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T U E S D A Y

Could it be that the last hope of the world’s rain forests are those hated villains, the pharmaceutical companies? Perhaps, given the new prominence of the science of ethnobotany, which is to the ’90s what astrophysics was to the ’60s. That was the Space Age, but this is the Shaman Age, and the race is on to preserve rain forest peoples’ knowledge of medicinal tropical plants before the last settler chain saws the last tree to raise cows for Sizzler. Ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin of Conservation International apprenticed with rain forest shamans and now works with Indians of the northeastern Amazon; he’ll discuss his work in the slide lecture “Rain Forest Medicine: Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice” at 8 p.m. at the Museum of American History’s Carmichael Auditorium, 14th & Constitution Ave. NW. $11. (202) 357-3030. (Bill Gifford)

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