Scientific illustrator Karen Talbot visits over 30 kids from Maine’s outer islands


From Wednesday, September 21, until Friday, September 23, Frenchboro School played host for the traditional inter-island event for all students from Monhegan, Matinicus, Isle au Haut, the Cranberry Islands, and Cliff Island. And how did these island students spend their time together?


On Wednesday, they had a potluck, looked at the night sky, and set up their campsites. On Thursday, they started the morning with a pancake breakfast. While that was going on, IRW Program Director Ruth Feldman and scientific illustrator Karen Talbot boarded the R.L. Gott boat in Bass Harbor for the ride over to Long Island (where Frenchboro is located).
They lent a helping hand to Beau Lisy, music teacher and drumming workshop leader, by loading up the boat with African drums!

Once arrived and unpacked, Karen led one of the four workshops available to the students in three different break-out sessions (the other workshops were Drumming, Theater Improvisation, and Nature Walks). Approximately 10 students participated in each of the workshop sessions, and Karen also led a session for adults in attendance.

Karen started off each workshop session by sharing a brief video that showed kids giving constructive feedback to a peer, in turn inspiring and motivating them to use closer observation for revision. Karen guided them in the art of nature illustration by creating a specimen study, first noting descriptive words and numbers (data) and then adding color using different techniques.

Once they’d created a nature illustration, they passed their work to the right, and everyone needed to say one specific thing they liked and why, and one suggestion for what the artist should add in their next draft. It was great to see them naturally give and take feedback, using communication skills learned from the video!

The highlight of the day was the sense of community, as it is so often when island schools are involved: folks pitching tents together, congregating on the lawn, preparing communal meals and posing together for group shots. After IRW and Karen finished their workshops, the students continued their event with a talent show, another night of camping, and a final departure on Friday morning.

The event’s brochure really captures the warmth and hospitality that surrounds these inter-island gatherings: three young girls stand in the middle of a dirt road, and together hold a bouquet of wildflowers. They are the entire student body of Frenchboro School. The caption reads, “Breanna, Annabri, and MaKayla welcome you to the 2016 Inter-Island Event on the beautiful island of Frenchboro.” Thank you, girls – we felt very welcome!

For more information on scientific illustrator Karen Talbot, visit her website at

Posted in: Uncategorized

One Comment

  1. Jan Keiper

    It was wonderful three days and Karen Talbot added to the interesting and educational workshops we were able to offer our island students. The fantastic warm and sunny days and clear nights made for a great Inter Island Event!

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS