Beach clean-ups, saving animal lives, working with others, volunteer rangering to protect nature and peoples’ access to it: the entries to our 1st European Ranger Volunteer Photo Contest show how diverse the contribution of volunteers in nature conservation is.

We want to honour the many unpaid hours of their commitment with our contest. Here you can find an overview of all the entries including the winners selected by our jury after a difficult choice.

Handing over the prizes to 1st place winner Doron Talmi (right) and 2nd place winner Moti Levin (left, between jury member Sharon Golan and ERF Vice President Ilan Yeger) © Sharon Golan


We really have to say: it wasn’t easy! Such wonderful entries and stories of dedicated volunteering for the cause of nature … And so the jury has decided on two winners: 

Third place goes to Armando Di Marino, Italy, with his commitment to environmental education and to Tom Bell and the Sticklepath & Okehampton Conservation Group volunteers, UK, for their hard work to keep Dartmoor National Parks paths accessible!

For second place, the jury was impressed by the symbolisation of the helping hand for fragile creatures – by Moti Levin from Israel!
And first place goes to … Doron Talmi! His ingenious photo won over the jury with its different levels of space and time, whereby the spatial aspect with the fence symbolises protection and the long-term temporal perspective makes the movement of the headlamp look like a heartbeat.

Congratulations to all the winners! But also to all the other participants who gave us a glimpse of their valuable conservation work.

“Hatching Inspection – most of the turtles in our care are the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta). One of my volunteer tasks was to stand guard at night at a hatchery in a coastal nature reserve and regularly check the nests for hatching. Once hatched, the volunteers help the young to reach the Mediterranean waters safely. I took this selfie with a long exposure while using a red torch to check the nests for new hatchlings. The use of white light is strictly forbidden on the farm.

Doron Talmi, volunteer for Israel Nature and Parks Authority’s campaign for support and recovery of sea turtles‘ population in the eastern Mediterranean basin

“Supporting a brown sea turtle to hatch from the egg. Every year from mid-May until the middle of August hundreds of volunteers scan the Israeli shoreline every morning for brown and green sea turtle nests in order to secure the eggs and increase the turtle’s population. The volunteers help the turtles that have difficulty hatching from the egg and reaching the sea.

Moti Levin, Volunteer for the Sea Turtle Support Team of Israel Nature and Parks Authority

“We were rerouting a path next to the river Taw in Sticklepath in Dartmoor National Park, and finishing it with stone – the path had become dangerous and inaccessible for some walkers. There was a problem with getting materials on site as delivery was only possible to the opposite bank, with the nearest footbridge too far away. So the solution: walk the plank with the heavy buckets. Nobody fell in! The path is now accessible for non goats.”

Tom Bell, Sticklepath & Okehampton Conservation Group for Dartmoor National Park, UK

“My main activity is carried out with the Kamishibai, a Japanese theater that involves children a lot. Basically I tell the kids stories about nature and then ask them to do it too. So the kids invent wonderful stories, draw them, make the script and represent them to their parents or other students. I collaborate with the guys from the Italian Red Cross and I often talk to them about climate change.”

Armando Di Marino, Volunteer Ranger in Vico Lake Nature Reserve, Italy

“I sit waiting for Cami and Gilbert to catch up as once again I’ve rushed off ahead, I take a moment to meditate on the decisions I’ve made in my life that bring me to this moment. The main decision to say YES when I didn’t know if I could be a volunteer ranger, doubting my abilities but something pushed me forward… That one decision changed my world. It opened my eyes to so much and led me to sitting on a mountainside in Spain, on Camino de Santiago raising funds for Malta Ranger Unit, with a team of people I consider family. I was tired, aching but feeling very grateful.”

Elizabeth McDonough, volunteer for Malta Ranger Unit (photo taken by Gilbert Vancell)

The story behind this photo is that I look into the light and feel as though I see hope that as a volunteer ranger I can help make a difference for our environment. Looking around especially at this sunset reminds me why I do what I do as a volunteer ranger. I am following my dream and that is to be able to give back to our environment.

Alaina Norton, volunteer for Malta Ranger Unit

Coppicing a hazel woodland at Noar Hill SSSI in Hampshire in the United Kingdom, our regular conservation volunteers were joined by our bovine division of volunteers.

Jake Barnes, South Downs National Park & Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, UK

“Great happiness and satisfaction on the face of a veteran volunteer (Nurit Natan) in the sea turtle support group. After two months of scanning along the coast and locating the nest, we happily woke up early in the morning to assist in the hatching of 53 small brown sea turtles.”

Shlomi Itzhaki, Volunteer for the Sea Turtle Support Team of Israel Nature and Parks Authority

“Volunteers cleaning sea-borne rubbish from a remote beach in Cornwall. The beach is called ‘Strangles beach’ and is reached by a steep path on a cliff. The volunteers in the photo are happy to reach half way up the cliff. It’s an arduous task which is made possible by having many willing volunteers.”

Jeff Cherrington, National Trust, for the volunteers who help rangers working in North Cornwall, UK

“Sea turtle on the way to the open sea.”

Yair Efrat, Volunteer for the Sea Turtle Rescue Center of Israel Nature and Parks Authority

“When I’m out and about as a volunteer ranger in the national park, I love photographing the little things. Mushrooms, beetles, the whole variety of species in the microcosm is often underestimated and photographs help me to bring them closer to my environment. Unfortunately I can only submit one photo, so you cannot see the result.”

Martin Rebbe, Volunteer Ranger in Black Forest National Park, Germany

A volunteer takes care of a sea turtle. The Sea Turtle Rescue Center provides treatment for sea turtles in distress. The turtles are injured in various ways and come to treatment and rehabilitation. At the end of the treatment, they are set free back to the sea.

Galit Harpaz Yaniv, volunteer at The Sea Turtle Rescue Center, Israel

“I volunteer at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. I initiated groups to clean Zikim beach at the southern coast of the country.”

Ruthie Reuven, volunteer at Israel Nature and Parks Authority

“After a winter storm, at the beach Nachal Sorek, part of the Soreq Stream Estuary National Park in Israel, we cleaned it with a group of young surfers. They were wearing pirate costumes because of our ‘Purim festival’ (like Halloween). I liked this photo because of the combination of the interesting winter view and the young volunteers helping to keep the nature they enjoy clean.”

Smadar Nitzan, volunteer at Israel Nature and Parks Authority

“Doing a beach clean-up with Tikkun HaYam – Repair the Sea.”

Alexandra Feldman, volunteer at Tikkun HaYam

“While volunteering on a hot day, I met an injured bird, carefully picked it up from the area, gave it a drink and took it to medical treatment.”

Yechiam Dahan, volunteer at Israel Nature and Parks Authority

editorial work for this
content is supported by