Human rights and Environment. Wiki Loves Earth photo contest is announcing winners of the special nomination!

Since 2014, dozens of countries around the world have organized annual photo contests devoted to their natural heritage within the international Wiki Loves Earth contest. In 2013 we held WLE in Ukraine for the first time, and in 2014 it went international. Overall, WLE collected 767k free photos of protected areas, with around 180k being used in the wikiprojects.

In 2021, we introduced the Human rights and Environment special nomination supporting the initiative Wiki4HumanRights which partners with the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Its goal is to raise awareness of nature protection and human impacts on nature.

This contest edition united 34 countries and territories with 9 of them joining Wiki4HumanRights and receiving submissions for the new nomination. Last week our jurors had a final round evaluating the pictures, and we are delighted to present the top-5 of the Human rights and Environment special nomination on Earth Day!

1st place: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3 by Mario Barroso, CC BY-SA 4.0

These pictures taken in the Emas National Park make a powerful triptych referring to the immense challenges Brazil is facing regarding the conservation of its natural ecosystems. The country has experienced unprecedented wildfires in the last decade. The Emas National Park is a part of the Pantanal Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the states of Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil. It covers 1,320 square kilometers of cerrado savannah. Wildfire is a natural factor shaping tropical savannahs and has been present in the cerrado for thousands of years. 

2nd place: photo by Robson de Oliveira, CC BY-SA 4.0

Another picture from Brazil depicts a wildfire in Serra do Gandarela National Park. It is situated within the Espinhaço Range and holds the largest intact remnant of Atlantic Forest in Minas Gerais. This is a transition region between the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes which contributes to species diversity.

3rd place: photo by Olegandros, CC BY-SA 4.0

“On November 22, beavers built a house under the walls of the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy in protest of the threat of deforestation in Polissia region, Ukraine. Beavers are convinced that cutting down forests in order to burn them at thermal power plants is an unacceptable blow to the nature of Polissya and the climate on the planet”, — tells the author of the picture about the “Don’t burn our houses!” action to protect the forests of Polissia, in particular Polissia Nature Reserve.

4th place: photo by Paneos77, CC BY-SA 4.0

The author caught a mysterious view of Thousand trees location in Doirani Lake, Greece. Monica Iyer, one of the jurors, comments: “The image alone conveys a powerful representation of human interaction with nature, and of the threats posed by rising waters. The lake was in danger of drying out and now is flood-prone because of human manipulation of the water supply”.

5th place: photo by Miguel G. C. Domingos, CC BY-SA 4.0

The photo shows us a stunning view at sunset from the top of Serra de Montejunto, a protected landscape in the Montejunto-Estrela mountain range, Portugal. We can see some wind farms on neighboring small hills, and Serra da Arrábida in the distance. This mountain range, Serra da Arrábida, is a part of Arrábida Natural Park which comes into contact with the ocean

The 10th edition of the Wiki Loves Earth contest is starting in one week, and we are happy to say that we will keep the Human rights and Environment special nomination this year! 

We are grateful to our amazing jurors:

  • Benjamin Schachter. Human Rights Officer and the focal point for climate change and the environment at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
  • Lukas Mezger. Attorney and climate activist from Germany. As a longtime Wikipedian, he currently serves as the chair of the Wikimedia Deutschland supervisory board.
  • Monica Iyer. Human rights attorney, advocate, and researcher with a particular interest and expertise in human rights and the environment.
  • Oleksiy Vasyliuk. Chairman of the Board of Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group. Since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, he has been working to help the occupied national parks and rescue the environmentalists from the war zone. In peacetime, he is involved in various initiatives to help protected areas and designs new national parks.

Join Wiki Loves Earth 2022!

Nine years of having the photo contest all around the world, almost 800,000 free photos of natural heritage sites, with around 180,000 being used in the wikiprojects — we are committed to continue and make these numbers and impact even bigger this year!

The 10th edition of the Wiki Loves Earth photo contest is just around the corner! In about a month we will start gathering incredible photos of nature monuments from all over the world.

For the first time Wiki Loves Earth was held in Ukraine in 2013, and in 2014 it went international. Now it is the second biggest Wikimedia photo contest which is aimed at raising public awareness about protected areas and expanding the database of free photos of natural heritage sites.

How does it work? Wiki Loves Earth is organized through local contests coordinated by volunteers. Last year we had 34 countries and territories participating and organizing local contests, and we hope to have even more of them in Wiki Loves Earth 2022! The list of participating countries will be constantly updated, you can check it and find more information on the Wikimedia Commons page. Local organizers select their winners on the local level and submit up to 15 winners to the international jury. All participants have a chance to win both international and local prizes. 

Do you want to take part in Wiki Loves Earth 2022?

Please check Rules for your submission and upload them to Wikimedia Commons under a free license that enables their free worldwide use. 

Do you want to organize Wiki Loves Earth 2022 in your country?

Check out our detailed guidelines about the process. Feel free to contact us at, and we will support you on every step of organizing your local Wiki Loves Earth 2022.

More news and updates are coming, follow us on social media:

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write to us at

P.S. This year is especially turbulent for our core organizing team, as its members are mostly from Ukraine, which is currently battling a full-scale military invasion by Russia. There was a delay in distributing international prizes, and we have not yet announced the winners in the 2021 special nomination “Human rights and environment”, but it is in the works. Please bear with us.

Meet Wiki Loves Earth 2021 international winners

Wiki Loves Earth, the largest international photo contest devoted to nature heritage, is ready to reveal its winners meet 15 best photos of protected sites and their representatives!

Since 2014, dozens of countries around the world have organized annual photo contests devoted to their natural heritage within the international Wiki Loves Earth contest. In 2021, we held the contest for the 8th year in a row. It lasted between May 1 — August 31, with different countries having different submission windows. 

This contest edition united 34 countries and territories. Among those, United Arab Emirates and Wales joined the competition for the first time; many countries that started WLE last year continued organizing the contest in 2021.

As a result, Wikimedia Commons received over 64,000 freely licensed photos of natural monuments from over 4300 people. Local organizing teams ran evaluation of photos from their countries and eventually submitted up to 15 local winners from each country. The international jury team had a challenging task — to select up to 20 international winners out of 390 winning photos on the local level. 

This year, the international winners represent two categories — landscapes (including individual trees if it’s a nature monument) and macro/close-up (animals, plants, fungi). Now, let’s meet top photos by category!


1st place: photo by Luis Afonso, CC BY-SA 4.0

The first place of the landscape category gives us a glimpse into the amazing Atlantic oceanside in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Portugal. It’s one of 13 natural parks in Portugal and covers a big area of approximately 145 km2. The park includes the Serra de Sintra Mountain Range but extends all the way to the coast and Cabo da Roca, continental Europe’s westernmost point.

2nd place: photo by Dario.brollo, CC BY-SA 4.0

“The landscape and the trees of the southern agricultural park, still shrouded in the morning mist shortly after sunrise, seem to almost emerge from the waters”, — says the author. The second place features a landscape in the Parco Agricolo Sud Milano near Rosate, Italy.

3rd place: photo by Nojos88, CC BY-SA 4.0

Just look at this fascinating view on the lake Stymphalia in Greece. The author took it during a morning ride with an authentic boat from the old times. Lake Stymphalia is an important habitat for a significant number of species of concern, including eagles and other raptors, egrets, herons, bitterns, ibises, partridges and terns, as well as a stopping point for migratory birds.

4th place: photo by Engin Tavlı, CC BY-SA 4.0

The author caught a mysterious view on Zilkale, which is a medieval castle located in the Fırtına Valley “Storm Valley”) within the Pontic Mountains, and is one of the most important historical structures in the Çamlıhemşin district of Rize Province, Turkey. It is also located in the protected area Kaçkar Dağları Millî Parkı.

5th place: photo by Adyagustian, CC BY-SA 4.0

Mount Merapi is located on the border of Central Java and the Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It has an altitude of 2,930 meters above sea level; Mount Merapi has been erupting for over a year now. Incandescent lava discharge can be as frequent as dozens of times a day! The farthest sliding distance of incandescent lava reaches 2,200 meters.

Within Wiki Loves Earth, we also highlight representatives of protected sites, their flora and fauna. Meet the winners of the second category — macro/close-up photography!

1st place: photo by Мария Обидина, CC BY-SA 4.0

The first place features Arianta arbustorum on the Taraxacum flower: macro shot taken in the Ropsha Forest, Leningrad Oblast, Russia. Anja Strelec, one of the international jury members, mentioned that it’s “one of the favourite photos, so clear colors and the motif, and the details”.

2nd place: photo by Domzjuniorwildlife, CC BY-SA 4.0

This colorful picture gives us amazing details of the Brown-throated sunbird in Mapawa Nature Park in the Philippines. The author says: “Brown-throated sunbirds are commonly seen upland feeding with nectar. Males have these wonderful colors which really catch your eye, especially in its colorful habitat surrounded by flowers”. 

3rd place: photo by RafaelMenegucci, CC BY-SA 4.0 

This Dipsas albifrons representative was caught in Serra do Mar State Park, Brazil. Dipsas species are slender, small to medium-sized snakes, often no longer than 60 cm. They are found from southern Mexico through Central America and South America.

4th place: photo by Andrea Fabiani Ph, CC BY-SA 4.0

This photo is a wonderful representation of Carrhotus xanthogramma species. It was taken in the Acquerino Cantagallo Natural Reserve in the province of Prato, Italy. These thermophilic spiders prefer sunny, warm environments and can mainly be encountered on bushes, on tree trunks and shrubbery.

5th place: photo by Mildeep, CC BY-SA 4.0

A Leaf beetle (Aulacophora indica) peeking from the leaf hole of Alnus nepalensis tree was found in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. The author explains that adult leaf beetles make holes on host plant leaves while feeding. They camouflage themselves with their feeding holes. 

6th place: photo by Byrdyak, CC BY-SA 4.0

The next winning photo depicts three female deer (Cervus nippon) in the Kremenets Mountains National Nature Park, Western Ukraine. The sika deer, also known as the spotted deer or the Japanese deer, is a species of deer native to much of East Asia and introduced to other parts of the world. 

7th place: photo by Mildeep, CC BY-SA 4.0

One more photo in our top from Chitwan National Park, Nepal: its representatives Baya Weavers (Ploceus philippinus) are best known for their elaborately woven nests. These pendulous nests are retort shaped, with a central nesting chamber and a long vertical tube that leads to a side entrance to the chamber. The nests are woven with long strips of paddy leaves, rough grasses and long strips torn from palm fronds. 

8th place: photo by Mildeep, CC BY-SA 4.0

The author is beating records by having three photos in our top of macro/close-up photography! A Feral Pigeon in flight during a rainy day was caught in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the foot of the Himalayas, Chitwan is one of the few remaining undisturbed vestiges of the ‘Terai’ region, which formerly extended over the foothills of India and Nepal. It has a particularly rich flora and fauna.

9th place: photo by Stephan Sprinz, CC BY-SA 4.0

We can see amazing colors and details in this photo of a frog Rana temporaria in nature park Pfälzerwald (Palatinate Forest Nature Park), Germany. It lies in the south of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany and borders on France. The nature park covers an area of 177,100 hectares and includes the former landscape conservation area of the German Wine Route, which runs from the eastern edge of the nature park to the Rhine plain.

10th place: photo by Srivath, CC BY-SA 4.0

The United Arab Emirates took part in WLE for the first time, and its photo got to the winners list, great result! Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus was caught in flight in Ras Al Kohr wildlife sanctuary, attracting migratory birds in large numbers. Located in Dubai, it is among the few urban protected areas of the world.

We congratulate all the winners for their great work and contribution to highlighting nature heritage and illustrating Wikipedia, as well as local teams for their hard work to make this contest happen. Stay tuned for more in 2022!

Note: in addition, WLE 2021 had a special nomination “Human rights and environment”, results of which will be announced separately. A more detailed jury report on the international winners will be published in early 2022 (UPD: the report is added in comments to this blog post).

Do you have any questions about Wiki Loves Earth? Maybe you want to organize WLE in your country next year?

Contact us at and we will tell you everything you want to know!

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Take a virtual world tour with Wiki Loves Earth 2021 local winners

The 9th edition of Wiki Loves Earth photo contest finished in September, and we have received amazing winning photos from 34 countries and territories. While the organizing team is working to determine international winners, here is an overview of our local winners (we highlight one of the winners per country, they don’t necessarily represent the 1st place, but are taken from the overall top photos on the local level).  Enjoy a virtual trip to some of natural monuments all around the world:

Source, by Vahag851

Lake Gosh is situated in the Dilijan National Park – one of the four national parks of Armenia. It has rich biodiversity, medicinal mineral water springs, as well as natural and cultural monuments.

Source, by Bob Smart

This year we had a division of local winners into 2 categories: landscapes and macro/close-up photography. Look at such a great close-up of the Ring-tailed Dragon lizard blending into a red rock at Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park, Northern Territory, Australia.

Source, by Isiwal

Traunstein is the highest mountain on the east bank of Traunsee in the district of Gmunden, Austria. This year, Austrian WLE was integrated into the annual Austrian WikiDaheim photo contest.

Source, by RACHID078

Gudyalchay river in Guba District represents the nature of Azerbaijan. The river starts at the northern slope of Tufan Dagh in Greater Caucasus, at 3,000 meters above sea level and ends its stream by flowing into the Caspian sea.

Source, by MashkoVladis

Mysterious photo – winner of the landscape category in WLE 2021 in Belarus represents Lake Chortava in Aziory Zakaznik having a territory of 218,52 km² with a range of lakes.

Source, by Farid AMADOU BAHLEMAN

One of the local winners in WLE Benin shows us an amazing Senegal chameleon which is a species of reptile native to West Africa. It is found in Cameroon, Senegal, Benin, Mali, Nigeria in the humid savannah.

Source, by João D’Andretta

Drone photos can show us protected sites in full scale – look at this one capturing Toque-Toque Grande Beach in the State-level North Coast Marine Environmental Protection Area, located in São Sebastião, Brazil.

Source, by Blaizo 237

The Lobé Falls are located 300 kilometers southwest of Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. Their uniqueness lies in this vast set of streams flowing in a series of waterfalls over a distance of 1 kilometer. For the Batanga, Maabi and Pygmy people who live nearby, the Lobé Falls represent a place of belief and are generally associated with various worship and cultural rituals related to the water of the river and the sea.

Source, by MarijaDakov

National park Krka in Croatia is named after the river Krka that it encloses. It is located along the middle-lower course of the Krka River in central Dalmatia, in Šibenik-Knin county. The Krka Waterfalls area has the second highest density of lavender in Europe, hence the high frequency of wasps and bees in the area.

Source, by Ermell

WLE in Germany chose as one of the winners this spectacular aerial view of nature reserve at Wallersberg in Weismain, Lichtenfels. It has wonderful colors, doesn’t it?

Source, by Gianluca Floris

WLE is focusing not only on capturing landscapes, but also flora and fauna of protected sites. Look at this winning photo of WLE in Ghana featuring a local elephant at Mole National Park.

Source, by Argiriskaramouzas

Did you know that except for sunny beaches Greece also has snowy landscapes? This winning photo is proof depicting Oros Tymfi mountain. The area lies north of the town of Ioannina, in the region of Zagori which was established as a National Park in 1973. The core zone comprises the Vikos gorge which is about 10 km long and has vertical rocky cliffs many hundreds of meters high.

Source, by Aboubacarkhoraa

The Guinean WLE winner shows us a Chimpanzee of Bossou; this species is well known for using a stone hammer and anvil to crack open the nuts of the oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis). Their genetic diversity and survival are now critically threatened.

Source, by Adyagustian

A unique moment of volcano eruption became a winner of WLE in Indonesia. It was taken near Mount Merapi that is located on the border of Central Java and Yogyakarta has an altitude of 2,930 meters above sea level. From the end of 2020 until now, Mount Merapi is erupting. The frequency of incandescent lava discharge can reach dozens of times a day. The farthest sliding distance from incandescent lava reaches 2,200 meters.

Source, by Dieglop

The Cliffs of Moher are sea cliffs located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They run for about 14 kilometres and rank among the most visited tourist sites in Ireland, with around 1.5 million visits per annum.

Source, by Alf.picerno

One of the winners of WLE in Italy shows us a wonderful sunset at the Tre Cime Natural Park in the Autonomous province of Bolzano, Italy. The peaks are composed of well-layered dolomites of the Dolomia Principale (Hauptdolomit) formation.

Source, by Waraho Mwangi

Kenya is surprising us the second year in a row with amazing photos of representatives of its fauna. This winning photo depicts two giraffes taken in Rombo, Kenya.

Source, by SerKo Photography

Văratic Gorge, a natural monument located in Rîșcani district, east of Văratic village, Moldova was formed over several hundred thousand years ago. There is a massive reef of Badenian age and skeletons of corals, foraminifera, mollusks, algae-lithotams and other aquatic organisms.

Source, by Houssain tork

Ras El Ma is a cape in Morocco situated nearby Tarourt Lalla Soueka. Morocco is a country unique in the variety of its natural resources – it has both mountain ranges and sandy beaches.

Source, by Mildeep

Baya Weavers (Ploceus philippinus’) are best known for their elaborately woven nests. These pendulous nests are retort shaped, with a central nesting chamber and a long vertical tube that leads to a side entrance to the chamber. The nests are woven with long strips of paddy leaves, rough grasses and long strips torn from palm fronds you can see in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.

Source, by Ranieljosecastaneda

Sabtang Island is one of the three main inhabited islands of Batanes, the northernmost province in the Philippines. With its well-preserved culture, beautiful natural landscapes, and friendly people, this remote island is such a refreshing escape.

Source, by Serge Fenenko

One of the winners of WLE in Portugal shows us an amazing reflection of the ocean view depicting also a fisherman that fits well in the landscape. It’s located in National Park Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina in Portugal.

Source, by Ted.ns

One more volcano in our blog post – now in Russia! It depicts a south cone of the 1975-76 Tolbachik eruption in Kamchatka Krai.

Source, by Ngabojules

Karongi kibuy in Rwanda is in the list of top places to visit and explore in the country. Other local winners in Rwanda depict representatives of fauna, check them out.

Source, by Beni Marull

Cap de Barbaria protected site in Spain was depicted by a WLE local winner. If you look attentively, you can see a lighthouse on Formentera Island.

Source, by Sw3dPix

It is rare that Goldfinch appears at the bird tables, but in Sweden during migration it can happen. Here he was attracted by sunflower seeds in Haväng and Vitemölla beach slopes.

Source, by 王洸柏(

Xiaoyoukeng is located in Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan. This is the first time in life the author saw snow on this mountain. When the mist on the top of the mountain drifted away, he found that the top of the mountain was covered with snow, which is an unusual sight in Yangmingshan National Park.

Source, by Daniel Msirikale

Our international winner of WLE 2021 Daniel is in the game again: now he got on the list of local winners of WLE in Tanzania. The photo depicts flamingoes in the Serengeti National Park that is world-famous for the Great Migration when over two million animals pass through its plains.

Source, by ender gürel

WLE 2021 in Turkey winner shows us the Seven Lakes plateau. It is located at an altitude of 3000 meters in Aladaglar National Park. Interestingly, Büyükgöl depicted on the photo is a glacial lake.

Source, by El Golli Mohamed

One more amazing close-up is a winner of WLE in Tunisia. It’s the Little Owl (Athene noctua)  near the IBA (Important Bird Area) Aqueduct of Zaghouan, Tunisia.

Source, by SharonDawn

The Ugandan winner depicts a wonderful view on local birds – the western plantain-eaters (Crinifer piscator), also known as the grey plantain-eater or western grey plantain-eater.

Source, by Florian Kriechbaumer

UAE is joining WLE again this year and brings us great winners. This photo depicts the mountains of Wadi Shawka the author managed to catch at sunrise time.

Source, by Seencleyr

Lake Arshytsya in the Carpathian mountains, Western Ukraine, was taken from the sky and participates in a local special nomination “Best aerophoto”. Arshytsya Nature Reserve was created to preserve mountain oldest forests on the verge of transition from mixed to pure spruce forests (250-300 years old) and further to mountain pine thickets (230 years old).

Source, by John Badham

Wales has joined WLE for the first time and brought amazing results. “Just after the easing of lockdown we ventured to ogwen Valley to catch the milky way arch”, – the author of the winning photos says. It was taken in Snowdonia National Park.

Stay tuned to find out who the international winners are! The results will be announced in the end of November – beginning of December.

Do you have any questions about Wiki Loves Earth? Maybe you want to organize WLE in your country next year? Contact us at and we will tell you everything you want to know!

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Wiki Loves Earth 2021 starts!

The 9th edition of Wiki Loves Earth photo contest starts to gather photos of protected sites all around the world! Join us to draw attention to protected areas and help to illustrate wikiprojects, find out in our blog post how.

Wiki Loves Earth — the biggest international photo contest devoted to nature heritage — has started in 2013 in Ukraine and continues to collect pictures of protected sites from all the continents. The aims are creating the biggest database of free images of protected sites and raising public awareness about unique natural areas around our unique planet.

In 2021, we have 27 countries/regions participating and the list is extending! 

This year, WLE has two categories of winning photos — landscapes and macro/close-up, which would help to find a balance between these types of pictures in our winning list. 

Also, in 2021 we support the initiative Wiki4HumanRights that partners with WMF and UNHR. WLE international will have a special global nomination “Human rights and environment” that would bring an additional impact we can create within the competition together. Follow our news, more details about it are coming soon!

How to join WLE 2021?

If you’re a passionate nature photographer, professional or amateur, beginner or pro, take part in the contest to highlight your works and make an impact! Follow the next steps:

  1. Please, check a specific period of the contest in your region/country.
  2. Review our Rules.
  3. Prepare your submissions and upload them to Wikimedia Commons. 

You can upload photos taken recently or specifically for the contest. Please follow the restrictions exposed in your country (our COVID-19 response). Or go through your archives to submit your older photos taken in your region/country or captured some protected area while travelling. Good luck!



How to organize WLE 2021?

If you want to start your own local contest, we’ll help you out! Found your country in the participating countries list? We’ll connect you with its organizing team, so you can merge your efforts. Didn’t find your country? We’ll provide you with guidance on how to organize your competition.

Check out our detailed guidelines about the process and contact us at


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Local laboratories for future life

By the Swedish Wiki Loves Earth team in cooperation with the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO

How can we work together to find solutions to global problems? The answer to the question lies in a combination of local involvement, and strong connections to research. Anna-Karin Johansson, the Secretary-General of the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO, explains how the UNESCO biosphere reserves work as model areas for sustainable development, and highlights Wiki Loves Earth as an example of strong local involvement in the biosphere reserves in Sweden.

Source, 1st winning photo of WLE 2020 in Sweden depicting Röttle Waterfall in Östra Vätterbranterna biosphere reserve, Jönköping municipality

We are facing large global challenges – social, economic and ecological. International cooperation is of prime importance if we want to fulfill the goals in the UN Strategy for Sustainable Development, Agenda 2030. But this cooperation needs to be built upon local involvement. Solutions will be found and spread at the local level.

That is the idea behind the biosphere reserves, a concept developed by the UN Agency UNESCO. UNESCO has listed more than 700 biosphere reserves across the world. By protecting biodiversity, searching for knowledge through research, and establishing a sustainable relationship between humans and environment, the biosphere reserves work as laboratories for future life.

Source, winner of a special award of WLE 2020 in Sweden for the best photo from a biosphere reserve, taken in Kristianstads Vattenrike biosphere reserve

Seven of these biosphere reserves are located in Sweden, and together, they cover 7% of the area of the country. In these biosphere reserves, people are working on a daily basis with pilot projects for a more sustainable way of living. In the biosphere reserve East Vättern Scarp Landscape, where the winning photo of this year’s Swedish edition of Wiki Loves Earth is taken, a project was recently carried out where newly arrived immigrants were taught how to keep beehives; and in the biosphere reserve Lake Vänern Archipelago, the world’s largest suncell driven hydrogen refuelling station has been built. Other examples include the biosphere reserve Blekinge Archipelago, which through the Ark65 project has contributed to sustainable tourism and a living countryside, and the northernmost biosphere reserve Vindelälven-Juhtathdahka which has formed new possibilities for dialogue between the Sami people and Swedes, and equally between city and countryside. These biosphere reserves work in the long term to become role models and inspire others.

Cooperation does not only take place within each individual biosphere reserve, but also between them. In the project Biosphere for Baltic, 9 biosphere reserves from 7 countries in the Baltic region are working to exchange experiences, among other things about the ecosystem of the sea and our knowledge about it.

Source, 5th winning photo of WLE 2020 in Sweden illustrating a common swan descending into the water in Kristianstad vattenrike, biosphere reserve in Skåne

The photo contest has shown the large involvement in Sweden of the 7 biosphere reserves. The Swedish National Commission for UNESCO is very proud to have been in the jury for this year’s competition. Among contributions in the competition, more than 130 photos were taken in a biosphere reserve. That’s a clear indication of the pride Swedes take in our biosphere reserves! 

Anna-Karin JohanssonSecretary-General of the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO

Find the full list of finalists of WLE in Sweden
Check out local winners of other countries

Meet the winners of the first WLE in Turkey

By the Turkish Wiki Loves Earth team

Team of the first WLE in Turkey was expecting not more than 500 photos uploaded during the contest. At the end of the submission period, the jury had a task to select winners among over 3600 beautiful photos from all over Turkey!


“When the herd of horses runs, you feel the Earth shaking”, Ömerali Şenakaylı. His photo of the Mount Erciyes and horses running through wetland won the third prize of the first WLE in Turkey. 

Let’s find out the story behind this photo!

This photo was taken in the area between Mount Erciyes, the highest mountain of Central Anatolia, and the world-known historical Cappadocia region. It captures Mount Erciyes, a small Hörmetçi village on the foothills of the mountain and semi-wild horses running through a wetland. Ömerali went there with two other photographers in February 2019 and met Ali who raises semi-wild horses (they are used by farmers during summer and left to nature during winter).  When the author took this photo, he felt like there was an earthquake: “When the herd of horses run, you feel the Earth shaking. We were all in mud up to our knees and mesmerized by the sunset”.

This photo is being used in some Wikipedia articles now. The photographer always reads Wikipedia and signed up during the pandemic period. Taking part in WLE became his first contribution, and now he is willing to share more of his photos to promote the beauty of Turkey. (In this sense, Ömerali’s story is common. Wiki Loves Earth is a powerful tool for attracting new users to Wikimedia projects; in some countries, up to 90-95% participants are newbies who registered after the competition start).

Şenakaylı emphasizes it was clear that WLE is not only about sharing good photos, but about increasing awareness on the protection of nature heritage sites, and this was very important to him. He believes that the Wikipedia community, which creates such a popular and big knowledge source, is also effective in promoting protected areas. But as a nature lover who does camping frequently, he has concerns about problems that might arise with raising popularity of these areas.


“This contest shows us how precious our planet is”, – Murat Özçelik, the first prize winner of WLE in Turkey. His photo captures a bird paradise Eber Lake located in the Central Anatolian region. 

The photographer says it’s one of the most precious natural treasures of the place he lives in: “Eber Lake is a valuable wetland for our country with its reeds, fishermen and diversity of birds. We must do our best to keep our lake alive”. Murat founded a photography association in the region back in January 2014. Since then, he organized many photo trips to the lake with fellow members to capture its beauty at different seasons and make the lake known better. Thanks to such efforts, Eber Lake became a popular destination for photographers and nature-lovers in recent years. The winning photo was shot in 2017 with a drone.  Murat says that technological innovations, which allow transition from analogue to digital photography, give him the opportunity to capture views he dreamed of and this photo is a good example. The drone allowed him to capture the lake, Mount Emir, the fisherman on his way home and the sky reflected in still water at the same frame. 

Murat is a Wikipedia reader and sees it as one of the most valuable and reliable sources. He was not a contributor before the contest, but now many language editions of Wikipedia illustrate the Eber Lake with this lovely photo. 

The photographer shared his thoughts and feelings about WLE: “Wiki Loves Earth doesn’t only make protected areas more visible, but also shows us how precious our planet is. After seeing photos uploaded during the contest people might recognize and appreciate the natural beauty nearby and say “how I was not aware of such beauty before”. I hope the interest in the contest will continue to grow over the years, and the number of such activities will increase to raise awareness and love to nature as well as promoting and protecting it”.

Find the full list of finalists of WLE in Turkey

Check out local winners of other countries

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Wiki Loves Earth is running around the world!

July is the last month of the Wiki Loves Earth photo contest this year. Let’s take a virtual trip around countries that have ongoing competitions!  

May and June have brought more than 70k photos of nature monuments from 25 countries, but more is to come. These photos help to draw attention to protected areas, illustrate wiki projects and have a chance to win on a local and international level. We are already halfway through the last WLE month July. Take a look at local contests running all over the world:



Ireland organizes WLE for the first time, and we are excited about this contest and its results so far! This island has unique nature and a variety of national parks, nature reserves and geoparks.

Find more details about the Irish contest.



Spain participates in WLE for the 6th time! The Spanish team has created a really useful map of nature monuments where you can easily find an object and upload your submissions, take a look. 

Find more details about the Spanish contest.



Now we move up north: WLE in Canada is waiting for your photos of its natural parks, conservation and wildlife areas. Did you know that this country has a huge number of lakes? Just imagine, 561 of them have a surface area larger than 100 km2!

Find more details about the Canadian contest.



The largest country in South America has an extremely wide variety of nature monuments and species. This year, it’s already the 7th edition of WLE in Brazil, meaning that Brazil has been participating each time since the contest became international!

Do you want to know more? Check out the contest page.



Did you know that Wiki Loves Earth photo contest started in Ukraine in 2013? Then the contest became international in 2014. This country has the longest WLE history and has the 8th edition running right now!

Check out details about WLE 2020 in Ukraine.



This year WLE in Austria is a part of a contest WikiDaheim. It’s focused on Austrian villages and areas: their monuments, nature, infrastructure, cellar streets, public art. By taking pictures or writing articles participants help to document aspects of life in Austria.

Find more details about the Austrian WLE.



Kenya has already organized 6 editions of Wiki Loves Africa, and it’s their first WLE this year! 

Overall, Wiki Loves Earth 2020 was organized in 7 countries across African continent. What are challenges and opportunities of WLE in Africa? Find out in our blog post from last year.

More details about WLE in Kenya.



From mountain ranges to natural parks at the Atlantic ocean Portugal has incredibly diverse nature. Apart from the continental part of the country, we can also help to document unique protected areas, flora and fauna of Portuguese islands. Just take a look at this photo of the Corvo island, Azores!

Find more details about the contest in Portugal.



Belarus organizes Wiki Loves Earth for the first time this year and has great results so far. 

We are happy to welcome new members to the WLE family! Do you want to start a contest in your country next year? Check out our guide and email us at

More info about WLE in Belarus.



The second edition of WLE in Benin is gathering photos of its nature monuments! This country has large national parks — home for various mammals and predators.

Unfortunately, eco-systems of Benin have been subject to severe misuse by deforestation. WLE helps to document such problems and attract public attention to them.

Find more details about WLE in Benin.



Bolivian nature is breathtaking, unique, and needs to be shown to the world. Many articles about nature monuments in Bolivia are still lacking photos, and their first WLE is aimed to fix that.

Don’t forget that after uploading your submissions you can also help Wikipedia by adding your photos to relevant articles and lists!

Check out more information about WLE in Bolivia. 



Latvia joined WLE in 2017 and has joined every edition ever since. Last year this Latvian photo of sunrise in Ķemeri national park got to the list of winners of the international round. Let’s see which countries will get to our top-15 this year!

More details about WLE in Latvia.



Do you have any photos of animals/birds in a protected area? They are eligible for the contest, too! Take note that your photo will be more likely to win if it depicts a common representative for the particular area and includes coordinates.

This Bornean green magpie won the local contest in Malaysia last year. This country has bright flora and fauna that needs to be documented.

Check out the contest page of WLE in Malaysia.  



What do you know about Rwanda? This country is one of the smallest in Africa and has a rich wildlife. For example, Volcanoes National Park is home for the mountain gorilla population, which includes only about 1,000 individuals in the world.

Help to document nature of Rwanda! More information about the local WLE.



Tanzania joined WLE last year and is back again to the competition in 2020! African nature is often poorly documented on the Internet. Wiki Loves Earth in African countries helps to close the gap and illustrate Wikipedia articles about protected areas of this continent.

Upload your pictures of nature monuments in Tanzania!

Do you have any questions about Wiki Loves Earth? Maybe you want to organize WLE in your country next year?

Contact us at and we will tell you everything you want to know!

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The first month of WLE 2020 has passed!

The first month of Wiki Loves Earth contest the biggest international photo contest devoted to nature heritage has passed and brought amazing results for the wiki community.

Wiki Loves Earth photo contest runs from May 1 till July 31 this year. During these three months, we are gathering photos of protected sites that will help to draw attention to these areas and illustrate wiki projects. We are excited about the results of May so far, just look at these numbers:  

32 countries declared their participation in WLE this year (and we are looking forward to welcoming more organizers!);

37K photos have been uploaded (check them out by countries);

— and much more to come in June and July!

Let’s take a look at some photos uploaded during May:


This photo was uploaded during this year’s contest in Sweden. It features a full moon in Abisko National Park far up north. Will we get a photo taken even farther? That’s a challenge for you!


How about a picture taken at the highest point? This one was submitted as a part of WLE in Nepal and shows us a group of five lakes at the height of 4100 metres in Sindhupalchowk District. Can you find a WLE 2020 photo taken even higher? Or maybe you have one?


Don’t forget that photos of animals/birds are eligible for the contest, too! But make sure that your photo of them is taken in a protected area. This one is from Taiwan, described by its author as: “Seabirds around the sky seems like inviting us to visit their sweet home which is built on the basalt, the special landscape of Penghu”.

Join Wiki Loves Earth to draw attention to protected areas and help to illustrate wikiprojects!

Take part in the contest:

Please, check a specific period of the contest in your region/country. Review our Rules, prepare your submissions and upload them to Wikimedia Commons.

Haven’t found your region/country on the list? Are you passionate about organizing? Start your local contest:

Check out our detailed guidelines about the process and contact us at

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Digital tool that helps Wiki Loves Earth and the global community

By the Swedish Wiki Loves Earth Team

Wiki Loves Earth photo contest is on! One of the teams that have their local competitions in May is WLE in Sweden. This year they have implemented an innovative digital instrument for their lists of nature monuments an interactive map.

This user-friendly visualization of lists makes it easy and convenient to find an area and upload photos. It not only helps to reduce barriers in participating in WLE, but also can be improved/customized further and play an important role for the global community. We asked the team why and how they have developed this tool.

Map of objects, WLE in Sweden

— What is the idea behind this map, and what are its main features?

Wiki Loves Earth’s goal is to document and highlight the beauty of nature of our planet. But WLE also can be used strategically. Millions of people use Wikimedia projects daily, but very few of them decide to contribute. They may conceive of it as time-consuming, difficult or challenging. And Wiki Loves Earth helps to involve new contributors and drastically lower barriers for editing Wikipedia, which is also an important goal of this global contest.

Bearing this in mind, we spent some time considering how we can contribute to lower these barriers even further. What aspects make it hard for people to contribute today, even if they would like? How can we make it easy for anyone who sees the WLE banner on top of Wikipedia to upload their photos?

The problem we tackle is navigation around lists of objects. Participants have to go through many layers of lists on Wikipedia, using information from different platforms. They need to know how to navigate around pages on Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons and how to find out where objects are situated. Many Swedish municipalities are very large, so only saying that an object is based in a municipality doesn’t say much for someone who doesn’t know the area very well.

The way of solving the complexity of both lists and coordinates is to develop a map. Using shapefiles of all national parks, natural reserves, biosphere reserves and natural monuments from the Environmental Protection Agency of Sweden, we created a map of these objects. Its features are:

  • it helps to see all the objects;
  • objects have different colours: green already have photos and blue objects are lacking them;
  • it includes a direct link to the upload campaign, so people can upload a photo directly from the map.

It brings us closer to lowering the barriers for contributing photos.

Map of objects, WLE in Sweden

What was the development process of this map?

It has been developed using the Minimal Viable Product-design pattern in three iterations searching for features and our priorities.

From the technical side, we used a Java backend. Every few minutes it polls Wikidata for updated entities since the previous poll with an identity claim for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Natuvårdsverket ID, P3613). This allows to download all relevant entries from Wikidata and keep the local data store semi-synchronized with Wikidata as new images are uploaded. One more feature is when zooming out and having multiple points on the map (e.g. 100 specific trees in a confined space) we transform the result to a simplified view. It helps to avoid overloading the client with a large number of complex polygons. This step is crucial for mobile view.

The map is an OpenStreetMap layer on which we draw polygons and markers.

Map of objects, WLE in Sweden

— How can it be used in other wikiprojects?

We believe that geodata has great potential for the Wikimedia platforms, and this project is a way of experimenting with that. The map so far is tuned according to the needs of Wikimedia Sverige, and it is not possible to apply it on other WLE local contests. But there are potential ways of internationalizing it:

  • Using it by different communities according to their needs (data storage, etc.). We can provide documentation on what is needed, but it’s important to have someone experienced enough with coding.
  • Making it generic and configurable across language versions.
  • Rebuilding it adding strategies of each country to produce a single global map.

We aim to collect feedback and input on the map’s functionality during WLE. But also we need help from the international community:

  • Is there interest from the international community in this kind of maps?
  • What would the international community like to see in this kind of map in that case? What works and what doesn’t work?
  • If it works, and if the international community wants a map of similar sorts, where should it be hosted? Where should we provide documentation?

Do you have any answers for these questions and feedback on this map? Please, contact Karl Wettin at and help to make editing Wikipedia better with this digital tool!