A stone with a 23-year history…
For the ʽsea turtle peopleʼ this rock meant that on 2 August 1988, an ARCHELON volunteer saw the tiny trail of a hatchling heading towards the sea – they might even have seen the turtle itself, if they were lucky enough. And now, 23 years later, ARCHELON volunteers can still be found on the same beach, carrying on the same morning patrols for the same reason: to locate, survey and protect the Laganas Gulf nests.
A lot has changed since then. With the creation of the Zakynthos National Marine Park by Presidential Decree in 1999 and the establishment of its Management Agency in 2000, a lot of steps relating to the management of the protected area have been taken, including serious attempts to protect the beaches on a 24-hour basis in order to avoid any disturbances during the nesting period, and to protect the coastal ecosystem – remarkable efforts.
Looking back, though, in the end there hasnʼt been a huge change on the part of the State: The staff of the Management Agency remain unpaid for the last eight months, the protection plan cannot be adequately implemented – despite the heroic efforts of the existing personnel – and the Agencyʼs research team has not been on the nesting beaches for the last two years. Volunteers from ARCHELON and other non-governmental environmental organizations are once again called upon to make up for the absence of the Greek State in the integrated, seamless and efficient management of the environment in Greece. Once again, Greece has been disgraced by the huge European Union fines it must pay for not adequately protecting the most significant Mediterranean habitat of the endangered Caretta caretta.
Why focus on the sea turtle? Because each person chooses an area in which to contribute, whether it is the environment, society, or something else. When we contribute collectively to one purpose, each in his/her own unique way, the results will be greater and more successful.
During a morning beach patrol, then, a stone may remind us again of our role, sending us an encouraging message: We were here, we are here, and we will continue to be here to protect the coast and the sea because of the sea turtles, and to serve as a reminder that the protection of the environment must become a key item on Greeceʼs political agenda for this reason. The environment consists of both the life forms living in it and also their right to a fair standard of living.
(Smaro Touliatou) (Translation by Joanne Stournara)
Protection of Sekania Beach, the core of the National Marine Park. On this 700 metre- long beach, an average of 600 sea turtles gather to build their nests every summer, according to ARCHELONʼs on-going nest-building observation programme, which began in 1983. For the protection of this internationally important beach, WWF Greece has bought the land behind the beach to insure that it will remain untouched and will continue to be a refuge for sea turtles in future.
Sea turtle dies of longline hook ingestion in southern Kyparissia Bay
Tourists meet ARCHELON
- OUR NEWS27/09/2023
World Tourism Day 2023: Are there sea turtle-friendly hotels in north Crete?
But why is tourism important to sea turtles?
- OUR NEWS15/09/2023
Lilo, the tiny green turtle, made it back to the sea!
In November 2021 a small green turtle arrived at the ARCHELON Rescue Centre with a very serious head injury. After almost two years of intensive care, one Wednesday in September 2023 he was finally discharged and returned to the sea!
- OUR NEWS17/08/2023
World record of 37 years of reproductive life for a loggerhead sea turtle in Zakynthos, Greece – increased number of nests this summer, says ARCHELON
ARCHELON – the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece announces an important outcome of the systematic work of this year's sea turtle nest monitoring team in Zakynthos. Based on their long-term observations, ARCHELON managed to certify a new World Record of reproductive activity for loggerhead turtles.
- OUR NEWS07/08/2023
ATTENTION! Sea turtles are not pets: Do not touch them or feed them!
The Municipality of Eastern Mani and the Port Authorities requested the assistance of ARCHELON to inform beach users in the area of Limeni, near Mani, where 35 new incidents of sea turtle attacks on sea bathers have been recorded during this summer season. These are added to the already long list of 200 such records of previous years found in the nearby Health Center in Areopolis.
- OUR NEWS01/08/2023
Interview with a volunteer: Lea Heinen, Rescue Centre
Interview with a volunteer: Lea Heinen, Rescue Centre Lea shares her experience volunteering at the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre: “I think when a turtle starts to eat after a month of trying, when you can see the improvement or healing of a turtle's injury and when a turtle is released back into the sea, into its natural habitat, into its home - then you know that you are indeed saving turtles”.
- OUR NEWS21/07/2023
Kids Beach Competition 2023: Make your own little sea turtle with natural materials and send us a photo!
Help us spread the message about the protection of sea turtles by making your own baby turtles with natural materials you will find on the beach. Sand, stones, pebbles, shells, seaweed, sticks and whatever else you have available, can be transformed with a little imagination! Take a photo of your work and send it to the ARCHELON Beach Competition.
- OUR NEWS18/07/2023
Paving the way for next steps in conservation of marine turtles in the Mediterranean region
Last week the partner organizations of the project “Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region” met for the 9th Steering Committee Meeting. The meeting was organized by SPA/RAC in the area of Kyparissia Bay, Greece on the 4th and 5th of July, 2023 in collaboration with ARCHELON.
- OUR NEWS04/07/2023
An offer to EXPERIENCED volunteers: You can now join the beach projects for 2-3 weeks!
The time is just right to join the projects again, even if you have only 2 or 3 weeks of available time. This offer is valid for August, September, October 2023. Apply through our new website and find out more about the dates and places you can join. More…
- OUR NEWS22/06/2023
The nesting season has begun! Learn what you can do if you find sea turtle tracks or nests on the beach
The nesting season for the loggerhead sea turtles has begun. The nests that are made in the areas monitored by ARCHELON and other collaborating groups are already being recorded. However, if you find tracks or nests on other beaches, you can also participate in the effort to record and protect these sporadic nests. Find out why it's important…
- OUR NEWS16/06/2023
A breath away from registering a new world record on the years of known active reproduction of a loggerhead sea turtle is ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece
This is the year when ARCHELON, a nonprofit environmental NGO, is celebrating 40 years of continuous and targeted action to save sea turtles in Greece and the Mediterranean. At the same time, the project teams of ARCHELON are ready to register the longest period of active reproduction known for the Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), in case it happens this year!
- OUR NEWS15/06/2023
A Saturday unlike any other - Turtle Festival 2023
ARCHELON invites kids and adults to celebrate the environment and the sea in an exciting way at the "Sea Turtle Festival" on Saturday, May 27 at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in the 3rd Marina of Glyfada.
- OUR NEWS07/06/2023
Announcement for all past volunteers of ARCHELON: Shall we meet this September?
Highlight: Hi everyone! This year marks 40 years of ARCHELON’s action for protecting sea turtles in Greece. During these four decades, thousands of volunteers from many countries joined our sea turtle projects and the Rescue Centre to help save the turtles. Let’s meet again this coming September and celebrate the animals we saved during all these years.
- OUR NEWS07/04/2023
Waiting list for schools that want to visit the ARCHELON Rescue Centre
Thousands of Greek students visit the Centre and get informed about the value of protecting the environment through contact with a particularly beloved animal, the sea turtle. "All the available visiting hours until the end of the 2022-2023 school year have been booked, but there is a waiting list that is activated in case of cancellations", says Anna Kontoleon, ARCHELON’s Education Officer. More hours for online tours may be added in May if volunteers become available.
- OUR NEWS28/03/2023
People are supporting wildlife conservation
The donations and "adoptions" made at the Rescue Centre in Glyfada, Attica and at ARCHELON’s field projects in Zakynthos, the Peloponnese and Crete in 2022, reached the amount of €350,000. We did a lot last year thanks to all these people, who also made it possible for us to continue this year.
- OUR NEWS24/03/2023
We learned with deep sadness the passing away of Gail Schofield, a pronounced sea turtle researcher and former ARCHELON volunteer. Read more…