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2018 Conference


Sunday Day Pass Required

   Waking up the Monkeys:
Plant Teachers and the Rediscovery of Nature

Sunday, February 11       10:00 am - 11:30 am         Room: Los Angeles A


The human species is an anomaly in nature. Our hypertrophied brains have made us highly linguistic, immensely creative, enormously clever but we also devalue Nature. This disjunct has created problems for us as a species and for the the entire biospheric community. We are ‘problematic primates,' systematically sabotaging the very homeostatic feedback mechanisms that stabilize the biosphere and maintain conditions optimal for life. 

The plant teachers - psychedelic plants and fungi - are desperately trying to wake up the 'problematic primates.' Human evolution, particularly cognitive evolution, has been greatly influenced at critical historical and evolutionary junctures by the ‘plant teachers’ and they continue to help us restore our proper role as intelligent symbionts with all life on Earth.


Dr. Dennis McKenna received his doctorate from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and is currently Assistant Professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. In addition to being CEO of Symbio Life Sciences (, he is a consultant to several companies doing research in plant medicine. He has conducted extensive ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brazilian Amazon and has recently completed a four-year project investigating Amazonian ethno medicines as potential treatments for cognitive disorders in schizophrenia. Dr. McKenna completed post-doctoral fellowship research and has held the following professional positions:

• The Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health (1986-88),

• Department of Neurology, Stanford University School of Medicine (1988-90).

• He joined Shaman Pharmaceuticals as Director of Ethno pharmacology in 1990.

• He joined Aveda Corporation as Senior Research Pharmacognosist.

• He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute.

• He was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of Ayahuasca used by the UDV, a Brazilian religious group


Dr. McKenna is also author or co-author of several books and over 40 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals. He is well respected among his peers and maintains a reputation as a pioneer among entheogen and plant medicine scholars.