National Geographic Expert

Wade Davis

Wade Davis is an ethnographer, writer, photographer and filmmaker whose work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, Africa to Australia, Polynesia to the Arctic. An Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society from 2000 to 2013, he is currently professor of anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. Author of more than 20 books, including One River, The Wayfinders, Into the Silence, and Magdalena, he holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University.

Primarily 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 6,000 botanical collections. A professional speaker for 30 years, Wade has spoken from the TED main stage on five occasions, delivered the CBC Massey Lectures, and lectured at 200 universities and some 250 corporations and professional associations. Davis is an Honorary Member of the Explorers Club, Honorary Vice-President of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a recipient of 12 honorary degrees, and a Member of the Order of Canada, among other distinctions. In 2018, he was made an Honorary Citizen of Colombia. Named by the National Geographic Society 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.”