Renowned author and conservationist, Dr. Meg Lowman, will offer a presentation, entitled “Life in the Treetops – Exploration of Tropical Rain Forest Canopies,” on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Kolker Lecture Hall at Elmira College. The presentation is free and open to the public.
An Elmira native, “CanopyMeg” (a nickname bestowed by middle school students who email her), has earned an international reputation as one of the world’s first arbornauts, pioneering the field of forest canopy science. National Geographic dubbed her “the Real Life Lorax” and the Wall Street Journal labeled her as “the Einstein of the treetops.” She has devised innovative methods – including walkways, construction cranes and hot air balloons – to explore this “eighth continent,” home to about half of life on earth.
Equipped with degrees in biology, ecology, executive management, and a Ph.D. in botany, Lowman transformed her childhood passion of trees and building tree forts into mapping canopy biodiversity worldwide and spearheading the construction of North America’s first canopy walkway. Over the years, she has used her treetop exploration to influence government policy and encourage environmental stewardship.
Among her many outreach initiatives are large-scale, distance-learning programs, newspaper columns, forest conservation in Africa and the Amazon, science books for public audiences, and nature camps for disadvantaged youth. She has authored over 125 scientific publications and 7 books, of which “Life in the Treetops” earned a cover review by the New York Times Sunday Book Review.
“CanopyMeg” will speak about her discoveries of biodiversity in forest canopies, sharing her first climb in Australian rain forests in 1979 with a home-made slingshot and harness, that provides a beginning for her life of canopy discoveries using different tools. She will take the audience on a global tour to some of the forest canopy hotspots where she conducts long-term research and education programs. Her most recent efforts to conserve the last 5 percent of forests in northern Ethiopia illustrate the essential services that trees provide for human health. She will also provide an update on the state of global forests, and share some exciting solutions to global forest management.