Stephen Nash: An Artist at the Forefront of Conservation Efforts (Part 2 of 2)

Darwin and Friends, by Stephen Nash

Read Part 1 of this series
Conservation in Daily Life

Nash is constantly awed by the wonder of nature, which motivates him to use his art to communicate this fascination to the rest of the world.

Nash’s inspiration often comes from his own backyard, where he and his wife have created a garden that he calls their “miniature wildlife habitat and conservation laboratory.” For example, he’s always amazed when he encounters an insect that he has never seen before, like the walnut sphinx moth (Amorpha juglandis) that he encountered recently. Instead of grabbing a pen and paper to quickly sketch this new insect, Nash reached for his camera. Stephen Nash

Today, photos are often the reference sources from which Nash creates his illustrations. In the past, illustrations were often created in the field, coping with challenges like unpredictable weather, or they were based on pickled specimens and were inaccurate because of the preservative’s effects.

These days, Nash most often works from his windowless studio in the Health Sciences Center’s Anatomical Sciences department at Stony Brook University on Long island, New York, drawing from photos and other media. He completes one species’ illustration nearly every day, including work on his 25-plus year project “illustrating every taxon of the primate order.” Nash adds, “some would say (the project is) foolhardy. However, primates are our closest relatives zoologically. It is a family thing.”

For Nash, it is all worth it. He believes that documenting species is ever more vital and urgent, as it promotes awareness – a vital component of conservation efforts.

Lemurs of Madagascar Field Guides, illustrated by Stephen Nash Stephen Nash illustrated many of CI’s field guides and pocket guides, including Lemurs of Madagascar: Diurnal and Cathemeral Lemurs Pocket Identification Guide and Lemurs of Madagascar: Nocturnal Lemurs Pocket Identification Guide. See all of CI’s publications at

And if you’re in the mood for a game, check out our Lemur Match memory game, with drawings by Stephen Nash.


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