Padule di Fuecchio wetlands, Italy | Francesca

Photo: Padule di Fuecchio wetlands by Francesca

See all finalist pictures in a slideshow below.

Wetlands are home to complex ecosystems rich in biodiversity. They provide vital ecosystem services such as water filtration, making them the kidneys of the Earth – and they are disappearing.

Wetlands are majorly threatened by commercial development, mineral and peat extraction, and a myriad of other human practices and their consequences – this is the premise on which World Wetlands Day was created.

On February 2, 1971, member states signed the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in Ramsar, Iran. Recognizing the importance of wetlands, Canada became a contracting party to the convention in 1981. From there, more countries signed on as contracting parties, and by 1997, when there were 93 contracting parties, the first World Wetlands Day was held in 50 nations. It is now held in 77 countries around the world, with a total of 822 activities reported.

This year, Ramsar is hoping to inspire youth to see the beauty in wetlands by hosting the World Wetlands Day Youth Photo Contest. Entrants aged 15-24 were encouraged to visit a wetland nearby, take a picture and upload it to the World Wetlands Day website. After receiving more than 2,200 submissions, eight finalists have been announced. You can see their photos below. Congratulations to the finalists!

The World Wetlands Day 2015 Youth Photo Competition Finalists

Click on any image to view as a slideshow.

Aged 17, Francesca is at school in Italy. Her photo was taken at the Padule di Fuecchio wetlands.

Jobert took this photo of children from the Bla'an tribe while spending the day at a lake in South Cobato in the Philippines. 

22 year old Andreas Raukas from Estonia took this picture in Sweden at the Sarek National Park. 

Aycin Sak is a 19 year old student from Bolu in Turkey. She took her picture at Yanicaga Lake. 

Helder Andre from Brazil is a young self-taught photographer. The picture was taken at the Capibaribe river in Pernambuco State.  

Stéfan Nobre from Brazil took this close up shot of a dragonfly in the state of Ceara.

Matt Flower, a 21 year old baker from New Zealand, took this picture at Peka Peka, a recently restored area of wetlands. 

Jade wanted to capture the underwater beauty of a wetlands area called Piccanninie Ponds in South Australia. She is a 22 year old student at Adelaide university. 

Before announcing the placement of the finalists, Ramsar must first determine whether the finalists have complied with all contest rules. Check back to the World Wetlands Day website or Ramsar’s Twitter and Facebook for the final announcement! While you are on their site, be sure to make a pledge for wetlands.


Samantha Hui is an A\J editorial volunteer and an undergrad student in Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo.

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