Wiki Loves Earth 2019 is calling. This will be the 5th edition of the contest in Spain, and it is a great moment to celebrate our wiki-photographer-earth-lover community. To do so, we are sharing an interview with María Bolado, winner of the WLE in Spain 2017 edition, and Agustí Descarrega, finalist of the WLE in Spain 2018 edition. These are their thoughts on the contest:
Why did you take part in Wiki Loves Earth 2018? Was it your first time at the contest?
Agustí: Because I love my landscape at Ebro Delta, and I wanted to share it with the rest of the world 😉 It was my second time at the contest.
María: After I bought my camera in 2016, a good friend of mine who was already involved in the Wikimedia movement introduced me to Commons. On Saturdays, we used to search for interesting places in Cantabria without a photo in Commons. The next step was trying it and documenting some natural protected areas. That is how I ended up taking part in Wiki Loves Earth 2017.
Tell us more about your winning picture
María: My family spends weekends and holidays in Bárcena Mayor, a tiny village deep in the heart of Cantabria. The particular spot the picture was taken in is called “Pozo de la Arbencia” and it is in the middle of a beautiful natural protected area, about nine kilometers from Bárcena Mayor. When I was a child, we sometimes had picnics there. It’s a magic place, not easy to find if you don’t know it from before. Its waterfalls are spectacular when the river carries enough water. It was not the case when I took the picture: the previous autumn and winter had been dry. But it is an amazing place all the same.
Agustí: Mine was taken at the Lighthouse of the Ebro Delta, which is an icon of this fragile natural protected area. It’s important to have it documented: raising awareness helps give value to the area and helps protect this fragile natural environment in actual danger of regression.
Wiki Loves Earth was created to collect a comprehensive database of free photos covering nature protected areas across the world. Yet, another ultimate goal of the contest, arguably not a less important one, is to attract attention to preserving nature. For that, it is crucial that participants take the approach of sustainable tourism and, while taking photos, help nature objects, not harm them. In this article, the Australian Wiki Loves Earth team shares their experience on how to ensure that, and we put this experience in the international perspective.
Australian experience: Take only photos, Leave only footprints
By Australian WLE Team
Over the last few years, Wiki Loves Earth participants have captured many stunning photographs of unique protected places. The world has captured something that had already been lost, whether it to fire, flooding, or some other natural event. We have also lost places due to human activity, such as the construction of roads or trees cutting. Other reasons are more subtle, be it seed collectors searching rare plants, or insect collectors who are looking for that one unique specimen. Another subtle impact is that cultural desecration of the sites which is causing offense to the Indigenous communities.
When Wikimedia Australia joined Wiki Loves Earth, we took a stance of “Take only photos, Leave only footprints”. It’s a saying attributed to the Baltimore Grotto, which was concerned about what impact their activities would have on the environment they want to enjoy. When we started to review Wiki Loves Earth submissions, this motto informed our decision to disqualify photographs whose authors obviously stepped over that mark. For example, we rejected photographs taken on top of rock Uluru, where the Indigenous owners ask that people respect the site’s cultural significance and don’t climb it.
On May 1, Wiki Loves Earth starts its sixth year of crowdsourcing photos of natural monuments and provides a chance to win local and international prizes. It has grown to become a truly global and large-scale photo contest, helping attract half a million free photos of natural monuments and protected areas from more than 50 countries.
Wiki Loves Earth is a photo competition which calls for participants to picture nature protected areas and upload their photos to Wikimedia Commons. Photos are uploaded under a free license that enables their free worldwide use on Wikipedia, other Wikimedia projects, and any other project. The previous five contests gathered more than 500,000 photos, and we hope that Wiki Loves Earth 2019 will show even better results.
Wiki Loves Earth is organised through numerous national contests coordinated by local volunteers around the globe. By now 23 countries are on the participating countries list, and we expect more local teams to join. Participants of the contest will compete for international prizes; local teams might also offer their awards.