Rachel Alexandrou works with Damariscotta River Association as resident artist.

Rachel Alexandrou, a senior in the Environmental Horticulture program, has been completing her requirement for a ‘Field Experience’ by working with the Damariscotta River Association (DRA) as their resident artist this summer. The DRA, a nonprofit conservation land trust, connects community and the Damariscotta River estuary, and works in Damariscotta, Newcastle, Edgecomb, Nobleboro, Bristol, South Bristol, Boothbay and Bremen.

Rachel has been involved in several projects and activities. As part of the ecology and science-focused Kids Camp, she led a drawing workshop with children ages 5-11 teaching them how to focus on identifying features of plants and draw them.  In her studio Rachel has created several “personal project” pieces. The first was an illustrated diagram of the difference between poison ivy and wild sarsparilla. The second is a watercolor of bobolinks in their natural habitat. The third is a watercolor image of a traditional Native American food source, Apios Americana, aka groundnut. She has also catalogued and foraged for edible plants, including elderflowers, wild grape leaves, groundnut, glasswort, cattail, and blueberries.   She helped create a foraged meal for about 60 participants in an educational and artistic event sponsored by the DRA.  Dishes served included sautéed young milkweed pods, black trumpet sauce over locally grown greenbeans, wild rice stuffed grape leaves, blueberry apple crumble with rosa rugosa whipped cream, cattail relish, pickled glasswort, sumac-ade, and candied calamus as an aperitif digestive.

Rachel hopes to go to graduate school for science illustration after completing her Environmental Horticulture degree. Her work with the DRA helped her gain experience as similar to that of a freelance science illustrator.