Profile Type: Artist
Rachel Sargent Mirus

While I appreciate making my own nature illustrations, my real passion is using art to teach life sciences. Originally trained in biology, I worked in research labs and museums across the country, and along the way I became interested in informal science education. Many people are intimidated by science, but art can be an easy and appealing hook for the sciences. I've worked with ages from kindegarten to seniors, mostly in informal education settings, often outside drawing and observing from nature. The traditional practices of natural history have been waning as modern science moves towards lab-based research programs, yet natural history still has a place. Growing concerns over "nature deficit disorder" show that people of all ages need to reconnnect with the natural world and I believe art can be that connection.

In my own art-making, drawing is always about looking deeper and learning more about my subject. I especially like up close and personal portraits of the very small or the uncharismatic, like spiders or worms. I'm most influenced by traditional natural history illustration from the days when scientists travelled the world and included an artist in their expeditions, although I've also taken aesthetic inspiration from pop culture or graphic design. I use a variety of media, but especially acrylic, watercolor, and graphite. I also work as a freelance nature writer, writing and illustrating together on a subject.

In recognition of my commitment to making science-inspired art accessible, I have a creative commons collection available on Flickr under the member name "Natural Curiosities".

Additional Links: 
An illustrated article on imagined animals from New England folk stories published with Northern Woodlands magazine.
An illustrated introduction to a few of the common groups of spiders in the northeast published with Northern Woodlands magazine.

I Have Worked With

  • September 2019 to March 2020

    I led two after school sessions for Radiate. In fall of 2019 I taught nature journaling for a group of 6 to 9 year olds. We made our own books on the first day and did outdoor nature activities with different themes on successive weeks. In the winter of 2020 I led a STEAM after school session combining science activities with art projects.

  • January 2020

    I periodically host toddler-friendly STEAM activities for The Children's Room. Past activities have included DIY fingerpaints, colored light and shadow puppets, and glow-in-the-dark moon calendars. 

  • September 2018 to November 2019

    In 2018-2019 school year I collaborated with a 7th and 8th grade science teacher on an arts integration residency. The residency spanned multiple science units over the course of the school year and included nature journaling, art and microscopy, and ecology-inspired student self portraits. In the fall of 2019 I did a second residency with a different science teacher focused around his microscopy unit, again with 7th and 8th grade students.


  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Nature Illustrator and Teaching Artist
Mailing Address: 
500 Scrabble Hill
Waterbury, VT 05676
Physical Address: 
500 Scrabble Hill
Waterbury, VT 05676
Last Name: 


Profile Type: 
Primary Discipline: 
Visual/Crafts - Illustration / Drawing
Additional Disciplines: 
Humanities - Science
Literary Arts - Non-Fiction
Visual/Crafts - General
Visual/Crafts - Painting
Populations Served: 
General Public
School Groups
Institution/Business Type: 
Artist (Individual)
Activities and Services: 
Arts Instruction / Lessons
Creation of a Work of Art (Including Commissions)
Curriculum Development
Public Art Projects (In Free, Public Spaces)
Writing Services
Geographic Reach: 

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Professional Associations: 
New England Science Writers
MA in Museum Studies
BA in Biology and Chemistry
I am on the following State Arts Agency Roster(s): 
Vermont Education Roster

I am a Teaching Artist

Teaching Settings: 
Afterschool Program
Arts and Cultural Center / Venue
Community Site / Center
School / University
Subject Areas: 
Arts Integration - Science / Technology / Engineering
Ages Served: 
Elementary School-age
Middle School-age
High School-age
Certifications / Training: 
Teaching Artist Academy
Americorps Museum Educator at the Fairbanks Museum
California Academy of Sciences' Educator Program
Harvard Museum of Natural History Gallery Guide Training