My Scientific Illustration Internship

Since the fall of 2018 I have been working through Gretchen Halpert’s Scientific Illustration Distance Program (SIDP). The program consists of four 10-week sessions that take students on a creative journey – from the basics in graphite, pen & ink and watercolour, gradually gaining a sense of the professional workflow, with every-increasing application of profession scientific illustration practices. Assignments during the first three sessions are based on instruction delivered via an on-line classroom. Constructive critiques are offered following each assignment. For the final session students branch out individually with directions to design their own independent project or find an organization that already has, or is willing to support, ​a scientific illustration internship. I chose to do an internship with a local land conservation organization, and upon completion, on June 22, 2020, I received my certification.

I am pleased to have made the following illustrative contributions to two research initiatives during my SIDP Internship with rare Charitable Research Reserve. First, here is what rare has to say about the work they do:

“While rare’s goal is to steward its sites and ecosystems intact in perpetuity, for the community to enjoy, forever, in a natural state, it also promotes the lands as a living laboratory for research — including in-house monitoring programs and partnerships with other institutions, community-based scientists, artists and Indigenous Peoples. Research then informs restoration practices and education programs through a Chain of Learning that reaches even the youngest learners in a program called Every Child Outdoors (ECO), a model of active, hands-on, problem-based environmental learning, driven by inquiry in the out-of-doors.

We are a truly collaborative, multidisciplinary site where resources can be used most sustainably to tackle big questions as comprehensively as possible, and where ideas can soar in an environment that fosters cross-pollination involving different knowledge systems that come from diverse backgrounds including (but not limited to) the social sciences, humanities, archaeology, psychology and the arts, to name a few. We bring together internationally-renowned experts, aspiring early-career researchers, artists and the larger community.”

Newman Lab Ecophysiology of Stress,
University of Guelph

​”The Newman Lab asks novel questions about the long-term effects of early-life stress and examines the impacts of modified landscapes, such as urbanization and agriculturalization, on wildlife behaviour, physiology and fitness. It is critical, especially as the environment changes, that we understand the impacts of environmental stress on physiology and behaviour in order to predict long-term outcomes, inform conservation decisions, and uncover important translational biomedical insights using novel animal model systems.”–  Amy Newman

Newman Lab Ecophysiology of Stress Logo, digital colour image for research presentation to the general public © Suzanne M Matheson, 2020.

The Ontario Butterfly Species at Risk Recovery Team works on provincial and national efforts to protect and restore Ontario’s butterfly species at risk. Presently, there are only small, scattered populations of Erynnis martialis (Mottled Duskywing) in Ontario. Once plentiful in Pinery Provincial Park, through preservation of the Pinery’s existing oak savanna, the OBSARRT hopes to reintroduce and ultimately establish a self-sustaining population of endangered butterfly, E. martialis, to this oak savanna habitat, on the southern shore of Lake Huron.

Image of Mottled Duskywing butterfly digital stock illustration, Erynnis martialis, Colour, 2020 © Suzanne M Matheson.
Erynnis martialis, Colour, 2020 © Suzanne M Matheson
Image of digital stock illustration, Erynnis martialis (Mottled Duskywing butterfly) on Host Plant (Ceanothus americanus), Colour/Detail, 2020 © Suzanne M Matheson.
Erynnis martialis on Host Plant (Ceanothus americanus), Colour/Detail, 2020 © Suzanne M Matheson

To learn more about:

These projects were completed in fulfillment of certificate requirements from the
​Scientific Illustration Distance Program. 
www.gretchenhalpert-distanceprogram.com.

Digital Stock Illustrations

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