A record number of over 110.000 pictures, taken by over 13.000 uploaders in 26 participating countries and in biosphere reserves of our partner UNESCO were uploaded during this year’s national round of Wiki Loves Earth! Each of the participating communities chose their best ten pictures which represent them in the international round of the competition. Now the nine-member jury has the hard task to choose the best pictures worldwide.
The jury consist of nine members, who live all around the globe – Dietmar Bartz, Katya Zareva-Simeonova, Besnik Hamiti, Chris Woodrich, Doris Anson-Yevu, Isla Haddow-Flood, Jeevan Jose, Janno Loide, and Qunli Han. They will choose the best pictures, which represent an identified natural monument, natural park, protected area, etc., including pictures of animals taken there. All of the pictures, uploaded during Wiki Loves Earth were published under a free licence.
Most pictures were uploaded in India – 31.317, followed by Germany with 18.161 and Ukraine with 11.475. The highest number of uploaders was found in India with 6.318, followed by Germany with 1.108 and Pakistan with 1.098. For India this year was the second time it participated and its results have been impressive. Among the newcomers, Australia had the best results with 3.509 pictures uploaded by 595 people. The other states which participated for the first time this year were Greece, Albania, Moldova, and Kosovo.
This year Moldova had the Wiki Loves Earth organized for the first time. During a span of one month, amateur and professional photographers from Moldova had the chance to upload their photos of natural heritage monuments of the country, in the same time contributing to the scarce free media collection of Moldovan nature online.
During a month of contest, the organizers received 600 images depicting 70 natural monuments and protected areas. These are small numbers on a global scale, but decent numbers for Moldova: prior to the contest, only 7 natural monuments had illustrations on Wikimedia Commons. The uploaded files were being added to the corresponding articles immediately, making Moldova the best participating country in terms of media usage (23% of files are used in articles).
The promotion efforts gathered a small amount of actual uploaders. As much as 17 people had at least one valid upload. The jury, consisting of two local professional photographers and one Wikipedian, identified the ten best ten works and announced them at the end of July.
The winners and participants were invited to attend the awarding ceremony on on July 24 at the Hasdeu municipal library of Chișinău. During the meetup, attendants had the opportunity to see a mini-exposition of winning photographies, chat with some of the participants, and also ask questions about Wikipedia, specifically Wikipedia activities connected to Wikipedia in Moldova. There were voices expressing interest for an eventual possible Wiki Loves Monuments in the country.
Please welcome the winning pictures of Wiki Loves Earth in Morocco!
Morocco has participated in Wiki Loves Earth 2015 and around 1700+ pictures have been uploaded under creative commons license through this event. This year we received around 3 thousand photos and it’s just great! 19 are already recognized as quality images on Wikimedia Commons and more to come.
577 participants took part in the contest and almost all of them are newbies. We are happy to introduce new people into the wiki world 🙂 Lets work on using these images, we now have, in Wikipedia articles!
Ten best pictures of Morocco this year you see below. You are free to reuse them, but please mention the author and the license.
Dam Moulay Youssef, Marrakech Province by Simosure, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
A landscape in Morocco by Othmane.elam, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
An Addax in the station of aclimation Safia, south of Dakhla by Haytem93, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Erg Chebbi, Merzouga by Lefidele, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Aïn Zarka, Tetouan Province by Mohamed Haddi, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
The Cave of the Camel, Berkane Province by Soufianerrami, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Panorama of Djebel Toubkal by Webster93, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Merzouga by Hzidane10, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Barbary macaque in Azrou by Kamil-laghjichi, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Azilal by Marahlija, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
One more country to reveal its top-10 pictures. Wiki Loves Earth 2016 in Thailand took place in June. 148 National parks in Thailand were eligible sites to upload their pictures on Wikimedia Commons. 422 new images we now have from these parks — isn’t that great? 🙂
Please, may your eyes rest on these wonderful pictures.
In the entire competition of Wiki Loves Earth 2016 in Nepal, 271 user participated and uploaded their images of the natural heritage sites of Nepal to Wikimedia Commons. Top uploader of the competition is user Indra Rai who donated 264 files, the second and third uploaders are users Bijay chaurasia and Nabin845 with 93 and 92 files respectively.
To felicitate the winners of the Wiki Loves Earth 2016 in Nepal, Maithili Wikimedians organized an event on 9th July, 2016. It was held in Masala Cottage, Kathmandu and was visited by 75 people. Winners received their prizes and were praised a lot for capturing such marvelous places of the country.
The organizers thank to all the participants who took part in the contest. Thanks to you Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects have now more wonderful photos of wonderful country — Nepal.
She is Katerina Zareva-Simeonova. She was the Bulgarian representative in the nine-person jury last year, which evaluated the photos at the International stage in the “Wiki Loves Earth” contest. The curious detail is that in 2015 the contest was organized in a total number of 26 countries, but not all of them had representatives in the jury. Bulgaria was invited to appoint a jury member, although the country takes part in the contest for the first time.
Due to the contest specifics, the appointed jury member had to be a biologist or ecologist with experience in photography. Katya is much more than that – she is also a big friend of the Free Encyclopedia. 🙂
After the “Wiki Loves Earth” contest finished and we announced the results, we asked Katya for an interview. We wanted to learn what it means to be a juror in a contest with so many breath-taking pictures…
Katya, present yourself in a couple of words. 🙂
My name is Katerina Zareva-Simeonova, I live in Sofia and my formal education is ecology. I have been working for 17 years in the Sofia Zoo, and I am currently the head of the Ecological scientific-educational centre in the Zoo. This is the department that accomplishes the Zoo’s function of providing education in ecology, develop educational materials and projects, one of which was the joint project with the Bulgarian version of the Free Encyclopedia Wikipedia.
Apart from the area of zoology, my interests are related to photography and popular science documentaries. I have published photos of animals and nature in various journals and books, and I have authored more than 100 educational and documentary ecological films, mainly about Bulgarian nature.
You have been juror in other photo contests, too. Tell us more about them, and what made the difference with the “Wiki Loves Earth” contest?
Yes, I have juried for competitions for children photographs and pictures, as well for film competitions on national level. For me, it was a great pleasure to be part of the International Jury of such a public photo competition like WLE, with already shortlisted pictures from 26 countries around the world. We had to review and evaluate 259 photos, showing the nature and biodiversity in the protected areas in these countries. For this purpose, we were provided with a special software tool and system for evaluation, helping jurors to calmly and independently evaluate all the photos.
What were the criteria, which the jury used to evaluate the photos. What was the most difficult part of the contest for you?
The criteria for the “Wiki Loves Monuments” contest are specific, since the contest has the certain goal of stimulating people to take pictures of the nature in their countries and create and extend the freely licensed information in Wikipedia, and in Commons in particular. For this reason, the criteria of evaluation were: technical quality, originality, and encyclopedic and educational value.
What hindered me was the huge choice of pictures of high quality and intriguing content. That was challenging for my evaluation, that had to be a very accurate and objective one. In the same time, that was for me a thrilling aesthetic and cultural experience, unveiling for me unbelievably beautiful natural landmarks and sceneries I haven’t expected to exist. I think that the concourse delivered its message and accomplished its mission, getting me to know and love the Earth even more than before!
None of the Bulgarian photos has been distinguished among the Top 15. What did we miss, in your opinion?
The winning pictures from the Bulgarian national stage of the competition depicted landscapes and animals from the natural parks of Rousse Lom River, Vratsa Balkan, Belasitsa, Belogradchik Rocks, Strandzha, Pirin and Rila mountains. All of them were gorgeous and rightfully represent our nature. At least for me, the pictures that affected me mostly, were the Belogradchik Rocks and the panorama view from Peak Vihren in Pirin.
However, the competition was really tough, and I think that our pictures lacked some originality. Both the audience and the jury are satiated with visual information, they want more colour, more of the wow-effect. It’s no surprise that the winning picture is a landscape from Pakistan, featuring buildings. Humans need to see themselves and the trace they leave onto nature, in order to compare themselves with it.
Katya, you are the head of the Ecological scientific-educational centre in the Sofia Zoo. In your opinion, how such photo contests contribute to raising the society’s awareness about environmental issues?
First, the contest participants have the opportunity to express their attitude to nature and show a favourite place or animal of theirs. On the other hand, in this very competition, where images are made freely available, this message reverberates, carries knowledge, and is capable of changing the mindset of many people.
I believe that nowadays, when people are impatient enough to watch even several minutes of a video in the Internet, photography has a particularly pronounced and direct impact. An image can take the breath away and cause great excitement, especially if it captures a beautiful natural landscape. I still think that beauty can save the world, and this is why I rely on it, rather than on the aesthetic of ugliness or of shocking imagery.
Which picture was your personal favourite?
I won’t try to hide that for me the most interesting photos were the ones depicting animals. This is my field of expertise, and I well know how hard it is to take a picture of an animal, especially in wildlife. My favourite photo, which turned out to be favourite for the rest of the jury members as well, came from Brazil and captured the moment of birth of an Apis Mellifera drone. That image received the special jury prize in the contest.
When we talk about photos of animals, why is it important to have them pictured in their natural habitat?
Taking pictures of animals in their natural environment is critically important, as it raises the educational and encyclopedic value of the photos. Animals are part of a certain ecosystem, and must not be considered outside of it. Such images are the most appreciated ones and the ones most difficult to take, especially when it comes to species that inhabit a different from humans’ environment, like river and ocean species, birds in flight, or underground dwellers.
Nowadays, with the recent advance of technologies, cinema and photography have allowed us to peek into almost every corner of our planet and see amazing and intimate moments of the lives of its inhabitants. These images have a huge scientific value, too.
Katya, thank you for this interview, and for you being a juror in the Wiki Loves Earth contest! It was really important for us that we had an appointed representative in the International Jury, as of the first participation of Bulgaria in the concourse. And even more so, that our representative was you. 🙂
Interview and translation: Vassia Atanassova Editor: Maya Marinova
When Wozzy flew to us in the late evening of 31 May, a couple of hours before the start of the “Wiki Loves Earth 2016” in Bulgaria, he was approved unanimously by the organizers to become the contest’s mascot. He got the name ‘Wozzy’ from the Bulgarian translation of the abbreviation WLE, which sounds as ‘WOZ’.
Checking the field guide to the birds of Bulgaria, we could most accurately identify Wozzy as a Eurasian pygmy owl, representative of the Glaucidium passerinum species. From the Wikipedia article about the species, we learned that pygmy owls are the smallest owl species in Europe and Bulgaria, with body length of 15–19 cm, wingspan of 32–39 cm and weight up to about 80 grams. And, yes, with body length of 14 cm, wingspan of 19,5 cm and weight of 66 grams, our Wozzy is one really pygmy pygmy owl. When he understood which species we attribute him to, Wozzy didn’t mind and even hooted consentingly six times (well, not before we pressed the button on his belly).
Pygmy owls are wide spread in the boreal forests of Eurasia, and in the Central and Southern Europe they can only be found as a relict species in the mountains. The species’ conservation status is generally of least concern, but on the territory of Bulgaria it has been included in the Red Book of Endangered Species due to its paucity. Nesting pygmy owls have been detected in the three national parks in Bulgaria: “Central Balkan”, “Pirin” and “Rila”, and some other reserves like the Western Rhodopes and Slavyanka – all of them being locations included in the thematic scope of the “Wiki Loves Earth” photo contest, from where we encourage readers to send us their photos.
Wozzy is far from the only mascot of a Wikimedian event or initiative. Flying here with us, he not only joined the organization team of “Wiki Loves Earth”, but also joined the merry band of plushies from the Wikimedia Cuteness Association: Percy Plush, Wendy the Weasel, Peter the Wikiplatypus, Erminig the Stoat, Punky and Lars, and others. We will introduce Wozzy face to face with the rest of the plushies after several weeks in Italy, where, at the end of June, Wikimania, the annual conference of the global Wikimedian community, will take place, along with the third annual Cuteathon.
Having begun in May 15th, Wiki Loves Earth in Greece is now at the halfway mark! The event is running in Greece for the first time, although parts of the required preparations started at least two years ago! For instance, an initial list of areas to be photographed was prepared in 2014.
In order to run the Wiki Loves Earth contest, we needed a list of protected areas and natural reserves; national parks and forests, monuments of nature, RAMSAR sites, Natura 2000 sites etc. We found out that many of these areas overlapped with each other, or that smaller protected areas under the same definition were included in a wider protected area. In order to keep it simple, instead of merging these lists of protected areas into one big list, we chose to run the competition using the list of the Natura 2000 network, which includes most, if not all, of the areas of interest and is well documented. These sites constitute almost 30% of the land area of Greece and most of the population lives no more than 30 km away from anyone of them. Of course, although we are organising some photoexpeditions, we do not expect people to travel only for the competition. In Greece, excursions to the countryside are very frequent, during all seasons, and we expect that many contributions will be photos from previous such visits. Even people who are in areas around Greece just for tourism can contribute, as many of the islands and beaches are part of a protected natural area!
To this day we have seen great images from lakes, forests, beaches, habitats of birds, photos of many different species of flowers. This is great, as there was a lack of freely lincensed images for many locations in Greece. The images from Wiki Loves Earth will be useful for Wikipedia articles, but also for Wikidata items that we plan to create for each of these areas. What’s more, if the project is successful more people will know not only about Wikipedia, but also about Wikimedia Commons, and new users will be engaged in both projects. Until this day, participation is as expected, with more than 1100 new images from dozens of contributors throughout the country. There is also a lot of interest from the media, and it will bring in even more contributors. Running this photo contest in Greece is very important, as it is one of the limited number of ways to inform the public that they can contribute to Wikipedia not only by writing texts but also with their photos, cameras, or even smartphones. Although one would expect that Wiki Loves Monuments would be something very easy in a country whose culture and monuments span thousands of years, it is not. There is no Freedom of Panorama in Greece, and even taking photos of older monuments is a problem, because of the complex legislation regarding publishing rights for photos of monuments protected by the government. That is the reason we started photo contests by taking part in the European Science Photo Competition 2015, where we gained a lot of experience that we use for WLE. But Greece, except of being a country with long history, is also a land of sun, high mountains, deep forests, and long beaches. It is a habitat of a lot of unique spieces of birds, plants, and even sea turtles and seals in its archipelago. When we set our goal to 2500 images, it was commented that it is too high. We expect it to be fair. 🙂
Initially planned until May 31, the organizing committee of photography contest Wiki Loves Earth in Morocco, namely Wikimedia Morocco, announced that he decided to extend the duration of the contest for another week, so he closed the June 7. Given the large number of participants continues to grow and multiplying in a processive way uploaded photos.
Prévue initialement jusqu’au 31 mai, le comité d’organisation du concours de photographie Wiki Loves Earth au Maroc, à savoir Wikimedia Morocco, a annoncé qu’il a décidé exceptionnellement de prolonger la durée du concours pour une autre semaine, ainsi il se clôtura le 7 juin prochain. Vu le grand nombre de participants qui ne cesse d’augmenter multipliant ainsi de manière processive les photos téléversées.
مُقرر مبدئيا إلى غاية 31 مايو، أعلنت اللجنة المنظمة للمسابقة التصوير الفوتوغرافي ويكي تهوى الأرض في المغرب، ويكيميديا المغرب، أنها قررت استثنائيا تمديد فترة المسابقة لمدة أسبوع آخر، لتنتهي بذلك في 7 يونيو. نظرا للعدد الكبير من المشاركين الذي يتزايد مع الأيام، و الذي يرفع معه بشكل إضطرادي عدد الصور المشاركة