NJEF: The Pretty Picture

In the nature journaling community, what do we mean when we say, “it’s not about the pretty pictures”? Lean into this discussion with the Nature Journal Educator’s Forum about how we define the pretty picture and how we respond to it:

Is there room for pretty pictures in nature journaling if you want? (Yes!) Do you have to make pretty pictures for what you’re doing to be considered nature journaling? (No!) Can you share your pages regardless of how you’re feeling about your art? (Absolutely!!)

How can we create a space that welcomes students no matter what their relationship is with art, so that all students are welcomed equally and feel equally worthy? How can we help each student feel seen and build an internal dialogue that supports their process? When we are working with students and telling them that “it’s not about the pretty pictures”, are there times when we as educators accidentally slip into rewarding the pretty pictures over other nature journal work without meaning to? (Nov. 2022)