, I was able to successfully identify the families of plants very quickly.  This was a result of your focus on repetition so that many different examples of a particular family or genera were seen repeatedly, adding to my working field knowledge….. “

  I liked the ability to distinguish between families which would and could lead to further identification of genus and species with the use of a specific field guide.  For me, the methodology of using general characteristics to identify families helped me learn to identify plants in the field rapidly.  This has been of the utmost importance with my use of dendrology in field work, when an identification of a plant needs to be done quickly and one can only use easily observable vegetative characteristics.

“….. The course also was interesting for me by teaching me things beyond the scope of dendrology including the geographic distribution of plants, plant-animal-environment interactions, how to use the internet for botanical research, and the ethnobotanical use of tropical plants.  In fact, the course was referred to me by Dr. Mark Plotkin, president of the Amazon Conservation Team and preeminent American ethnobotanist… “.