Volunteer with Sea Turtles!
Want to take your kiddos to volunteer with sea turtles? This may be the perfect opportunity! For over 30 years, ARCHELON has been running the only Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Greece. ARCHELON protects sea turtles and their habitats through monitoring and research, habitat restoration, raising public awareness, and rehabilitating sick and injured turtles (about 50 per year).
Every year, over 500 volunteers from around the world volunteer their time to work with sea turtles and their nesting beaches (about 75 kilometers worth of beach). Their efforts help to protect the nests from human threats and predators. ARCHELON requires many volunteers to help run their conservation projects in Zakynthos, Peloponnesus, and Crete, which are all major nesting areas for the loggerhead turtle.
Where: ARCHELON offers opportunities in Zakynthos, Peloponnesus, and Crete, Greece. Family volunteering is only available in Peloponnesus.
Ages: Children must be at least 8 years old to volunteer with sea turtles.
Families are able to volunteer with sea turtles at ARCHELON’s Neda Bay project in Kyparissiakos Bay. This project aims to record data about the sea turtles, conserve the turtles’ habitat, and raise public awareness among the locals and tourists.
Family volunteers will help alongside ARCHELON’s regular volunteers. At the beginning of your volunteer time, you’ll attend a presentation to learn about the protection of the sea turtles. Families will be able to participate in both the sea turtle monitoring and in public awareness activities. Activities will vary depending on the time of the year and the age of your child. Sea turtle monitoring activities may include:
- Looking for turtle tracks to help locate nests.
- Marking hatching nests and shading them to protect hatchlings
- Enclosing nests to protect them from predators and human activity.
- Observing and tagging nesting females.
- Collecting bamboo to build shelter for the nests.
- Building boxes for injured turtles.
- Beach cleanings.
Public awareness activities may include:
- Beach patrols to teach visitors how to properly behave on the beaches near the turtle nests.
- Running the information kiosk.
- Hosting information tables at nearby hotels.
Volunteering season runs from June through September. The time frame for families to volunteer is 3 days minimum, 7 days maximum. Parents will need to be able to communicate with project field leaders in English.
If you’re interested in volunteering, you’ll need to apply as soon as possible as ARCHELON can only host 3 families at a time. Just fill out their family volunteering application and they will respond withing 20 days. Participation fees are 30€ per parent and 15€ per child. Families must cover their expenses for accommodation, food, and transportation. Public transportation is limited in the area, so it’s recommended to rent a car for ease of getting around.
The Neda Project is hosted at Apollo Village camping. You can rent a tent or caravan if you do not have your own, or stay in one of their small bungalows. The bathroom/ shower facilities are shared. There is also laundry and a cafeteria on site. Families are responsible for booking their own stay at Apollo.
Bonus: Fall in love with the sea turtles while volunteering? ARCHELON has a sponsor a turtle program!