Live Event: November 10, 2016 at 1:00pm Eastern
Dr. “Canopy” Meg Lowman is a Conservation Biologist at the California Academy of Sciences. She has been called the Mother of Canopy Research, and has spent her career exploring the biodiversity of the forest canopy and conserving the forests. She also designs and advises on canopy walks built around the world. We asked her a few questions about herself and her STEM career to get to know her and her work a bit better before her live event.
Learn More About Meg
What are your favorite hobbies or activities you do for fun?
Cooking with my children, reading, swimming in the ocean, spin bikes, hiking
Do you play any musical instruments?
Formerly piano and oboe
Do you play any sports or do any athletic activities?
Spin bike, climbing trees!
What is your favorite non-science book, magazine, or blog?
Explorers Club Magazine, CSI Miami
What’s your favorite music?
Enya, or Rap
Who do you look up to and admire?
My 2 boys, who are rising stars!
Highest degree attained
Williams College, Aberdeen University, Sydney University, Tuck School of Business
Favorite classes/coursework in school
What educational accomplishments are you most proud of?
Winning 2nd prize in the NY State elementary school science fair
What kinds of challenges did you overcome during your education?
Being a female, being from a high school that had no advanced offerings, as a single mom
California Academy of Sciences
Director of Global Initiatives/Lindsay Chair of Botany/Curator of Plant Conservation
Years in this organization/position
What does your organization do?
Explore, explain and sustain life (science museum)
What is your role in the organization?
One of the research team leaders
Describe your work environment
Lots of public outreach and research action
What tools and/or techniques do you use in your job?
Ropes and climbing hardware; social media; computers; microscopes; collections of specimens
Describe a typical day in your job
Speak to 5th graders, meet with a science team, advise about a new exhibit
Describe an atypical day in your job
Rig and climb 3 trees in the Amazon jungle
How is the work you do important to society?
Trees keep people alive and healthy. I am a planetary “doctor” who assesses tree health.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in your current role?
1. Raising 2 boys to pursue science
2. Saving the forests of Ethiopia
3. Writing children’s books
What projects or goals are you currently pursuing?
Advising on canopy walkways in Bhutan and Penang and also northern California (for the Yurok Indians).
What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?
Hurdles of gender bias
What is the most exciting, most amazing, or scariest thing that has happened to you during your work?
Discovering new species in the treetops
Previous employers and positions that have lead to your current role
Summer science camp in junior high school that focused on nature and had a great director, John Trott.
Other positions not necessarily related to your current career
Washing dishes and working in payroll to fund my college education.
Best job you’ve ever had and why
Directing the Nature Research Center in North Carolina – built glass labs and hired scientists whose work was visible to the public. Very cutting-edge museum model!
What were you like as a kid?
Shy, total nature geek
What were your favorite books/shows/movies when you were a kid?
Wizard of Oz, Doctor Doolittle, other nature books.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
A park ranger or someone outdoors.
When did you know you wanted to pursue your current career, and what drove you towards it?
College – when I decided to attend graduate school and also found out that women could become scientists.
Who inspired you on this path?
My summer camp cohort.
What did you believe about this career before entering into it that proved to be different once you were in?
Never knew there would be so many hurdles and politics in forest conservation.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what other career(s) might you have pursued?
Architecture (buildings are similar to trees!)
What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your career?
Use your 5 senses; get outside as much as possible; take math and science.
What advice would you give students in general?
Be curious, explore, and enjoy nature!
What are some interesting places you’ve traveled?
Bhutan, Amazon, Australia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, India, Belize, peru, Western Samoa, New