'Canopy Meg' Lowman leaving NC Museum of Natural Sciences

akenney@newsobserver.comNovember 18, 2013 

Meg Lowman

— Meg Lowman, the scientist who oversaw the creation of the $56 million Nature Research Center at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, will leave soon to take a job at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Lowman, who earned the nickname “Canopy Meg” while studying forest canopies on five continents, will become the academy’s first chief of sciences and sustainability on Jan. 6, according to Monday’s announcement from the academy.

Lowman was director of the Nature Research Center until this summer, when the job was eliminated by the museum’s director, Emlyn Koster, who arrived last January. Koster said the center was being more fully integrated into the museum’s organization and did not need its own director.

She currently is a senior scientist and the museum’s director of academic partnerships and global initiative. The museum described the new position as an elevation to new prominence. Lowman also is a research professor of natural sciences at N.C. State University, according to a news release.

In an email announcing the departure to department staff Monday, Koster wrote that he wanted to “thank Meg for her contributions to the innovative vision for the Museum’s new Nature Research Center wing, for the launch of our university partnerships, and to wish her the very best...”

In California, she’ll run scientific research and exploration-related programs, as well as “programs addressing the challenge of sustaining life on Earth,” the academy announced. The nonprofit recently opened a $500 million facility that includes an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and a “four-story rainforest,” its website states.

“Today I am excited to return to the Pacific and to work tirelessly inspiring the next generation of scientists through the grand platform of the California Academy of Sciences,” Lowman said in a news release.

Neither Lowman nor a museum representative was immediately available for comment.

Kenney: 919-829-4870

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