NATURE@work - photography competition (CLOSED)

Page Last modified 22 Mar 2023
5 min read
What does nature mean to you? In the ‘NATURE@work’ photography competition, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has invited European citizens to capture how nature benefits them.

Submissions closed on 15 August 2017 and the competition finalists were announced on 15 September.

You can view the 50 finalists' entries in the EEA Flickr album.

The finalists’ entries were presented to an external jury composed of environmental communication experts from across Europe, who determined the winners in the categories of NATUREprovides, NATUREprotects, NATUREinspires, and Youth.

The public could also choose their favourite photo in an online public vote between 15 September and 15 October, and a special prize of The Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU has been awarded to the photo that got most votes from the participants of the conference on 'Nature-based Solutions: From Innovation to Common-use' (NBS2017).

The winners of all prizes were announced on 26 October 2017.

About the competition

Nature provides us with many benefits. Some are well-known, such as clean air, clean freshwater, food, timber and other natural resources. Other benefits are equally vital but less known. Did you know, for example, that green spaces in and around cities help protect our homes from flooding by absorbing excess flood waters? Similarly, trees and urban parks help lower temperatures in urban areas during heat waves. With its intrinsic beauty and rich diversity, nature is also a source of inspiration not only for art but also for designing machines, homes and many innovative solutions.

NATURE@work logo

NATURE@work photo competition invited European citizens to share how nature benefits them. Participants could submit photographs depicting any of the following three categories:

1. NATUREprovides

The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, our homes, all come from or rely on nature. Our well-being, quality of life and economy depend on a healthy natural environment. For example, healthy grasslands are home to many species, including bees, which in turn provide us with honey and pollinate our fruit trees. Can you capture in a photograph the benefits nature provides that you cherish most?

2. NATUREprotects

Nature protects us. A close connection with a healthy natural environment improves our physical and mental health, but that’s not all. By bringing more nature into our cities or preserving and restoring our natural landscapes, we can actually alleviate some of the impacts of climate change, protect property and improve public health. For example, building green roofs can cool buildings in the summer and prevent heat loss in the winter, improving people’s well-being while reducing energy consumption. Similarly, restoring peatlands could help keep more carbon in the ground and, hence, contribute to limiting global warming. Have you noticed how the nature around you or in your city protects you?

3. NATUREinspires

A walk in nature or a view of vast oceans can evoke a feeling of comfort and relaxation as well as inspiring new ideas. Did you know that wind turbine blades inspired by insect wings or rotating solar panels inspired by sunflowers can generate more energy than conventional ones? When faced with concrete urban challenges, such as ensuring a reliable supply of clean water to citizens, nature can provide inspiring solutions. For example, instead of building costly infrastructure projects, planting trees and preserving forests could eliminate the need for water treatment plants. Can you spot anything around you that was inspired by nature?

Additional information on the topics covered by NATURE@work can be found on the following pages:

The European Union has been committed to protecting natural life and diversity since the 1970s. 2017 is the 25th anniversary of the adoption of one of key nature protection laws in the EU, namely the Habitats Directive. With this directive, the EU has built the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world — Natura2000 — covering 18% of its land area and more than 6% of its seas territories. These efforts are supported by LIFE, the EU’s financial instrument for environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects.

Nature-based solutions are inspired and supported by nature, are cost-effective, and provide simultaneously environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience. The EU is investing into developing and testing nature-based solutions through Horizon 2020, its Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.


The winners in each category (NATUREprovides, NATUREprotects and NATUREinspires) will be awarded a cash prize of EUR 1000, while EUR 500 is on offer for both the Public Choice Award and the Youth Prize.

The Youth Prize will be awarded to the winning entry, selected from those submitted by persons aged between 18 and 24 (born between calendar years 1993-1999) to any of the competition categories.

All finalists will be put forward for the Public Choice Award and may also feature in future digital and print material from the EEA and its European partners.

The copyright of the materials submitted for this competition remains with the respective participants. However, each entrant grants the EEA and its partners the right to use the submitted materials in its environmental communication crediting the copyright owners.

Selection process

The EEA will appoint a pre-selection committee consisting of communication and environment experts that will select 30-50 finalists. These will then be submitted to an external jury to be composed of environmental communication experts from across Europe will determine the winners, with the exception of the Public Choice Award.

For the Public Choice Award, the finalist entries put forward by the pre-selection committee will be open for a public vote from 15 September to 15 October 2017.

The winners will be notified by email and the official announcement of the winners will follow at the end of October 2017.


Submissions opened 15 March 2017
Submissions closed 15 August 2017
Public vote opens 15 September 2017
Public vote closes 15 October 2017
Winners announced      End of October 2017

Special prize of The Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU

A shortlist of the competition finalists will be presented at the conference on 'Nature-based Solutions: From Innovation to Common-use' (NBS2017), taking place on 24-26 October 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. NBS2017 conference participants will vote for their favourite photos and the photo that receives the most votes will be awarded a special prize from The Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

The conference on 'Nature-based Solutions: From Innovation to Common-use' (NBS2017) is a flagship event of the Presidency of the Estonian Republic of the Council of the European Union. It will address the nature-based societal functions between science, business, society and politicians. The conference will host leading scientists, politicians and entrepreneurs from around the world. The selected topics include nature-based and eco-innovative technologies that can be implemented in cities and industries. As an example, blue-green infrastructure components (wetlands, green spaces, runoff management systems etc.) help improve human well-being, biodiversity in cities, water purification and other important aspects in city planning. Industry is also taking more inspiration from nature, commonly while creating new materials, pest control systems etc. For more information about the conference and conference registration, please refer to the conference website.


If you have questions about the competition, please .



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