Wiki Loves Earth is an annual international photo contest of the natural monuments, where participants picture protected areas and upload their photos to Wikimedia Commons.
The goal of the project is, on one hand, to picture under a free license as many natural monuments and protected areas as possible, on the other hand, to contribute to nature protection by raising public awareness. These pictures are to be used to illustrate articles on Wikipedia and other Wikiprojects (Wikivoyage, Wikinews, Wikiquote etc.).
After years of successful organisation of Wiki Loves Monuments contest there was an idea of a similar contest for natural monuments.
The idea was realised for the first time in Ukraine, where the contest was held from 15 April to 15 May 2013. There were 11,736 picture entries at the competition, uploaded from 15 April to 15 May 2013. 1104 natural monuments of Ukraine (out of listed 7384) were photographed and 365 people took part in the contest. Number of newly illustrated articles about the natural heritage sites was 172. The contest was ranked as the 2nd coolest projects of Wikimedia Chapters at Wikimania 2013.
The contest became international in 2014 with 16 countries participating from four different continents – Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Most of countries organised the contest from 1 May to 31 May 2014, while some countries extended the contest period till 30 June, and Serbia was the last to finish on 15 July.
During the contest over 70,000 pictures were submitted by more than 3,000 participants. Similarly to Wiki Loves Monuments, the contest was organised through numerous national contests, coordinated by local volunteers. The national juries submitted then up to 10 pictures to the international stage of the contest. With 16 participating countries, the international jury had to consider a total of 156 picture candidates.
In 2015 the Wikimedia community with the help of its Ukrainian and Polish Chapters and volunteers held the third edition of the contest. Over 100,000 pictures were submitted by the participants. With 26 participating countries, the international jury had to consider a total of 259 candidate pictures.
In 2016 Wiki Loves Earth made one more step towards expanding geography. Apart of traditional country-based contests in 26 countries, a new nomination was added in collaboration with UNESCO: participants were invited to upload photos of UNESCO biosphere reserves in 120 different countries. Most of countries organised the contest from 1 May to 31 May 2016, while some countries and UNESCO special nomination extended the contest period till 30 June. During the contest over 115,000 pictures were submitted by more than 13,600 participants.
In 2017 Wiki Loves Earth expanded its geography more than ever. A record number of 36 countries organised a national stage, including some first-time participants like Bangladesh, Canada, Indonesia or Norway. As in 2016, there was a special nomination in collaboration with UNESCO on UNESCO biosphere reserves in 120 countries. Most of countries organised the contest from 1 May to 31 May 2017, while some countries and UNESCO special nomination extended the contest period till 30 June. During the contest a record number of 131,984 pictures were submitted by 15,299 participants, nearly 14,000 of whom made their first upload. Winners page