Photo credit: Carlton Ward, Jr.
Meg Lowman, Executive Director of the TREE Foundation and founder of Mission Green, has been awarded The Explorers Medal for 2023 from The Explorers Club, a multidisciplinary, professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research, scientific exploration and resource conservation.
Nicknamed the “real-life Lorax” by National Geographic and “Einstein of the treetops” by the Wall Street Journal, Lowman, known as “CanopyMeg,” pioneered the science and exploration of the eighth continent — forest canopies. Over 45 years, she has designed the toolkit for arbornauts: slingshots, ropes, hot-air balloons, walkways, and construction cranes for whole-tree exploration, not just the forest floor. The award ceremony takes place April 22, 2023, in New York City.
Lowman is a fierce advocate for big trees and endangered forests. “We must save our eighth continent if we are to save ourselves,” she says. Her recent successes include creation of a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve surrounding a Malaysian canopy walkway, and partnership with Coptic priests in Ethiopia to save the country’s last remaining church forests.
Lowman is called the “Mother of Canopy Research,” “Her Highness” (by biologist EO Wilson), “Her Leafiness” (by astronaut Kathy Sullivan), and “Indiana Meg” (by Williams College). Her international network and tree-love have led her to leadership in which she seeks best practices to solve environmental challenges and serves as a role model to women and minorities in science.
Each year, The Explorers Club bestows five major awards in different categories. The Explorers Medal has previously been given to individuals such as Jane Goodall, Sir Edmund Hillary, and James Cameron who described the Medal as “… the Academy Awards of Exploration.” This year is the first time since 1914 that all five awards have been won or shared by women.
Lowman was a Fulbright Scholar to India and Ethiopia, and has authored 150+ peer-reviewed scientific publications, and 10 books. Her book “Life in the Treetops” received a cover review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. Her 2021 memoir, “The Arbornaut,” chronicles her adventures and passion for mentoring girls in science and inclusivity in field exploration.