Bartels Science Illustration Program

Sign Up for eNews

Scientific Illustration at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Birds have long inspired artists, and the walls of the Cornell Lab 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 art produced here at the Cornell Lab, by artists working in an extraordinarily productive partnership, the Bartels Science Illustration Program.

The rotating positions (lasting six months each) 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.

Since 2007, the Cornell Lab has welcomed on average three Bartels Science Illustrators each year. Their art brings to life our educational and outreach materials, videos, and scientific work—if you are a member of the Lab, a participant in a citizen-science project, or a regular reader of Living Bird, chances are you’ve seen their work before.

Red about our past illustrators below, or click on the How to Apply link at right to download application instructions.


Luke Seitz
2015 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Ever since a male Scarlet Tanager captured Luke's attention when he was six, he has been drawing birds and watching their every move. As as student Cornell, he was an active particpant in the Cornell Lab’s Redhead birding team, and involved in many other Lab projects in addiiton to the Bartels Science Illustration Internship.

Luke has a special interest in illustrating field guides, and for his main project he illustrated a map of the world, depicted as bird heads representing in each region. This art was used to promote Global Big Day and is now available on a tote bag premium for Cornell Lab members. Luke  also created several silhouettes of birds for use on our All About Birds web site, in addition to art for our publications.


Anna Rettberg
2014 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Anna is an illustrator from Upstate New York. She graduated in 2012 from Syracuse University’s Illustration program where she worked on a wide range of projects, from children’s books and visual development to logo design. Her love of birds led her a Bartels Science Illustration Internship where she created works for Bird Cams, BirdSleuth, NestWatch, All About Bird Biology, and the membership department in her engaging, playful, graphic style. Anna creates her works by making a pencil sketch, first scanning it, and then adding final color and texture in Photoshop. She now lives in Seattle, WA, where she is the lead character artist at game developer Molly Rocket. In her free time she hikes in the Cascades and tries to familiarize herself with the birds of the Pacific Northwest.


Justine Lee Hirten
2013 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Justine Lee Hirten is an experienced illustrator and wildlife rehabilitator. She studied science illustration under the guidance of artists-in-residence at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago where she also worked as an intern in their ornithology lab preparing, organizing, and illustrating specimens. She then went on to graduate from the California State University of Monterey Bay Science Illustration program in 2013. She believes that research, conservation, and education about birds is an essential part of preserving the natural world, and that birds are some of the best ambassadors for nature. As a Bartels intern, J.L. created graphics for our All About Birds newsletter, and our BirdNotes brochures.


Caitlin Turner

Andrew Leach
2012 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Andrew earned a Bachelor of Science in landscape architecture from Temple University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in painting from University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown. In 2012 he received a Graduate Certificate in Scientific Illustration from California State University, Monterey Bay.

As a small child Andrew drew and painted birds and other animals, but as he grew older he explored other creative fields—craftsman, designer, picture framer, woodworker, registered landscape architect, and fine artist—although his work has always explored the topics of native versus non-native species, wild habitat loss, and extinction. Andrew’s strong illustration skills and his background in landscape architecture made him ideally suited to create illustrations for experiment set-up and behavioral diagrams for the Lab’s Birds-of-Paradise Project website,,. As an intern, he also did several illustrations for other Lab projects, and now works part time as an illustrator for the All About Bird Biology website.



Benlin Alexander
2013 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Benlin has a degree in Fine Arts Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and has worked as a freelancer doing illustrations and paintings for newspapers, Macy’s, games, and the Seneca Park Zoo. Benlin loves to draw and paint, whether he’s portraying people, beautiful landscapes, or wild birds. He invests time in researching his subject to better understand their characteristics, personality, habits, and environment. With this research as a foundation, he uses traditional media to initially draw the subject, and then he scans the drawing and paints it digitally. His digital painting process is similar to traditional oil painting: he creates his own brushes and mixes his own colors, then applies colors from dark to light, allowing some of the drawing to show through to provide a natural texture.

Benlin likes using his art to inspire and motivate others, and as a Bartels intern, he created several drawings to use in membership recruitment materials. “As a Bartels Science Illustration Intern at the Lab of Ornithology,” he said, “I have had the honor of using my art to inspire others.  It is my hope that my work will lead the viewer to take a new interest in the natural world.“


Caitlin Turner

Caitlin E. Turner
2012 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Caitlin graduated in 2011 from the Rhode Island School of Design where she received a BFA in painting. However, art and nature have been an integral part of her life since childhood when she would spend her days sketching in the wooded backyard of her Massachusetts home. Birds were a big part of her childhood, and her house and yard were filled with binoculars, bird books, feeders, photographs, and more. Working as a Bartels Science Illustration Intern at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology allowed her to mesh her passions for art and birds in a way that is personally fulfilling, and beneficial and educational for the community.  As an intern, Caitlin created many paintings for several projects, including a poster of backyard birds, a pocket guide to nesting birds, a brochure on feeding birds in winter, and a full-color illustration of a Golden-winged Warbler.


Reyn Ojiri
2012 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Reyn, a native of Hawaii, obtained his bachelor’s degree in Plant and Environmental Biotechnology from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, and then attended the Graduate Certificate Science Illustration Program at California State University Monterey. He is particularly interested in scientific illustration of birds because of the role it can play in promoting conservation in Hawaii, his home state. Hawaii is an ecological oasis filled with evolutionary oddities and an abundance of native birds found nowhere else in the world.

As a Bartels Science Illustration Intern, Reyn’s main project was to create a cover illustration for the Best Management Practices for Golden-winged Warbler Habitat in the Appalachian Region, an important document helping land managers to manage habitat for the declining Golden-winged Warbler. He also produced the illustrations for a brochure about creating gardens for birds.


Ann-Kathrin ("Fritzi") Wirth
2011 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Fritzi is a biologist, naturalist, and artist from Luxembourg. She has an M.S. from Exeter University, Cornwall, in Biodiversity and Conservation, and an M.A. in Visual Design as Creative Practice from Blackpool & The Fylde College. As an artist, she strives to use her skills to create beautiful works that share her fascination and interest in the natural world, and also promote awareness and concern for endangered species. Combined with her enthusiasm for working at the Cornell Lab, these qualities made her an ideal candidate for the Bartels internship. As an intern, she was responsible for the cover art and interior illustrations for the Best Management Practices for Golden-winged Warbler Habitat in the Great Lakes Region, a graphic for the Athena Fund, and several other illustrations. Fritzi also painted the Cedar Waxwing that is featured on our mug and tote given as memberhip premiums. She is currently living in Luxembourg and working as a freelance illustrator.



Jane Kim
2010 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Jane Kim was the top illustrator in the 2009 class at the California State University, Monterey Bay, Scientific Illustration Graduate Certificate Program. Her detailed, highly accurate drawings are also beautifully artistic, making her an ideal choice to create illustrations for the third edition of the Handbook of Bird Biology. Jane also created several technical illustrations showing how a transmitter is attached to Bar-tailed Godwits. These illustrations were then animated and used in a video about Bar-tailed Godwit migration. Jane is currently living in Ithaca where she has been commissioned to create new mural at the Cornell Lab celebrating the diversity of birds in the world.



Evaristo Hernández-Fernández
2010 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Evaristo is a biologist and self-taught artist from Mexico whose passion is birds. His careful and accurate painting style and his familiarity with western Mexico made him the ideal person to paint the Imperial Woodpecker for the cover of The Auk. (An article by Lab researcher, Martjan Lammertink, describing the only video of this species, was also published in this issue.) Evaristo also created many other paintings for the Lab, including portraits of several species of manakins, and guides to help in the identification of similar species. Evaristo now lives in Mexico, where he is pursuing a M.S. degree. 

Watch the video explaining how Evaristo created a painting of the extinct Imperial Woodpecker for the cover of the October 2011 issue of The Auk magazine.

Watch this video about how Evaristo first got interested in art and nature and how that led him to pursue science.


Laura Hines
2010 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Laura received her training in the University of Washington’s Natural Science Illustration Certificate program, and came to the Lab because e of her passion for scientific illustration and her interest in contributing her skills as an illustrator to educational outreach programs. For her project, she created a game board and game pieces for a BirdSleuth activity to teach children about the effects of human impacts on habitat. Laura is currently working as a freelance illustrator in San Francisco.



Sabine Freiermuth
2009 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Sabine had extensive training in medical illustration and zoological illustration from the Lucerne School of Art and Design, Switzerland, when she applied to the Cornell Lab as a Bartels intern. However, it was her comic illustration style that caught our interest. We felt her bold, vibrant colors, and youthful style would complement the Lab’s Celebrate Urban Birds citizen-science program. Sabine created a brochure and flyers for Celebrate Urban Birds. After completing her internship, Sabine completed a medical illustration internship in Perth, Australia. She currently resides in Zurich, Switzerland, where she works as an Infographic-Designer for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ). She is still drawing comics, but also does medical illustrations, technical illustrations and instruction manuals.


Megan Gnekow
2009 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Megan received her training through the Scientific Illustration Graduate Certificate Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her delicate watercolor style was perfect for creating a poster depicting the hummingbirds that visit feeders for Project FeederWatch. She also painted a series of twelve birds for greeting cards. Megan currently resides in San Francisco, where she does freelance illustration for many clients, including Tom’s Shoes.  


Carly Hodes
2009 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Carly was a Cornell University senior studying ornithology while she completed her internship at the Lab. Her projects resulted in several illustrations for our newsletter, BirdScope, sparking her interest in editorial production and launching her career in science communication. Carly now works as a communications specialist at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, where she is able to combine her many talents. Her articles have been published locally and worldwide from India to New Zealand to the Netherlands. In addition to having a knowledge and love of birds, Carly is skilled at figure drawing, graphic design, composing music, and writing.


Natalie Koscal
2009 Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Natalie, a Cornell University undergraduate biology major, was able combine her two passions—art and science—as a Bartels Science Illustration Intern. Even though she was attending school full-time during her internship, she created several paintings, four for a Bird ID guide in our newsletter, BirdScope, and two paintings of elephants for our Elephant Listening Project. Natalie is now studying scientific illustration at Johns Hopkins Medical School, Department of Art as Applied to Medicine.


Pedro Fernandes
2007, First Bartels Science Illustration Intern

Pedro received his training from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Scientific Illustration Graduate Certificate Program. For his ambitious internship project, he created two posters for the Lab's NestWatch citizen science project. Pedro painted 75 birds for this project, first creating a pencil drawing on Duralene paper, painting over it with gouache. He then turns the paper over and adds detail using Verithin and Prismacolor colored pencils.
After completing his internship, Pedro taught scientific illustration and illustrated the Birds of the Azores. He is currently working as a freelance illustrator and residing in Istanbul, Turkey, where he teaches and participates in urban sketching and science illustration workshops—and of course, continues to watch and paint birds.

Watch this video showing Pedro at work on the NestWatch posters.


Katherine A. Smith
2006 Science Illustration Intern

Katherine received her training through the Scientific Illustration Graduate Certificate Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. During her internship, Katherine painted and designed our first guide to the Autumn trails of Sapsucker Woods and created illustrations for the Lab’s quarterly newsletter, BirdScope. Upon completion of her internship, she remained at the Lab to finish the trail guides for Winter, Spring, and Summer. Katherine next worked as a designer in San Francisco, then travelled to Japan to teach English, and now lives in California where she writes and illustrates fantasy novels. 


Evan Barbour
2003 Science Illustration Intern

Evan came to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology from the Scientific Illustration Graduate Certificate Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. For his internship, he created a field guide to the birds of Sapsucker Woods. During the 18 months of his internship, he created many original paintings which have been used in many Lab publications, and now hang in the Lab's hallways and offices. Many of his illustrations were also used in a bird-identification kiosk for the Cayuga Waterfront Trail in Ithaca, NY. Evan is currently residing in San Francisco, California, and working as a freelance naturalist, artist, and educator. 

Back to main page

A self-paced online tutorial. Learn to ID birds by size and shape
Birds of North America Online, ultimate source for bird info, join for $5/month
Shop for our Causes, your purchase supports our mission
Get delicious, Bird Friendly certified coffee from Birds and Beans.