Meg Lowman, Ph.D.
Director, Nature Research CenterNorth Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC
Research Professor, Physical and Mathematical Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Nicknamed the "real-life Lorax" by National Geographic and "Einstein of the treetops" by Wall Street Journal, Meg Lowman pioneered the science of canopy ecology. For more than 30 years, she has designed hot-air balloons and walkways for treetop exploration to solve mysteries in the world's forests, especially insect pests and ecosystem health. Meg is affectionately called the "mother of canopy research" as one of the first scientists to explore this eighth continent. She relentlessly works to map the canopy for biodiversity and to champion forest conservation around the world. Her international network and passion for science have led her into leadership roles where she seeks best practices to solve environmental challenges.
As Director of North Carolina's new Nature Research Center (NRC), Meg oversees all aspects of this cutting-edge technology/research/education center including staff supervision, research laboratories, technology, fundraising, strategic planning and integration with existing Museum programs. She also provides leadership for the North Carolina University system partnership and collaborations in the State, Federal Government and private sector. As the primary advocate for the NRC, she promotes its mission to groups ranging from elementary classes to corporate executives to international conference attendees.
In addition to her role as Director of the NRC, Meg is Research Professor of Natural Sciences in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at NC State University, where she focuses on initiatives involving science communication to the public. Her long-term leadership roles have included Vice President of the Ecological Society of America, Treasurer of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Executive Director of TREE Foundation, Board of Directors for The Explorers Club and Earthwatch, and former Climate Change Adviser to Flroida cabinet CFO Alex Sink. Previously, Meg has served as Director of Environmental Initiatives at New College of Florida, CEO of The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Williams College.
Meg's academic training includes Williams College (BA, Biology), Aberdeen University (MSc, Ecology), Sydney University (PhD, Botany) and Tuck School of Business (Executive Management). Her numerous awards include the Margaret Douglas Medal for Excellence in Conservation Education from the Garden Club of America, Girls Inc. Visionary Award, Mendel Medal for achievements in science and spirit, Lowell Thomas Medal for discoveries in the canopy, and election as a Kilby Laureate and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow. Meg has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and her first book, "Life in the Treetops," received a cover review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. Working tirelessly on sustainability initiatives at home and abroad, "Canopy Meg" was recently awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialist Scholarship to India, working on forest conservation. She is the proud mother of sons Edward and James, both science majors at Princeton University.
Meg with Ethiopian children who are the stewards of their country's forests, admiring the stone walls constructed for conservation of these biodiversity sanctuaries, 2012.
- Dr. Lowman co-chairs national sustainability education summit
- Dr. Lowman serves on 2010 Rolex Young Laureates Awards jury
- Meg's personal mantra is "no child left indoors."
- Meg co-managed a sheep and cattle station in outback Australia.
- Carolyn Shoemaker of the US Department of Interior named an asteroid after her.