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

Did you submit other images?

Agustí: I took this one of the Sunrise at the Fangar Bay, which got the 10th position.

Delta del Ebro. Agustí Descarrega, CC BY-SA 4.0

And I submitted a bunch more: 1, 2, 3.

María: Me too! And I personally love “Cascada en el río Argoza.jpg” (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cascada_en_el_r%C3%ADo_Argoza.jpg). It got the 5th place in my 2017 edition.

Waterfall in Argoza River. María Bolado, CC BY-SA 4.0

I also submitted these ones: 1, 2, 3.

How do you think Wiki Loves Earth helps bring awareness and visibility about natural protected areas?

Agustí: By making them known, highlighting their fragility and raising awareness on their need for protection.

María: If we take pictures of a natural protected area we are being witnesses and documenting its condition in a particular moment in time. This can help to protect it against possible dark interests. And, of course, it is a way to show and share our sometimes unknown natural spaces.

As a photographer, what would you say about a platform/tool such as Wikimedia Commons? Why do you use it?

María: I think it is a great tool, and use it both as user and contributor. But I think it needs a deep improvement in the categorization system. I hope such changes will be soon available.

Agustí: I think it’s a very accessible and easy way to transmit knowledge. I use it because has a lot of information and media useful to learn.

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