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Forest canopy explorer to receive 2014 Roy Chapman Andrews Society Award

Thursday, January 30, 2014

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Meg Lowman, the world's leading forest canopy explorer, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Roy Chapman Andrews Society’s Distinguished Explorer Award. Lowman will discuss her research and discoveries regarding forest ecosystems and biodiversity during an award presentation scheduled for Friday, April 11 at 4:30 p.m. in Eaton Chapel on the Beloit College campus. Her talk is titled "It's a Jungle Up There: How Canopy Exploration is Conserving Global Forests."

Earlier that day, she will also present a program called "Life in the Treetops: Adventures of a Woman Arbonaut” for area youth at Beloit Memorial High School.

Lowman (otherwise known as “Canopy Meg”) is a biologist, educator, ecologist, writer, editor and public speaker.  In early 2014, she became the inaugural Chief of Science and Sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences, where she is responsible for the academy’s programs of scientific research and exploration.

Nicknamed the “real-life Lorax” by National Geographic and the “Einstein of the treetops” by The Wall Street Journal, Lowman’s expertise involves canopy ecology, canopy plant-insect relationships and constructing canopy walkways. For over 30 years, she has designed hot-air balloons and walkways for treetop exploration to solve mysteries in the world’s forests, especially insect pests and ecosystem health.

The founding director of North Carolina's innovative Nature Research Center (NRC) at the Museum of Natural Sciences, Lowman has earned numerous awards and served in many academic leadership roles, including vice president of the Ecological Society of America and founder of the TREE Foundation.

Lowman earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Williams College, her master’s degree in ecology from Aberdeen University (Scotland) and her Ph.D. in botany from Sydney University (Australia). She has authored more than 125 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and her first book, “Life in the Treetops,” received a cover review in The New York Times Sunday Book Review.

The event featuring Lowman will be the 12th Distinguished Explorer Award program of the Roy Chapman Andrews Society, in association with Beloit College. Past recipients include Michael J. Novacek, leader of the first Western expedition to the Gobi Desert since Andrews’ discovery of the first nest of dinosaur eggs there in 1922, and Robert Ballard, discoverer of the RMS Titanic and founder of the Jason Project, an educational tool enabling students to watch live transmissions from underwater robot explorers. The most recent recipient is John Grotzinger, the lead scientist for the Mars Curiosity expedition, who visited Beloit in 2013.

Founded in 1998, the Roy Chapman Andrews Society’s mission is to honor the legacy of one of the most celebrated explorers of the 20th century by educating the public about Andrews’ life, work and adventures; promoting the value of scientific exploration and discovery; and emphasizing Andrews’ lifetime ties to Beloit.

For information about reserved seating at the award ceremony and tickets for a celebratory dinner with Lowman, contact the Roy Chapman Andrews Society at 608-514-1722 or via To learn more about Lowman, visit