Margaret D. Lowman, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist and Director, Academic Partnerships & Global Initiatives, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences; and
Research Professor, College of 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 and serves as a role model to women and minorities in science.
First hired by the state of North Carolina to direct its new Nature Research Center (NRC) at the Museum of Natural Sciences, Meg oversaw the creation, construction and staffing of this cutting-edge research center including staff supervision, research laboratories, technology, fund-raising, strategic planning, science programs, and integration with existing Museum activities. She was subsequently promoted to Senior Scientist over the entire Museum with leadership of the North Carolina University system partnerships and collaborations with the State, Federal Government and private sector. As an external advocate for Museum science, she promotes its mission to groups ranging from elementary classes to corporate executives to international conferences.
Meg is also a Research Professor of Natural Sciences in the newly-formed College of Sciences at NC State University, where she focuses on initiatives involving communicating science to the public. Her academic leadership has included Vice President of the Ecological Society of America; Treasurer of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation; founder of the TREE Foundation; Board of Directors for The Explorers Club and Earthwatch; and Climate Change Adviser to Alex Sink, former CFO of the Florida cabinet. Previously, Meg 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.
Her 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 120 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 a Fulbright Senior Specialist Scholar to both India and Ethiopia, and National Geographic funded her conservation work on Ethiopian church forests. She is the proud mother of sons Edward and James, both science majors at Princeton University.