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Scientific Illustrator Catches the GCA’s Eye


March 25, 2021

“Did I catch your eye? Good – that’s my job.”

In 2020, Julia Ditto asked this question on a conference poster presentation, “Did I catch your eye? Good – that’s my job.” Ditto is both a scientist and an artist, studying environmental science at Alaska Pacific University in preparation for a career in field science and scientific illustration. With the support of The Garden Club of America’s (GCA) Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship, she joined an ongoing research project this last summer, hiking, and pack-rafting 375 miles through the remote Alaskan wilderness, collecting data on white spruce seedling density and changing vegetation. Ditto also took on the role of “expedition artist,” carrying a watercolor kit to record the project through her illustrations.

The opportunity to traverse Alaska's Brooks Range gave Ditto a first-hand look at where climate-related changes were happening at a rapid pace. Combining her passions in both science and art, her illustrations visually convey data and information effectively. Her creation of graphics often cuts through the clutter and highlights the important points, making the research more accessible to a broader audience.

Julia says it best, “Art is a powerful tool for communicating and connecting to people. With talent in the arts and experience in the natural sciences, I hope to lessen the gap between the scientific community and the general public using science illustration. It is as important as ever to educate the public on climate in this changing world.”

Since 1928 when the Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture was established, The Garden Club of America has funded more than 1,400 recipients. The Garden Club of America offers 29 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research.




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