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A Thriving Science Illustration Internship at the Cornell Lab

artwork by Bartels science illustration interns
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Birds have long inspired artists, and the walls of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are graced by the works of Louis Agassiz Fuertes, George M. Sutton, Charley Harper, Roger Tory Peterson, and others. In the last decade, those classic works have been joined by paintings produced here at the Cornell Lab, by artists working in an extraordinarily productive partnership, the Bartels Science Illustration Internship program.

The rotating internships allow illustrators who are just starting their careers to build their skills and portfolios by working on projects that help the Lab achieve its mission. The artists are so skilled, and the projects so focused, that interns’ projects often end up being published. In return, the Cornell Lab gains exquisite illustrations tailor-made for our needs.

We do not teach our interns how to draw birds, but instead offer the opportunity to collaborate with scientists, designers, and writers to create working art. Interns work in the Lab’s staff lounge and have access to the many resources at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, and the Cornell University library system. They can study prepared specimens, make daily contact with world-renowned scientists, and surround themselves daily with our bird art. Increasingly their work hangs alongside the masterworks on our walls.

Since 2007, the Cornell Lab has welcomed as many as three Bartels science illustration interns each year. Their art brings to life our educational and outreach materials, videos, and scientific work—if you are a member of a citizen-science project or a regular reader of BirdScope, chances are you’ve seen their work before.

The examples on the poster trace the development of the internship program. To learn more about Bartels Science Illustration Internships, please visit or contact design director Diane Tessaglia-Hymes at

Meet the Artists

  • evan_barbour2003 Evan Barbour
    Project: Birds of Sapsucker Woods
    Currently: Artist and teacher in San Francisco
  • katherine_a_smith2006 Katherine A. Smith
    Project: Autumn trail guide to Sapsucker Woods
    Currently: Artist and writer in Japan
  • pedro_fernandes2007-2008 Pedro Fernandes
    Project: Nesting birds posters for NestWatch
    Currently: Illustrator and teacher in Lisbon, Portugal
  • natalie_koscal22009 Natalie Kay Koscal
    Project: “Four Keys to Identifying Birds,” BirdScope Spring 2009
    Currently: Medical illustration student at Johns Hopkins University
  • megan_gnekow2009 Megan Gnekow
    Hummingbirds poster for Project FeederWatch
    Currently: Freelance illustrator in San Francisco
  • carly_hodes2009 Carly Hodes
    “Energy Matters,”BirdScope Autumn 2009
    Currently: Communications specialist at Cornell University
  • sabine_freiermuth2009 Sabine Freiermuth
    Brochure and flyer for Celebrate Urban Birds
    Currently: Graphic designer in Zurich, Switzerland
  • evaristo2010-2012 Evaristo Hernández-Fernández
    Cover of Auk Autumn 2011; portraits of species
    Currently: Artist-in-residence at the Cornell Lab
  • laura_hines2010 Laura Hines
    Habitat game for BirdSleuth
    Currently: Freelance illustrator in San Francisco
  • jane_kim22010-2011 Jane Kim
    “This Land Is Their Land,” BirdScope Summer 2011; illustrations for Handbook of Bird Biology
    Currently: Freelance illustrator in California
  • ann-kathrin_wirth2011-2012 Ann-Kathrin (“Fritzi”) Wirth
    Art and illustrations for Golden-winged Warbler status assessment
    Currently: Bartels intern at the Cornell Lab

Originally published in the Winter 2012 issue of BirdScope.

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American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library