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
In this blog post we present you a personal insight on Wiki Loves Earth from the point of view of Australian Wikimedian User:Gnangarra
As we near the mid way part of WLE in Australia I thought I would share a few observations about what its like to run the event in a country for the first time. The first step took a little bit of work to establish but nothing one person can’t co-ordinate. This was followed by a review by a couple of very help people on the organising team who suggested a few additions. Finding judges for the Australian section was fairly easy because I was able to draw on people from GLAM partners who have existing relationships.
Already for WLE we awaited for the first uploads on May 1st and what we received was the ultimate in Austalia’s iconic environment a place at the heart of our national psyche Uluru. From there we have had photos of penguins, pelicans, fish (no chips), seals, Koalas and echidnas. Of course the mandatory kangaroos that visitors to Austria oops I mean Australia are always looking for. With that comes another almost mandatory photo from Arakoon National Park of kangaroos bounding along a white sand beach.
But of course WLE is about the Earth, its natural environment and places that are protected Australia has many of those, some very remote. There’s a litle track known as the Gibb River Road, its one the ultimate challenges for those into 4wding. Travelling along that road you can see the Barnett Range, so remote en Wikipedia doesn’t even have an article yet but we now have a photo, a beautiful 8000 px 53mb panorama that also demonstrates just how vast and remote parts of Australia really are.
As we near that half way point what can I say about WLE; it is really easy to participate – all it takes is one person and a bit persuasion. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what it produces.
When I put this to WMAU committee for approval for funding of prizes I said WLE could be considered a success with just 500 photos uploaded, and I’d be over the moon with 1000. We passed the 500 figure just 5 days in, now with 750 images uploaded WLE-au is well on the way to surpassing 1000 dare I dream of passing Australia’s most successful photo competition WikiTakes Waroona – 1849 images from 2013.
Today we present you an intimate story by one of the participants at the first edition of Wiki Loves Earth in Bulgaria in 2015 – Spasimir Pilev – who visited a number of protected areas in order to donate pictures of them to Wikimedia.
Thanks to its geographical position, Bulgaria has exceptionally rich and beautiful nature. Most interesting for me are the still well conserved ecosystems in the bordering mountains – Strandzha (bordering Turkey), Slavyanka (called also “Ali Botush”, bordering Greece), Belasica (bordering Greece and Republic Macedonia), Osogovo (bordering Republic Macedonia) and Ruy (bordering Serbia). While Bulgaria was part of the Eastern Bloc, these mountains fell in the 30-kilometre-wide border zone which required a special permission to get in. This is one of the reasons why nature has remained almost untouched by humans for decades.
During last year’s Wiki Loves Earth photo contest, in June, I decided to visit some protected nature reserves and areas in the inner parts of the country. My most visited destinations were the Sredna Gora and the West Rhodope Mountains.
My first trip was to the Eledzhik protected area, which is situated in the Ihtiman part of Sredna Gora and has an area of 668 ha. It contains protected fagus sylvatica forests. A starting point for the journey is the abandoned train station Nemirovo, named after the Bulgarian writer from the beginning of the 20th century Dobri Nemirov. The beginning of June is a wonderful time for taking pictures – the forest is green already, and many of the bushes are still in blossom. Wild strawberries have started to ripen. A few times I heard running hares near the river.
During the following two or three weeks, I travelled to four less known protected areas, aiming to take pictures which would be suitable for illustrating Wikipedia articles. These areas are situated in the Western Rhodope Mountains. Some of them, as many other protected areas in Bulgaria, were historical sites in the past. In most of the cases, they are related to the Bulgarian resistance movement during World War II. Often the names of the protected areas in Bulgaria are very interesting. In the Western Rhodope Mountains I reached “Koritata” (The Trays) and “Ezeroto” (The Lake) where the object of preservation is their characteristic landscape; “Sveti Georgi”, which was created for protecting a natural field of summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum) and “Marina” in which there are protected centuries-old sessile oaks. At the beginning it was declared a nature site, but later it was re-categorised as a protected area. Interesting are the still preserved foundations of a church from the Early Middle Ages, dedicated to St. Marina. Again thanks to the contest “Wiki Loves Earth”, I learned that these protected areas are part of a larger territory from a protected zone named “Yadenica” of the ecological network of the European Union Natura 2000 according to the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.
In some parts of the declared protected areas, endemic and relict species are preserved.
For my birthday, several days after the end of the competition, I made myself the present of climbing the highest peak of the tenth highest mountain in Bulgaria – the Big Bogdan peak in the Sredna Gora mountain. It belongs to the Bogdan reserve where oak forests of average age of 150 years are preserved.
For the rest of the days I had the good motivation to upload pictures from previous years to Wikimedia Commons – from the protected areas in Pirin, Balkan Mountains, Belasica, Rhodope Mountains. Many of them were used for illustrating numerous articles.
All of those protected areas – national parks, nature parks, reserves, protected areas, nature sights, protected “Natura 2000” zones – are of crucial importance for the preservation of nature and us, humans. Travelling with motor vehicles, hunting, and cutting down trees are forbidden, and walking is only permitted along the marked paths. This is important for Wikipedia, too, because the more is known about the importance of these unique areas, the bigger is the possibility to get a clear notion that they are of great importance for humans’ life, too, and thus help for their preservation.
“Uvac” Special Nature Reserve is a protected natural asset of great importance, situated in south-western Serbia in the region of Stari Vlah – Raška high plateau, set between Mt. Javor in the Northeast and Mt. Zlatar massif in the Southwest. It has been protected since 1971 and occupies the territory of 7543 ha in total. The minimum altitude in the reserve is 760 m above sea level, and the maximum – 1322 m.
Major morphological feature of the reserve is the Uvac River canyon valley which includes the valleys of its tributaries. The special value of canyon parts of the river valley are curving meanders. The relative height of meander heads is 100 m at places.
The surrounding is characterised by karst surface with numerous karst formations: plains, depressions, sinkholes, rock shelters, caves and potholes. Caves are numerous and vary in size, including Usak Cave System, the largest known cave system in Serbia (6185 m). Caves are very rich in speleothem deposited by the action of dripping water to form stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies etc.
“Uvac” Special Nature Reserve is distinguished by the presence of 104 bird species. Most important of all is the griffon vulture, one of the two vulture species that are still nesting in Serbia.
Variety of intact habitats, presence of endemic, rare and endangered flora and fauna species have special importance in terms of preservation of biodiversity and geodiversity and, by itself in terms of development and promotion of tourism potential of the reserve.
On May 1, 2016 the Wikimedia community is starting an international photo contest with a natural heritage theme, Wiki Loves Earth 2016. Wiki Loves Earth is organized through numerous national contests, coordinated by local volunteers.
Wiki Loves Earth belongs to the widest photo competitions, we are really happy that you like it. WLE becomes a movement, there are people who donate there time and photos into it year by year. Devoted participants — and also newcomers! — help decrease blind spots on map and highlight unknown places and sights in their countries.
This photo contest is not only a great opportunity to show the charms of nature, but also a chance to draw public attention to environmental problems. Together we can create word wide heritage base of natural objects. Together we will raise awareness about natural resources and zones and their protection.
Anyone can take part in the competition; however, registration on Wikimedia Commons is required. To enter the contest, find an item or place you are familiar with from the competition list, submit a picture you have taken (past or present), and upload it to Wikimedia Commons beginning May 1 through May 31, 2016.
If you would like to join international WLE with your local contest or have any other questions, please, write on firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Steinerne Rinnen” or calcareous tufa gutters are rare karst phenomena. The main occurrence of such kind of gutters is in the hilly areas of Franconia, in the northern part of Bavaria in Germany. It would be interesting to know if such geologic gutters can be found elsewhere as well as the local names for such formations. The formation of such karsts require a fountain rich with dissolved carbonate, a terrain steep enough for a fast-running stream, and some mosses or algae in or near the water. In this case, sedimented tufa slowly forms a certain kind of a wall-like structure with the water-stream on top of it. The longest gutter in Germany is approximately 150 m long. The tallest known gutter reaches a height of 5.4 m. The natural protection state of a “Steinerne Rinnen” can be different. Sometimes they are protected as a natural monument or registered by a so called geotope. Others are simply part of a larger protected area.
Wiki Loves Earth has an opportunity to become the web event of the year in Morocco. You can vote for it to support the project!
As a part of the 9th edition of Morocco Web Awards, our photography contest has been selected in the digital event category.
The votes of Internet users will continue until February 22, then the top 5 in each category will be individually rated by a jury will elect the winner later.
Vote for the Wiki Loves Earth, it is a message of recognition of the work of thousands of volunteers on Wikipedia and its sister projects!
And do not forget to spread these news around you 🙂
HOW TO VOTE:
1. Go to the following link: http://mwa.ma/1KKjIF2
2. Log in with a social network (Facebook or Twitter)
3. Click the vote button, a confirmation message will appear after.
Morocco Web Awards are an annual competition that rewards, thanks to online votes and jury, the best Moroccan web, and are considered the biggest competition on the web taking part in the organized of MENA (Middle East and North Africa). Its primary objective is to support content creators and to promote the opportunities offered by the Moroccan digital market while celebrating, inspiring and cultivating the spirit of innovation and creativity.
Wiki Loves Earth, a competition where participants take photographs of protected natural areas and upload their photos to Wikimedia Commons, was held internationally for the second time in 2015 with 26 countries. The contest is over, and we are now able to present the international winners.
The goal of Wiki Loves Earth is two-fold. First, we aim to photograph as many natural monuments and protected areas as possible and release the imagery under a free license. Second, we contribute to environmental protection by raising public awareness.
The idea of Wiki Loves Earth began in Ukraine in 2013. In 2014, Wiki Loves Earth was joined by 15 other countries from four different continents—Europe, Asia, Africa and America.
During 2015, over 100,000 pictures were submitted by the participants.
Wiki Loves Earth was organised through numerous national contests, coordinated by local volunteers. The national juries then submitted up to 10 pictures to the international stage of the contest. With 26 participating countries, the international jury had to consider a total of 259 candidate pictures. The jury selected and ranked the photos in several stages by means of a dedicated web tool.
The international jury was composed of 9 photographers from different countries, all experienced in nature photography: Dmytro Balkhovitin (Ukraine), Matthew Buck (Great Britain), Dietmar Bartz (Germany), Walaa Abdel Manaem (Egypt), Alex Wang (USA), Katerina Zareva-Simeonova (Bulgaria), Zeynel Cebeci (Turkey), Susanne Plank (Austria) and Yathin Krishnappa (India).
After careful evaluation jury members have selected the following images, in addition to the winning image above.
The full report of the international jury, explaining the work of the jury, selection process and presenting the results together with comments of the jury, is available here.
Congratulations to the winners and thank you for everyone who worked on organisation of the contest this year!
WLE International team
All photographs in this post are published by their authors under CC BY-SA. Click the photos for details.