Meg Lowman

Author, Explorer, Scientist, Arbornaut

Called the “real life Lorax” by National Geographic and the “Einstein of the treetops” by The Wall Street Journal, Meg Lowman climbs trees for a living. She is an author, explorer, scientist, arbornaut (translation: treetop explorer!), mom, and change-agent for conservation. As a child, she built tree-forts and collected wildflowers. In her adulthood, she has devoted over 4 decades to explore forest canopies as one of the first pioneers in the field of treetop science. She has developed a creative toolkit for whole-forest exploration, including ropes and harnesses, canopy walkways, hot-air balloons and inflatables, cherry pickers, and construction cranes. Her research on forest conservation takes her to many countries that have relatively little scientific infrastructure, where she can make a difference and mentor girls at every opportunity. She applies her science to create sustainability practices both locally and globally; one of her signature projects is designing canopy walkways to encourage ecotourism for local income instead of logging. She has worked locally and globally on climate change resilience, ranging from creating policy for communities in coastal Florida to the management of fire-prone forests in Australia and the Amazon.

CanopyMeg has published 8 books, over 150 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and over 200 newspaper columns for The Herald in Florida and News & Observer in North Carolina. With a background managing a sheep and cattle station in outback Australia, she also writes about the challenges of juggling family and career. Dr. Lowman’s book, Life in the Treetops, received a cover review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. The sequel, It’s a Jungle Up There, was co-authored with her two children, using their canopy adventures to promote a conservation ethic for families. Dr. Lowman devotes a large portion of her career to public science outreach, especially youth. Her work is showcased in Wired Magazine, Popular Science, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Reading Rainbow, The Explorers Club Journal, Playboy, and Florida Trend business magazine. Carolyn Shoemaker named an asteroid after her, which represents some prime real estate near Jupiter. A children’s book featuring Dr. Lowman taking her kids into the canopy is currently used by many states for next generation science standards (NGSS) in middle schools. The book features her work as a treetop scientist for the Jason Project, watched by millions of kids via satellite, and working alongside Dr. Bob Ballard of Titanic fame. Dr. Lowman has a BA in Biology, MSc in Ecology, and Ph.D. in Botany. Her awards include the Margaret Douglas Medal by the Garden Club of America, Roy Chapman Andrews Distinguished Explorer Award, Kilby Laureate, Odum Award for Excellence in Education, and Lowell Thomas Medal by the Explorers Club. When awarded the Bicentennial Medal by her alma mater, Williams College, she was dubbed “Indiana Meg, the swash-buckling biologist.” Her website, receives millions of hits per year, and she frequently speaks to public groups ranging from schools to corporate leaders.

CanopyMeg was recruited as founding director of the Nature Research Center in Raleigh, North Carolina; Executive Director of Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida; and inaugural Chief of Science and Sustainability at California Academy of Sciences. She has advised the Tommy Hilfiger Foundation, served as climate change advisor to the Florida cabinet, a Rolex Juror, and a science journalist for over a decade. Her current priorities include creating a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve site in Malaysian rain forests and partnering with Coptic priests in Ethiopia to save their last 4% remaining forests (which exist in churchyards). She is currently a National Geographic Explorer, surveying biodiversity in Ethiopia forests. Her mantra is “no child left indoors” and she brings Oreo cookies on all her tree-climbing expeditions. She serves as founding director of TREE Foundation, whose mission is tree research, education, and exploration.

Download Bio
THE ARBORNAUTA Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Arbornaut is the engrossing story of how a nerdy tree climber and the only girl at the science fair grew into an inspiring innovator and international leader.

The Arbornaut: The Girl who Climbed with Koalas Life in the Treetops: Challenges of a Woman in Field Biology The Money Tree: Juggling Forest Conservation and Deforestation Strange Bedfellows: Church and Science Unite to Save Ethiopia’s Last Forests The Salad Bar in the Sky: Insects Eating Foliage in Tropical Rain Forest Canopies Saving the Last Forests of Ethiopia, One Church at a Time Highways in the Sky: Forest Canopy Walkways Inspire Conservation Women in Science: Juggling Career and Family Out on a Limb: Challenges of Global Forest Conservation Mission Green: Saving Half Biodiversity with Half Canopy for Half Earth Raising a Girl Scientist Conservation of the World’s Last Best Forests

Check out Dr. Lowman’s YouTube channel.

Visit Dr. Lowman’s website.

Learn more about the TREE Foundation and the work they do.

Read Dr. Lowman’s biography on National Geographic.

Praise for The Arbonaut "Lowman] excels at bringing the natural world to life . . . The Arbornaut is a book to reach for if you, like Lowman, love the natural world and want to live in it fully.”
—Kelly Blewett, BookPage (starred review)

“Lowman’s contributions to ecology are numerous, as a professor, science communicator, international collaborator, and leader in conservation organizations . . . In this memoir, she takes readers along as she meets biologists and ecologists and studies forests around the world. She also relates ongoing rampant racial and gender discrimination in science careers . . . A highly engaging read for fans of popular science or ecology titles, and budding (or experienced) scientists."
-Library Journal (starred review)

"A riveting memoir from ‘Canopy Meg,’ a pioneer in treetop science... [Lowman] excelled in a discipline in which she was often the only woman and succeeded despite encounters with discouragement and harassment . . . Lowman ends her chronological account halfway through, devoting the remainder to lively descriptions of her discoveries, educational activities, and conservation advocacy... A winning book."
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)