Lowell was born on August 8, 1946, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He grew up on a nearby farm and developed an early interest in wildlife and the outdoors. He earned a BS degree in forestry and wildlife from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and MS and PhD degrees in zoology from Ohio State University, specializing in wildlife biology. Following his junior year at Virginia Tech, Lowell was awarded an Oak Ridge Associated Universities summer stipend to work and study in the radioecology section of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee. His PhD research at Ohio State forcused on tritium kinetics in a freshwater marsh ecosystem.
Lowell began his professional career in 1976 as a wildlife biologist with the Urban Wildlife Research Center in Ellicott City, Maryland, where he worked for 20 years. His early research there focused on the effects of roads and highways on wildlife. Later he concentrated more specifically on urban wildlife ecology and human-wildlife relationships in the urban environment. In 1996, Lowell accepted a faculty appointment in the Natural Resources Management Program (now Department of Environmental Science and Technology) at the University of Maryland where he taught three courses in wildlife ecology and management. He also served as undergraduate advisor to Wildlife Ecology and Management students and as a member of the graduate faculty, retiring in 2011. His graduate student research included study of immunocontraception for controlling urban-suburban white-tailed deer populations, the effects of habitat fragmentation on population genetics of box turtles, and other urban-related issues. Most recently, he co-advised a PhD student at Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro studying tourism, biodiversity, and national park management in the United States, Brazil, and Mozambique. Lowell worked closely with graduate and undergraduate student interns in cooperative internship programs with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. From 1994 through 2008, he served on the governor-appointed Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission and was vice chair of that commission for the last 12 of those years.
Lowell was senior editor of two books on urban wildlife, Integrating Man and Nature in the Metropolitan Environment (1987) and Wildlife Conservation in Metropolitan Environments (1991), and senior author of Wildlife Reserves and Corridors in the Urban Environment, a book designed as a guide to ecological landscape planning and resource conservation, published in 1989. His book, Urban Wildlife Habitats: A Landscape Perspective, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1994. By invitation, he has participated in international urban ecology seminars in England, South Africa, and the Netherlands.
Since 2006, Lowell has been actively involved with the Maryland Chapter of Partners of the Americas, serving as vice president for programs 2008 through 2009, president 2010 through 2013, and as treasurer 2014 to the present. Partners of the Americas is a “people to people” exchange program initiated by President Kennedy in the 1960s. The state of Maryland is partnered with the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Work is carried out under joint plans agreed to by both chapters. Lowell has been particularly involved with a student exchange program between the University of Maryland and two universities in Rio—the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro in Seropedica and the Federal Fluminense University in Niteroi—focused on ecology and natural resources management. Every other year, a small group of Brazilian students and one or two faculty members travel to Maryland to learn about its educational and academic facilities, environmental non-government organizations, related government agencies, and research foundations; in the intervening years, students and faculty from the University of Maryland travel to the state of Rio de Janeiro. Lowell led student groups to Rio in 2007, 2009, and 2011, and was lead host to Brazilian groups traveling to Maryland in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012.
In recognition of his achievements, Lowell received the exceptional service award of the National Institute for Urban Wildlife in 1986. He also received the Chevron Conservation Award in 1987 and the Daniel L. Leedy Urban Wildlife Conservation Award in 1992 for outstanding professional commitment and contributions to the conservation of wildlife and habitat in urban, suburban, and developing areas. Lowell received the Outstanding Gemstone Mentor Award in 2009 in recognition of exemplary support and guidance of a team of undergraduate student researchers studying diamondback terrapin nest predation in the University of Maryland Gemstone Program. In 2011, The Wildlife Society and its Urban Wildlife Working Group recognized Lowell with a Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to urban wildlife management and the wildlife profession. In 2012, the Maryland-Delaware Chapter of The Wildlife Society presented him with its Wildlife Professional Award for outstanding contributions to the management and conservation of wildlife. At the 50-year anniversary celebration of Maryland-Rio Partners of the Americas in 2013 in Niteroi, Brazil, students and professors of the Maryland-Rio Student Exchange Program recognized Lowell for his “dedication, affection and outstanding service leading the MD-RIO exchange program.”
Lowell has been active in The Wildlife Society since his undergraduate days at Virginia Tech where he was elected student chapter president in 1968. He served as secretary-treasurer (1983), president-elect (1984), and president (1985-86) of the Maryland Chapter. Most recently he served as chair of the Urban Wildlife Working Group of The Wildlife Society and remains active with that group. He was certified as a wildlife biologist in 1978 by The Wildlife Society.
Lowell was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1984. He served as secretary of the Club from 1987 to 1995, as vice president from 2008 to 2011, as president from 2011 to 2014, and again as secretary from 2015 to the present. His research on movement and mortality of translocated urban-suburban gray squirrels was supported by Washington Biologists’ Field Club grants in 1996 and 1997. Lowell has served as Club sponsor for many University of Maryland graduate students awarded research grants from the Washington Biologists’ Field Club. He lives in Columbia, Maryland, with his wife Pat, and has a grown son, Chris. In his spare time, Lowell works on mastering the Portuguese language and bluegrass banjo.