The elusive arbornaut reps titles such as the director of the TREE Foundation, National Geographic explorer, research professor and science advisor to Earthwatch. An avid rainforest-saving advocate and an eco-conscious mentor for young generations, she shows her love for nature with a sizable tarantula tattoo on her forearm, and by rocking hiking boots over high heels. Find Canopy Meg either cleaning the house to rap music, checking in on her grown boys in Boston and San Francisco, or swinging across canopy bridges in the treetops while devouring Oreo cookies. 

A recent day in the life? 
Get up early and make strong coffee, sit on the lanai to watch pelicans, eagles, herons and the other birdlife that make Southwest Florida so special. Answer 100 emails that accrue overnight from around the world, many of which are kids wanting to know how to save the rainforests (or currently, Australian wildlife after the bushfires), or schools wanting a “meet the scientist” lecture. Participate in conference calls ranging from designing a new canopy walkway in Mozambique to writing a cover review for a new book, to seeking funding to save the forests of Ethiopia. Spend time writing, usually about saving forests or inspiring kids about STEM. Pleasure breaks—cook for friends, call my two sons and elderly mom, exercise, and watch a few more birds. End of day consists of reflecting on whether my daily actions made the world a slightly better place for my kids: Eddie, who is 35 and works tirelessly on clean energy policy in the Bay area, and James, who is 33 and has a very successful startup company in Boston. 

When you were a kid, you dreamed of . . .  Someday
meeting a woman scientist.


Your guilty pleasure . . . 
Eating Oreo cookies in the treetops while working as an arbornaut (aka, explorer of canopies).


Thought you had driving to work today.  Today I “flew” to work, to Singapore, which took 23 hours of flying. My thoughts were twofold: Can I successfully mentor girls in this amazing country? Will I succeed with a Southeast Asian UNESCO world heritage nomination site to conserve an important Malaysian rainforest? 


For what fault have you been the most tolerant?  American consumerism. It is the biggest and blindest cause of rainforest clearing. Because we do not label our products, most people too often buy products that cause clear-cutting of tropical forests, such as oil palm, soy, beef, tropical timbers and others. 


Your favorite virtue  . . .
Taking kids into nature, not just my own kids but especially others who are less able to find nature in their daily lives.


In our hometown, we do too much cement  and too little  tree canopy. Big trees (not small ones) are like gold and very precious in terms of what they do for humans.


Your last supper would include . . . E.O. Wilson, Bob Ballard, Jane Goodall and a handful of other notable friends who have mentored my career. And the guest of honor would be my mom, who gave me my values and sense of loving life.


Your favorite musical artists  . . . Queen and Enya. And I actually like rap—I heard Snoop Dogg at a live concert once with my boys, and we laughed all the way through because of his crazy body gesticulations. But it is really great music to clean the house to or exercise. I turn on rap music when I need to be energized, but admittedly I don’t hear the words (ugh!) or usually don’t know the artists, but it sure energizes an otherwise quiet day!


Villains of today . . . Pepsi and Coca-Cola. They are some of the world’s biggest plastic polluters, and they need to do better.


Funniest thing you remember as a kid . . . I still have the same three best friends from age three, so we have endured over six decades of laughing and crying. They are one of my best gifts in life. 


Would you rather have a rewind button or a pause button  . . . A pause button, to be sure, and to stop and sniff the flowers instead of working tirelessly every minute to save them.


Your talk show would feature . . .  Oprah, Rachel Carson and Harriet Tubman.


Your scariest feat?  Being the world’s first global arbornaut—climbing that first tall tree with my homemade gear was downright terrifying. 


Your favorite food of the moment . . .  Grilled garlic Brussels sprouts.


Your T-shirt motto?   “Climb.”


If you could snap your fingers and appear somewhere else . . .  I would love to wake up in Bora Bora tomorrow—no trees to study and gorgeous water to swim.


Song that describes your life right now? “We Are the World” by U.S.A for Africa.


Biggest fashion faux pas? Buying too much and too often. Americans use a disproportionate amount of resources, especially clothes, and we need to think harder about our kids. Re-wear and regift and visit the Women’s Exchange!  SRQ