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!

Wiki Loves Earth 2020 starts!

The 8th year in a row Wiki Loves Earth photo contest starts to collect photos of nature heritage sites all around the world. Join us to draw attention to protected areas and help to illustrate wikiprojects!

Started in 2013, Wiki Loves Earth has grown to the biggest worldwide contest devoted to nature heritage. From nature reserves of Brazil to national parks of Indonesia — we collected more than half a million photos of natural monuments. During May — July of 2020, we continue creating the biggest database of free images of protected sites. Moreover, the contest helps to raise public awareness about unique natural areas around our planet.

This year 24 countries have already joined Wiki Loves Earth! (and the list is extending) 
WLE 2020 Participating countries
WLE 2020 Participating countries, source.
Check out our first countries that have just started their contest today: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Taiwan. 
How to join:
Do you love photography? Are you interested in nature monuments? Take part in the contest!

Please, check a specific period of the contest in your region/country (the international timeframe is from May to July). Review our Rules, prepare your submissions and upload them to Wikimedia Commons. 
Go through your archives, maybe you have some jewels from your region/country or captured some protected area while travelling.

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. If you would like to organize a local contest in your region/country, contact us at

It’s a challenging time right now. Until the world gets healthier, we have a great opportunity to make a positive impact online. Join Wiki Loves Earth 2020!

Follow us on social media to stay updated:

Join Wiki Loves Earth 2020!

Seven years of photo contests all around the world, 585k free photos of natural heritage sites, with around 130k being used in the wikiprojects — and we are going make these numbers and impact even bigger starting Wiki Loves Earth 2020!

This global photo contest aims to draw attention to protected nature areas and expand the database of free photos of natural heritage sites! And all participants have a chance to win international and local prizes. 
Wiki Loves Earth is organized through local contests coordinated by volunteers. By now, 18 countries joined the participating countries list, and the list is constantly growing! You can check whether your country participates in Wiki Loves Earth 2020 and find more information about it on the Wikimedia Commons page.

Do you want to take part in Wiki Loves Earth 2020?

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 2020 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 your local Wiki Loves Earth 2020.
More news and updates are coming, follow us on social media:
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write to us at

Winners of Wiki Loves Earth 2019

File:Gebänderte Prachtlibelle auf Pusteblume am NSG Gülper See.jpgPhoto by Sven Damerow, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Warm rays of sunlight that pour through clouds on a snowy mountain. Kayak passing by an enormously still glacier. Two owls staring at you carefully and suspiciously.

These are just a few of the breathtaking photographs winners from the international Wiki Loves Earth competition, whose results were announced today.

The overall winner, seen above, shows a banded demoiselle hovering near a dandelion’s seedhead at Gülper See lake in Brandenburg, Germany. The selection committee praised it for its composition, sharpness, and colors; it “would look great in a book about insects,” one member said, while another called out the extraordinary detail visible on the damselfly’s wings.

Organized since 2013, this year’s rendition of Wiki Loves Earth inspired over 95,000 photo uploads from thirty-seven countries, including at least one from every continent in the world (except Antarctica). All of the entries were judged by juries organized on the national level. The winners from these were forwarded to an international jury of experts, which selected the images that you see above and below.

The contest’s second- through sixteenth-place images follow.

File:-تيناكاشاكير- الحضيرة الوطنية لطاسيلي الهقار - تامنراست - الجزائر.jpgSecond placePhoto by Aboubakrhadnine, CC BY-SA 4.0.

A group of people walking through Hoggar National Park, Assekrem, Tamanrasset, Algeria. The members of the contest’s international journey called out this photo’s “magnificent color,” adding that capturing “the line of people versus the line of rock” was “very powerful.” This location was also featured in the fourth-place winners in Wiki Loves Earth 2018.

File:Рододендронний світанок на Вухатому Камені.jpg

Third placePhoto by Mykhailo Remeniuk, CC BY-SA 4.0.

A hillside full of flowers in Ukraine’s Carpathian National Park. One jury member stated that this was a “classical” image, while another pointed out that the positioning of the flowers leads a viewer’s eyes straight into the mountains behind.

File:Crimea, Ai-Petri, low clouds.jpg

Fourth placePhoto by Dmytro Balkhovitin, CC BY-SA 4.0.

According to Wikipedia, the mountain Ai-Petri is “is one of the windiest places in Crimea.” On this day, though, the wind could not blow away a swath of low-lying clouds, which gave photographer Dmytro Balkhovitin the perfect opportunity to capture this dawn-lit image. The jury was effusive in their praise for this image, with one calling it “magical,” and another marveling at the difficulty involved in getting to this particular location.

File:Ha gorge.jpg

Fifth placePhoto by Andreas Loukakis, CC BY-SA 4.0.

This is the formidable exit from Ha Gorge, a fissure that reaches a depth of about a thousand meters, or over three thousand feet, making it one of the largest in the world. It’s located on Crete, an island off the south coast of Greece. 

File:Blue Water Cave.jpg

Sixth placePhoto by Glenn Palacio, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Pulangi River is the fifth-largest river in the Philippines (and drains into the second largest). Here, though, you can barely see its size in this dimly lit underground cavern, named “Blue Water Cave” for reasons that this photo makes crystal clear. 

File:Ratargul 0276.jpg

Seventh place. Photo by Abdul Momin (Abdulmominbd), CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Ratargul Swamp Forest is the only flooded forest in Bangladesh, and these boats are likely used to bring tourists in to view it.

File:Kayakistas en Glaciar Grey.jpg

Eighth placePhoto by Pablo A. Cumillaf, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Grey Glacier is located in southern Chile. In 1996, it could boast of being about 270 square kilometers in size (approximately 100 miles), but it has shrunk in the years since then, including one major split in 2017. One jury member praised how this photographer utilized the large “empty spaces.” 

File:Morning fog in Kemeri.jpg

Ninth place. Photo by Volodya Voronin (VolodyaVoronin), CC BY-SA 4.0.

Looking like something out of Star Wars, this foggy morning at Ķemeri National Park in Latvia helps showcase the area’s bogs and forests, as well as the man-made infrastructure that allows tourists to access it. One jury member commented that this photograph featured “a lovely mix of misty subdued colours with natural and man-made objects—making this a thought-provoking piece of art and not just a picture.”

File:Серпантин в Гоначхирском ущелье.jpg

Tenth place. Photo by Andrey Belavin (Ted.ns), CC BY-SA 4.0.

Two features dominate this drone-captured photo of Russia’s Teberda Nature Reserve: a furious river in the upper third, and the road’s switchbacks in the bottom two-thirds. One teasing comment from the jury suggested that this image could have benefited from a passing car—”perhaps a red Ferrari or a cattle truck on the first curve?”, they asked with an accompanying smile. 

File:Можжевеловая роща в Новом Свете мыс Капчик.jpg

Eleventh placePhoto by Vladimir Voychuk, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Ostensibly, the subject of this photo is the gnarled old juniper tree located in the Zakaznik Novyi Svit nature reserve in Crimea. What brings this photo over the top, however, was the inclusion of the Milky Way in the background, complete with a shooting star or satellite in the upper central portion. 

File:Mah ya waterfall intranon.jpg

Twelfth placePhoto by Janepop Atirattanachai (BerryJ), CC BY-SA 4.0.

Doi Inthanon National Park is named for Thailand’s largest mountain, and the scene captured here shows water flowing down that mountain. This is not this photographer’s first winning photos in a contest like this; Atirattanachai previously won first and ninth place in the 2017 Wiki Loves Monuments photo competition. This time around, the jury commended Atirattanachai for this “well thought out and executed piece of art.”


File:Дві сови на гілці.jpg

Thirteenth placePhoto by Volodymyr Burdiak (Byrdyak), CC BY-SA 4.0.

Surprise! Two long-eared owls are staring at the photographer who may have just disturbed them but managed to snap this spontaneous capture nonetheless. “Slightly comical,” said one jury member.

File:Female Toque macaque with her child at Katagamuwa Sanctuary - (Don't let them fade away).jpg

Fourteenth placePhoto by Senthi Aathavan Senthilverl, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The toque macaque baby seen here is very aware of the photograph and their camera. However, according to the photographer, this adorable scene has a dark side. “Nature always belongs to those who nurture, care and protect it,” Senthilverl said. “But the humans have forcefully claimed it theirs and are on a path of destruction: destroying jungles, waterways and evicting the rightful owners, the wild animals. The Toque macaque (Macaca sinica) loves to traverse on trees and to be as one with the nature. But this click depicts their current plight. It was heartbreaking to see the mother with her child foraging on the hard ground at Katagamuwa Sanctuary – Sri Lanka.”

File:In Val d'Orcia.jpg

Fifteenth-sixteenth place.  Photo by JP Vets, CC BY-SA 4.0.

This solitary straw bale was captured in Val d’Orcia, Tuscany, Italy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has been the frequent subject of art ranging from Renaissance paintings to the film Gladiator. The jury praised the image for its “great juxtaposition of textures, colours and hues”.


Fifteenth-sixteenth placePhoto by 陳李銜 (Wargash107), CC BY-SA 4.0.

These stalactite caves in Taiwan’s Shoushan National Park are beautifully backlit by the sun peeking in through the opening at the top. One jury member wrote that they particularly enjoyed that the sunlight fell upon the young plant growing in the center of the image.

If you want to find out more about the jury’s evaluation and commentary, please see this year’s jury report in low and high resolution.

This post uses text from the WMF blog; the original text is attributed under a a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license..

Results of the biggest local contest: Winners of Wiki Loves Earth 2019 in Germany

This year, Wiki Loves Earth in Germany became the largest local contest among 37 participating countries. Throughout the month of May, participants from Germany uploaded 26,695 photos of German nature heritage; that’s almost a third of all photos generated by Wiki Loves Earth this year.

In this post, we present a translation of a jury member’s article on the results of German Wiki Loves Earth 2019. Running such a large contest is no easy task, and the experience of the German team might be useful for those teams who would like to scale their photo contests; besides, top German photos are just stunning and worth taking look at.

Source:–_das_sind_die_Sieger; author of the original text — Nicola (CC BY-SA 3.0).

In the middle of July, the jury of Wiki Loves Earth in Germany met in Fulda, Hesse, to select the 100 best photos of the “Wiki loves Earth” photo contest. The jury consisted of six jury members and one technical assistant.

Throughout May 2019, the contestants had the opportunity to submit their photographs. Using the jury tool, 76 members of the community conducted a pre-check of 12,730 images by 30 June. After this pre-jury round, 710 pictures were left for final evaluation by the selected jury; these pictures have been rated at least 3.2 stars. These photos were then subjected to final checks to determine whether they met the eligibility criteria, had been placed in the correct categories or contained mistakes. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in this time-consuming preparatory work.

The winning picture “Gorge in the Hessigheimer Felsengärten” by Aristeas shows a gorge in the “Swabian Dolomites”. In the opinion of the jury, the mood, the motive and the quality of this photograph are convincingly harmonized. Congratulations! Other photographs are also of high quality and show the diversity of protected German nature from north to south, from stony to marshy and from up to down. 

The best 100 photos were submitted by 57 photographers, representing scenes from 13 German states. The special prize for the highest number of images in the Top 100 list goes to photographer Sven Damerow with his 13 photos. Congratulations! His numerous pictures of butterflies and dragonflies are of particular importance because of the extinction of insects. Most of his photos were of such good quality that it was quite difficult to make a final selection. 

Gorge in the Hessigheimer Felsengärten, a nature reserve near Hessigheim, Germany; winning photo of Wiki Loves Earth 2019 in Germany.
Author: Roman Eisele, free license CC BY-SA 4.0

Like every year, there was a great variety of themes: from wetlands and moorlands, as well as heaths and karst lakes in high alpine terrains to close-ups of animals and plants, everything was well represented. A total of 33 animal photos made it into the Top 100. In addition to the insects already mentioned, other species such as bee-eaters, grey seals and mountain newts were included in the Top 100 this year. Several plants were mostly associated with insects, apart from a photo of a mushroom that got into the Top 100.

Some pictures with very nice motifs, which the jury appreciated on the first look, had to be devalued on closer examination, for they had technical defects like sensor spots, chromatic aberrations or picture noise.

This year’s jury meeting proved to be extremely pleasant and cooperative. That was also due to the fact that there are now work schedules which have been based on years of experience and which make the work much easier. Even more important is the excellent voting software from Wiegels, which has been further developed over the years. The technical assistant GPSLeo handled it in an efficient and confident way.

As always, the Top 10 selection will be passed on to the international competition. The jury wishes the photographers all the success! 

Check out top 10 winning photos of Wiki Loves Earth in Germany.

Wiki Loves Earth 2019 is Over

June 30th marked the last day of Wiki Loves Earth 2019.

According to the preliminary statistics, this year’s contest has seen:

  • 37 countries participating in Wiki Loves Earth (the highest number since the contest was founded);
  • more than 85,000 photos uploaded to Wikimedia Commons;
  • over 8700 participants.

Thanks a lot to each participant, member of the organizing team, partner, and any person involved for making it happen!

The organizing teams will determine winners for each country’s contest throughout the summer. The international team will post local winners on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) as they are announced.

International winners will be announced in September.


Challenges and Opportunities of Wiki Loves Earth in Africa

With input from Mermoze Adodo, Joy Agyepong, Mohammed Bachounda, Georges Fodouop, and Olaniyan Olushola

This year, Wiki Loves Earth in Africa and particularly Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly diverse. More African countries participate in the contest in 2019 than ever before, with four countries having joined WLE for the first time. So far, African local contests have helped bring more than four thousands of new free photos of natural heritage to Wikimedia Commons. We looked at the representation of Africa in this year’s contest and asked volunteers who lead local WLE competitions in Africa to reflect on the challenges and opportunities for the contest in their country.

WLE in Africa: Who, Where, and When

First, let’s take a look at who is participating in Wiki Loves Earth from Africa this year. Overall, eight countries from Africa take part in the contest in 2019. Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda make up around 20% of all 37 countries participating this year.

Map of WLE 2019 participating countries (Dario Crespi, CC BY-SA 4.0)

As this list makes clear, the presence of Sub-Saharan Africa is especially visible this year. Seven out of eight African countries participating in WLE are from this region, including all four countries which joined for the first time (Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Tanzania, and Uganda).

As of June 17th, participants of these eight national competitions have uploaded almost 4,400 images. Given that the local contests in seven African countries will run until June 30th (the contest in Ghana has just ended), this number will, of course, rise significantly.

Wiki Loves Earth as an Opportunity to Show African Natural Beauty

The astonishing beauty of African nature is often underrepresented on the Internet and specifically on the Wikimedia projects, particularly in comparison with prominent natural heritage sites from Europe and North America. Thus, one of the key motivators for African Wikimedia communities to organize Wiki Loves Earth is to help show the beauty of Africa to the world.

For example, the Ghanaian team notes that “Ghana has a lot of natural heritage which hasn’t been well represented on Wikipedia. Regarded as the gateway to Africa, the country has scenic views of its forest reserves, waterfalls, mountains, wildlife sanctuaries, caves, rivers, rocks, and gardens in almost all of its regions. Hence the importance to participate in this competition as a medium to showcase the beauty of Ghana to the world”.

Tassili n’Ajjer National Park, Algeria. This photo won the 2018 edition of Wiki Loves Earth in Algeria (Chettouh Nabil, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Continue reading “Challenges and Opportunities of Wiki Loves Earth in Africa”

How to make Wiki Loves Earth photos visible on Wikipedia: Experience of Sweden and other countries

Wiki Loves Earth aims to create a comprehensive database of natural heritage photos. Yet, it is not enough to only upload photographs to Wikimedia Commons — we should try and make nature heritage visible to readers of Wikipedia. Only around one in four photos uploaded by Wiki Loves Earth participants are used in the articles of Wikipedia and other wiki-projects. In this article, we share how Wiki Loves Earth organizers in Sweden, Ukraine, Greece, and other countries encourage increasing the use of WLE photos on Wikipedia.

Sweden: “Mission of the Month”

Prepared by Eric Bagger, User:Deryni

Aurora borealis in Abisko National Park near Torneträsk lake (Pavel.shyshkouski, CC BY-A 4.0). This image won Wiki Loves Earth in Sweden in 2018 and participated in the Picture of the Year competition on Commons.

Since 2014, Swedish Wikipedia runs a project called “Mission of the Month”, or ”Månadens uppdrag” in Swedish. In this project, you can propose missions to improve Wikipedia. It may be something which needs improvement, but Wikipedia editors typically lack the knowledge or time to make happen — or maybe something you’ve started and want other writers to fill in. Examples of a typical project would be improving an article on robotic rover Opportunity or creating an article about English entomologist Henry Doubleday. Since late 2014, more than 6500 missions have been completed within this project.

Most of the missions concern making new articles or improving existing articles in Swedish Wikipedia. But there have also been missions creating new templates and working for projects in other Wikis. To vote in Picture of the Year might be also an important mission. Notably, this project has been used to help Wiki Loves Earth in Sweden. Within “Mission of the Month”, several writers engaged in missions concerning unidentified pictures for Wiki Loves Earth last year, identifying about one hundred pictures. Volunteers have also helped put photos of natural heritage to Swedish Wikipedia, thus increasing their use.

If you try out the project in your own language version, you will discover how much fun you can have together with your fellow writers, while also helping Wikipedia and Wiki Loves Earth.

Other ways to ways to illustrate Wikipedia

Thematic marathons. Swedish “Mission of the Months” covers numerous small tasks, such as creating or expanding an article. By comparison, some Wikipedia language editions run online marathons devoted entirely to one topic or type of tasks — and illustrating Wikipedia with WLE photos can be one of them.

For example, Ukrainian Wikipedia runs the “Month of Illustrating Wikipedia” right now. It is devoted to Wiki Loves Earth, Wiki Loves Monuments and Scientific Photo Contest. So far, 13 people are working on increasing photo contests’ visibility on Wikipedia, and the event is still running.

Wiki Loves Earth organizers in Greece have a similar experience. They created lists of photographed areas and promoted them to run a small edit marathon on Wikipedia with prizes for most active participants.

Sydoriv Castle, Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine (Moahim, CC BY-SA 4.0). It’s one of the quality photos which found its way to Wikipedia articles as a result of the Month of Illustrating Wikipedia in Ukrainian Wikipedia

Edit-a-thons. Perhaps the most popular — and not the most difficult way — to illustrate Wikipedia is to run an edit-a-thon. This is the way used by a lot of countries, from Cameroon and Italy to the Philippines, Albania, and Tunisia. Create a list of unused Wiki Loves Earth photographs, invite contest participants and active Wikipedians, and organize an offline event for them to work on illustrating Wikipedia.

Article contests. Another way to promote information about natural heritage sites is by running an article contest devoted to them. This is the way used by WLE organizers in Spain and several other countries. In 2015, Ukrainian Wikipedia got 265 articles thanks to article contest “Wikipedia Loves Monuments”, which was devoted to Wiki Loves Monuments, another international photo contest organized by wikimedians. Running an article contest is more expensive and time-consuming than some other ways, but it might give more sustainable results in terms of promoting information about natural heritage sites.

Promotion on social media. Finally, why not encourage your participants to illustrate Wikipedia through social media? Pick a beautiful unused photo as an example, post it on Facebook or Instagram, and include a link to the whole list of unused photos, encouraging your followers to help discover beautiful natural heritage to Wikipedia readers.

Raising awareness of nature’s fragility: A perspective of Spanish Wiki Loves Earth winners

By the Spanish Wiki Loves Earth Team

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.

Waterfalls in Argoza River. María Bolado, CC BY-SA 4.0, First Prize WLE in Spain 2017

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.

Lighthouse of the Ebro Delta. Agustí Descarrega, CC BY-SA 4.0, Second Prize WLE in Spain 2018

Continue reading “Raising awareness of nature’s fragility: A perspective of Spanish Wiki Loves Earth winners”

Take only photos, leave only footprints: Why sustainable tourism is so important for Wiki Loves Earth

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.

“One mans trash”. This photo was taken on a dive at Rye pier, Victoria which is part of the Mornington Penninsula and Western port biosphere reserve. Katieleeosborne, CC BY-SA 4.0

Continue reading “Take only photos, leave only footprints: Why sustainable tourism is so important for Wiki Loves Earth”