National Geographic Grantee Meg D. Lowman studies canopy ecology. Using hot-air balloons and walkways Meg explores plant-insect relationships and canopy biodiversity. Considered the mother of this field she also champions forest conservation worldwide.

Use the resources in this collection to prepare your students for their upcoming National Geographic Live! student matinee experience. Use the “Before the show” ideas to introduce students to Meg Lowman and the topics (ecology, conservation, habitats, geography) that she will discuss during the show. Use the “After the show” ideas to extend the learning after the event has ended.

Before the Show:

  • Have students review Meg Lowman’s biography using the links in the Explore More tab on this page.

  • Download and print the provided maps of Ethiopia, or use the MapMaker Interactive, to explore the areas where Meg works.

  • Have students read the “conservation” encyclopedic entry. Lead a class discussion about different kinds of conservation techniques. After reading, ask: How are different types of conservation connected to one another? Can conservation be good and bad?

  • Have students read the rainforest encyclopedic entry. Ask students to list the draw a diagram of the rainforest and label each of the forest’s layers. Next instruct students to list the key functions of each layer and what other plants or animals call that section home. Extend this activity with additional research.

  • Engage your class with the Biodiversity of the Amazon geo-tour. Students can click through a series of maps to explore the Amazon rainforest to learn more about the geography of the region and some of its endemic species.

  • Help students explore the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest using the Protecting Biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest activity where students will construct an argument for protecting this ecosystem.

  • Use the Amazonia: The Human Impact infographic to explore how humans impact the rainforests. Have students research another rainforest. Ask: Does this rainforest face the same threats as the Amazon? Instruct students to use a venn diagram to determine similar and unique threats to each forest. Extend this activity by having students research conservation measures being taken in each place and analyzing the similarities and differences of each.

  • Provide each student with a KWL Chart. Introduce the program they will attend and, who the speaker is, and offer a brief description of the speaker’s topic(s). Have students fill out the What I Know and What I Want to Know columns of the KWL Chart. Have them fill out the What I Learned column after the show.

  • Use the graphic organizer collection to select a graphic organizer to help your students organize their questions and new knowledge before, during, and after the program. For example:

    • Download and print the T Chart. Have students label the left column with Questions I Have and the right column with Answers, and then conduct research about the speaker and their topic ahead of the program. Have students record answers to their questions during or after the program. Have students conduct research to complete any unanswered questions for homework. Have each student share a question and answer with the class.

    • Download and print the provided Five Ws Chart. Have each student bring their copy to the matinee program and take notes. Have students share and discuss their notes after the show.

After the Show:

  • Use the Explorer Comparisons worksheet and have a class discussion to help students make connections between themselves and Meg Lowman. Distribute the worksheet to students before the presentation and review the directions with them. Review any terms with which that they are unfamiliar with. After the presentation, have students share the notes that they took during the show. Have a class discussion about attitudes and skills and how students demonstrate them in their everyday lives. Have students record their personal examples on the worksheet.

  • Review the continents, countries, or areas that the speaker presented. Ask: What continents, countries, or areas does the speaker work in? Have younger students imagine that these places were characters in the stories that Meg Lowman shared. Ask: What role did place play in Meg Lowman’s story? Why was location important to the story? How did the characteristics of the place influence the story? Note: You may need to introduce the concept of place for your students before they can answer and discuss these questions.

  • Discuss and define any unfamiliar terminology that the speaker used. Ask: What vocabulary words did Meg Lowman use that were new to you? Invite volunteers to write the words on the board, and have the class define them as a group using the information they learned from the speaker or through research. If desired, have students record unfamiliar terminology during the show on one-half of a T Chart. Then, have them write the definitions on the other side following this class discussion.

  • Have a class discussion about the attitudes National Geographic explorers embody. Ask: What attitudes did Meg Lowman talk about today? In what ways does Meg Lowman demonstrate curiosity, responsibility, empowerment, and persistence in his work? Why do you think these attitudes are important for explorers? Students can use their Five Ws Chart for reference and a graphic organizer to organize their ideas.

  • Have a whole-class brainstorm on how students can make changes or support the speakers’ work. Ask: What, if any, call to action did the speakers make? How can you implement any changes in your day-to-day life? What can we work on together as a group?


all the different kinds of living organisms within a given area.


management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.


branch of biology that studies the relationship between living organisms and their environment.


community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.

endemic species

species that naturally occurs in only one area or region.


environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.

hot air balloon

bag filled with lighter-than-air gas able to float in the atmosphere.


type of animal that breathes air and has a body divided into three segments, with six legs and usually wings.


area of tall, mostly evergreen trees and a high amount of rainfall.