more Meg Lowman

Date:Apr 06, 2013

“As a child I built tree forts and fell in love with nature. I have grown up—but fortunately, so have my tree forts. As a student, I took risks, daring to climb tropical trees until I became one of the first scientists to discover that perhaps half of our terrestrial biodiversity lives in the treetops. I have learned from shamans about the ‘apothecary in the sky,’ I have studied tardigrades—so called water bears, and seen so much COOL stuff that inspires a sense of wonder, all from the tops of tropical trees. Of course, the loss of these forests and their priceless biodiversity frightens me, both as a mother and as an international scientist. So my urgent mission is to save forests, one tree at a time. In places like Ethiopia, we have about a five year window to save the last 5% of remaining forests, which are sacred sites protecting almost all of the country’s dwindling biodiversity—including critically important pollinators—and most of the country’s fresh water springs. So I am shouting my message from the treetops, bringing my own children, as well as other students (even those in wheelchairs) to canopy walkways around the world. For those I can’t bring to the forest, I have written books for young people, and helped develop an entire Nature Research Center to bring the world of the forest to them. I hope to inspire young people to join me in careers of science so they can discover the wonder I feel, develop solutions to our environmental problems, and empower the local people who are the most immediate guardians of biodiversity. Will you join me up in the treetops?”

—Meg Lowman, Tropical Treetop Explorer; Chief of Sciences and Sustainability, California Academy of Sciences; and former director of the Nature Research Center at the N.C. Museum of Life and Sciences