For my treetop exploration, I am honored to have received the Lowell Thomas Medal from the Explorers Club, formerly awarded to Louis Leakey, Carl Sagan, Sir Edmund Hillary, Buzz Aldrin, among others. At the award ceremony, I descended 80 feet through the chandeliers at Cipriani Wall Street banquet hall. I have climbed trees ranging from the Alerce of Chile, the eucalypts of Australia, the dipterocarps of China, and the baobabs of Madagascar. For a time I held a Guinness Record with Steve Sillett for climbing the tallest tree (Steve has gone on to find and climb taller California redwoods).


I also won the Distinguished Explorer Award from the Roy Chapman Andrews Society. A paleontologist working in Mongolia, Andrews was the most famous American explorer of the early 20th century. Prior winners include Steve Squyres, creator of the Mars Rover; Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic; ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin; and paleontologist Michael Novacek. 


I am expert at reaching unexplored places. Wired Magazine has calculated that I travel more than the U.S. Secretary of State. The magazine Natural History published two pages on my adventures in their Centennial Issue, reproduced here with their kind permission.


The July 2004 National Geographic Magazine reported on species that have been named after me, such as a frog I collected a quarter mile deep in a Venezuelan sinkhole, a beetle from 14,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes, and an ant from the French Guiana.  Since then I have found more species, plus had a fictional plant was named after me by Amy Tan in her 2005 best seller, Saving Fish from Drowning.



Articles about my life as an explorer/scientist:


In an extended article for the Atavist,

Before the Swarm, Nicholas Griffin follows me

into the field in Belize.


New York Sun: Adventures of a Tree Hugger


Harvard Magazine: Studies Nature, Will Travel


Smithsonian Magazine: The Hidden World of Ants

Exploring the tepui mountains of Venezuela.

Tracking down praying mantises in Myanmar (Burma).

"The Indiana Jones of Entomology"

National Geographic Radio



“Why shouldn't somethin' new and wonderful lie in such a country? And why shouldn't we be the men to find it out?"

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
The Lost World (1912)

"Mark has the soul of a 19th-century explorer, a wandering naturalist in the tradition of Darwin and Wallace. He spent two years in the rainforests of Asia for his doctoral research, and has since personally explored almost all the other major tropical forests around the world, traveling long distances by boat and on foot along the shadowed trails and climbing up ropes, towers, and ladders into the canopy."

Edward O. Wilson, twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Searching for cave tarantulas in Mexico

Seeking the world's largest frog, Cameroon,
West Africa.

Blow dart demonstration by an Embera Indian, Colombia, South America.

ADVENTURE