Faculty Participate in Science Camp at Tanglewood Nature Center

August 17 2017
Category: Faculty

Dr. Lynn Gillie, dean of academic affairs and professor of biology, as well as Dr. Forrest Meekins, adjunct professor of biology, participated in the Meg Lowman Treetops Camps recently held at the Tanglewood Nature Center.

During the camp, intended for girls ages nine to 12 with an interest in science, Dr. Gillie and Dr. Meekins, along with scientists from other local businesses and organizations, covered topics such as forest studies, botany, wetlands, small mammal populations and more. The week-long camp wrapped up with real tree climbing and a visit from Meg Lowman.

“For more than 10 years I have enjoyed running a workshop on small mammal live-trapping survey techniques for the Meg Lowman Camp at Tanglewood Nature Center. It is such a great opportunity for connecting the participants with women in science fields to illustrate what they could be doing someday,” explained Dr. Gillie.

“The camp helps us to reach young women right at the age when they might drop out of science. It is also a wonderful way to showcase the ecological treasures of Tanglewood and support their mission of nature education.” 

As part of their activities, Dr. Gillie and Dr. Meekins ensure the campers have hands-on experiences walking and hiking in nature, but also understanding the habitats where animals live and practicing with different data collection tools.

“Their joy for their research, and in sharing it with the Treetops campers, was infectious in the best way - the girls were talking about what science classes they want to take in college,” shared Bridget Sharry, community relations manager at Tanglewood Nature Center.

The summer science camp is named in honor of Elmira native and world-renowned forest canopy researcher Dr. Margaret “Meg” Lowman. Lowman, who received an honorary Doctorate in Science from Elmira College in 2015, pioneered the science of canopy ecology. She has been nicknamed the “real-life Lorax” by National Geographic and “Einstein of the treetops” by the Wall Street Journal. For more than 30 years, Lowman has designed hot-air balloons and walkways for treetop exploration to solve mysteries in the world’s forests, especially insect pests and ecosystem health. Lowman is affectionately called the mother of canopy research as one of the first scientists to explore this eighth continent. She relentlessly works to map the canopy for biodiversity and to champion forest conservation around the world. Her international network and passion for science have led her into leadership roles where she seeks best practices to solve environmental challenges and serves as a role model to women and minorities in science. 

Photo credits: Tanglewood Nature Center and Carrick Palmer.