Margaret D. Lowman, Ph.D.
Director, Nature Research Center, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Research Professor, Physical and Mathematical Sciences, North Carolina State University
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 over 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 research center including staff supervision, research laboratories, technology, fund-raising, 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.
Meg is also a Research Professor of Natural Sciences in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at NC State University, where she focuses on initiatives involving communicating science to the public. She has served as Vice President of the Ecological Society of America; Treasurer of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation; Executive Director of the TREE Foundation; Board of Directors for The Explorers Club and Earthwatch; and former Climate Change Adviser to Alex Sink, CFO of the Florida cabinet. 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, the Mendel Medal for achievements in science and spirit, the Lowell Thomas Medal for discoveries in the canopy, Kilby Laureate and 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, “CanopyMeg” was awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialist Scholarship to India, and National Geographic funds to conserve church forests in Ethiopia. She is the proud mother of sons Edward and James, both science majors at Princeton University.