Julia LandfordFounding Director of NatureArt Lab, wildlife and botanical artist, environmental educator, qualified teacher
“I have been a lifelong educator and love bringing art, science and environment together through our programs, reaching the very youngest — as future custodians of nature — through to adults of all ages.”
– Julia Landford
Julia Landford has devoted more than three decades to environmental education and natural history art. Originally graduating with a degree in Botany and Human Ecology from ANU, she went on to gain a Graduate Diploma of Education from Monash and a Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development from ANU. She was born and brought up in Papua New Guinea where a love of the natural environment and its conservation became a lifelong interest. She returned to PNG in the 1990s with her husband Alan, an entomologist, and her children.
There, while lecturing with the Bulolo Forestry College, she established an early childhood learning centre while also partnering with her husband in the care of a small wildlife research centre with a focus on nature and environmental education. Returning to Australia in 1997, Julia became a senior college teacher and an international development executive with AusAID and DFAT. At the same time she established a community arts organisation, Wildlife and Botanical Artists Incorporated. WABA brought together a national network of artists, scientists and environmentalists to promote engagement with nature. As founding President, Julia provided leadership and guidance for almost 20 years, establishing significant partnerships with government agencies and building a network of connected interests.
After retiring from her career in government in 2017, Julia established a privately funded and innovative natural history art school in Canberra, NatureArt Lab. The only environmental arts education centre of its kind in Australia, it offers a comprehensive and innovative art- and science-based education program promoting engagement with nature for both adults and children. NatureArt Lab also runs specialised educational nature immersion experiences to Australian and international destinations for artists and photographers. Julia is Treasurer for the ACT chapter of the Australian Association of Environmental Education. In 2019 she was nominated for, and received, an award for her leadership and outstanding contribution to environmental education.
Check these out…
Dive into this selection of images and stories about her work.
Reflections on Nature: Free Artist in Residency Program!
Reflections on Nature is a project designed to encourage artists to connect with nature over the coming months. We will be observing and creating in response to observations of colour, regrowth, seasonal change and interesting revelations.
Suitable for everyone from beginner artists through to nature lovers we are providing a guided journey of topics and inspirational thoughts for you each fortnight. We offer a safe space for you to share your sketches, photos, ideas, prose and observations. Nature journaling is also an important way of learning how to observe nature, using a simple set of drawing materials and a visual art diary.
Children creating art responding to nature
Kids can engage with observation and drawing from the moment they are born, but early drawing records can start from 4 years. The NatureArt Kids programs are designed for children aged 5–12 years. NatureArt Lab also offers youth programs at the studio in Griffith, Canberra.
Participants in the National Youth Science Forum’s Year 12 Program got to draw spiders!
As part of the STEM+ module with NatureArt Lab. They got up close and personal with spiders, viewing live specimens (in containers) under a microscope to learn more about their anatomy, structure, ecology and venom before drawing them.
“As jobs become increasingly interdisciplinary, NYSF aims to show students they can use their skills and passions across a range of disciplines in their future careers.”
What keeps you up at night?
“Managing an exciting social enterprise with all that comes with that! I have so many ideas for new things that we can do to help engage people with nature; and love the challenge of making things happen for good purposes.”
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
“More art, more science, more exciting things to do and the challenge to protect and preserve this incredibly beautiful planet.”
Find out more about Julia and her work
Canberra Women of Science and art