Career of the Month: An Interview with Ethnobotanist Maria Fadimanby: Megan Sullivan

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According to Plant Talk (2007), approximately 270,000 species of plants exist on Earth. The numbers of known species—including trees, flowers, fruits, and herbs—increases almost daily as scientists make new discoveries. From indigenous cultures in Australia to urban communities in the United States, and everywhere in between, plants are used in clothing, medicine, furniture, food, and symbolic and spiritual rituals. Ethnobotanists, such as Maria Fadiman, study this relationship between people (ethno) and plants (botany). In the rain forests of Latin America and African Savannas, home to hundreds of thousands of plant species, Fadiman works to help people and plants live in harmony.

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  • on Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:58 AM

An ethnobotanist studies the relationship between plants and humans. Native plants are used for clothing, housing, food, religious events, and medicine in many parts of this planet. As a volunteer in the rainforest for ecotourism this writer became interested in this relationship between plants and people. This is an interesting career piece for students and teachers as well and would be an excellent choice to read and possibly report on for a career day activity.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:58 PM

The column Career of the Month shows the wide variety of career possibilities that there are in the sciences. It is a great resource that teachers can share with their students. This month's column highlights ethnobotanists, scientists who study the relationship between plants and people. Ethnobotanists interview indigenous people to determine how they can use plants in sustainable ways. The article also outlines a typical day in the life of an ethnobotanist and gives advice to students interested in this career.

Ruth Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

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