Dr. Margaret (Meg) Lowman, Executive Director of the Sarasota-based TREE Foundation, has been awarded the 2023 Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize by the Tällberg Foundation. Lowman was selected for this honor in recognition of her “scientific, educational and advocacy work globally to protect and restore forests.” The Prize is a $50,000 unrestricted grant awarded annually to visionaries from any country and any discipline who have a substantial track record of accomplishment and who are likely to continue to make extraordinary contributions to human welfare.
“Dr. Lowman is making an important contribution to changing the arc of the climate crisis through her science and her advocacy,” stated Alan Stoga, Chairman of the Tällberg Foundation via press release. Lowman received the award during the annual Aula Volta ceremony held at the University of Pavia in Italy on January 26, 2024.
Former Ambassador of Greece to the United States and current senior adviser to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Vassilis Kaskarelis presented the award to Lowman, alongside fellow prize winner Andrew Bastawrous, who was recognized for his work on behalf of the vision-impaired. Speaking of both recipients, Stoga stated, “They are exactly the sort of leaders that we seek to honor and nurture—because they are actually changing the world for the better.”
Known internationally as “Canopy Meg,” Lowman pioneered the science and exploration of the eighth continent — forest canopies. Over 45 years, she has worked to protect mature trees and forests around the globe and support tree canopy research. Through the TREE Foundation, she spearheaded the design and building of many canopy walkways and research stations throughout the US and in countries around the world. In Florida, the Myakka State River Park’s canopy walkway has had a local economic impact of over $10million annually and Canopy Meg has guided others in the fundraising and best practices for building canopy walkways in their communities.
Lowman is committed to educating children and adults across the globe about the urgent need to protect the oxygen-creating and carbon-storing big trees that sustain life on Earth. She was an early designer and user of tools for “arbornauts” — scientists, researchers and citizen scientists who climb trees, using everything from slingshots, ropes, and hot-air balloons, to canopy walkways and construction cranes to enable whole-tree exploration, not just the forest floor.
A fierce advocate for big trees, the lungs of the Earth, and endangered forests, Lowman is adamant that, “We must save our eighth continent if we are to save ourselves.” Over the last decade, she has assisted in the creation of a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve surrounding a Malaysian canopy walkway, established partnerships with Coptic priests in Ethiopia to save the country’s last remaining church forests, published a 2021 memoir, “The Arbornaut,” which chronicles her adventures as a female scientist and her dedication to mentoring girls in science, and launched her passion project “Mission Green,” an initiative of the nonprofit TREE Foundation which she co-founded in 1999.
Learn more about the Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize at https://tallberg-snf-eliasson-prize.org/.