Article written by the Ramsar Secretariat
Seventeen years old Francesca Negrini from Italy, was the winner of the World Wetlands Day 2015 Youth Photo Contest. The theme for the contest was “Wetlands are essential to our future”. For her stunning photo of trees reflected in a river in Padule di Fucecchio in northern Tuscany, Francesca won the main prize, a trip of her choice, courtesy of Star Alliance. As a destination Francesca chose Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary (Ramsar Site no. 1715) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She recounts her experience of visiting and photographing this unique wetland.
“I chose Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary because I was fascinated by the idea of seeing a Ramsar site located between the skyscrapers of Dubai and the desert; I did not think there could be such a place.
I really enjoyed the trip and thank you again for giving me this opportunity Ramsar. I regret not having been able to visit the other Ramsar sites of the United Arab Emirates but the time we had available did not allow us to move too far outside Dubai.
The site of Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is very well maintained even though it is a bit ‘complicated to get there, because the only two entrances are located along a very busy highway. The observation points are very comfortable and equipped with binoculars (one of the two also had air conditioning!). They are not very beautiful artificial embankments but still acceptable.
I have learned that the presence of water allows many forms of life to thrive even in the most hostile environments. It is fundamental the conservation of the places where the water manifests as they are important both from the point of view of the environment and for local traditions.
I cannot say what I liked more because the trip to the United Arab Emirates has been a succession of discoveries and emotions.
I am particularly close and fascinated by the “wet locations” (wetlands) because I live in an area that allows me to experience them firsthand.
Fucecchio Marsh is located a few kilometers from my home and there are many opportunities to visit. Very close to me there is also Lake Massaciuccoli that is remarkable both for the environment and for the landscape. I am sure that the preservation of the “wet locations” is fundamental for the reasons I have written above and the role of Ramsar is indispensable; Furthermore, Ramsar ideally brings together all countries of the world.
Unfortunately, I have to admit that I only knew of Ramsar through the photo contest and I think that this organization deserves to be known by all.”
To view Francesca’s photos of Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary click here
The production and distribution of materials for World Wetlands Day is financially supported by the Evian Project funded by the Danone Group.