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Wade Davis

Wade Davis is professor of anthropology and the B.C. Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. Between 1999 and 2013 he served as Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and is currently a member of the NGS Explorers Council and Honorary Vice-President of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, he has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” In 2014, Switzerland’s leading think tank, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute of Zurich, ranked him 16th in their annual survey of the top 100 most influential global Thought Leaders.
An ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his PhD in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Mostly through the Harvard Botanical Museum, he spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among fifteen indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), an international best seller later released by Universal as a motion picture. In recent years his work has taken him to East Africa, Borneo, Nepal, Peru, Polynesia, Tibet, Mali, Benin, Togo, New Guinea, Australia, Colombia, Vanuatu, Mongolia and the high Arctic of Nunavut and Greenland.
Davis is the author of 275 scientific and popular articles and 20 books including One River (1996), The Wayfinders (2009), The Sacred Headwaters (2011), Into the Silence (2011) and River Notes (2012). His photographs have been widely exhibited and have appeared in 30 books and 100 magazines, including National Geographic, Time, Geo, People, Men’s Journal, and Outside. He was the co-curator of The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes, first exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. In 2012 he served as guest curator of No Strangers: Ancient Wisdom in the Modern World, an exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series written and produced for the National Geographic. A professional speaker for 30 years, Davis has lectured at over 200 universities and 250 corporations and professional associations. In 2009 he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures. He has spoken from the main stage at TED five times, and his three posted talks have been viewed by 3 million. His books have appeared in 20 languages and sold approximately one million copies.
Davis is the recipient of 11 honorary degrees, as well as the 2009 Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation, the 2011 Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers Club, the 2012 David Fairchild Medal for botanical exploration, the 2013 Ness Medal for geography education from the Royal Geographical Society, and the 2015 Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University. His recent book, Into the Silence, received the 2012 Samuel Johnson prize, the top award for literary nonfiction in the English language. In 2016 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Books by Wade Davis


River of Dreams

by (author) Wade Davis

Out of Concealment

Female Supernatural Beings of Haida Gwaii

by (author) Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson
foreword by Wade Davis & Gwaaganad (Diane Brown)

Frozen in Time

The Fate of the Franklin Expedition

by (author) Owen Beattie & John Geiger
foreword by Wade Davis
introduction by Margaret Atwood

Wade Davis


by (author) Wade Davis

Cowboys of the Americas

photographs by Luis Fabini
foreword by Wade Davis

River Notes

A Natural and Human History of the Colorado

by (author) Wade Davis

The Sacred Headwaters

The Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass

by (author) Wade Davis
foreword by David Suzuki
afterword by Robert Kennedy Jr.
photographs by Carr Clifton And Other Members Of The ILCP

Into the Silence

The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest

by (author) Wade Davis

What the Buddha Never Taught

20th Anniversary Edition of the National Bestseller

by (author) Tim Ward
foreword by Wade Davis

The Wayfinders

Why Ancient Wisdom Matters In The Modern World

by (author) Wade Davis

Among the Inuit

by (photographer) Robert Semeniuk
afterword by Wade Davis
foreword by Hugh Brody

Light at the Edge of the World

A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures

by (author) Wade Davis

Lost Amazon, The

The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes

by (author) Wade Davis
foreword by Andrew Weil


Ancient Realm of the Pacific Northwest

by (author) Wade Davis
introduction by David Suzuki
photographs by Graham Osborne

Clouded Leopard

Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire

by (author) Wade Davis