Our microcosm is still expanding!

Last week marked the 35th anniversary of the foundation of ARCHELON. We were planning to celebrate this a bit later, but suddenly the actual date was reminded by some of the newest members. The first wishes appeared, followed by an explosion of messages and posts and a colorful cloud of wishes from friends and members. Happy birthday ARCHELON!


The first statutes of the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, as it was known then, were signed by 21 persons on the 20th of November 1983. Dimitris Margaritoulis, Anna-Kremezi Margaritouli and Thomas Arapis are three of them that remain actively involved to the day.

So, it has been 35 years!

With a lot of walking, many sea turtles, nights on the beach, nesting, 4-wheel motorbikes, tags.

With great successes, threats, dangers, some failures, petitions, sweat, blood and appeals.

With travels, conferences, presentations, skills, awards, schools, colouring books, information kiosks, reports, camp sites, invoices.

With careers, collaborations, research, huge number of romances (some weddings as well) oppositions, ‘envies’, degrees, suitcases (sea turtle education kits), calipers , PhDs.

With T-shirts, stickers, data sheets, table games, motorbikes, inflatable boats, automobiles and one property.

With presidential decrees, appeals, courts, arrests (but no convictions).

With rescues, releases, strategies, loving souls of volunteers, celebrations, parties, retreats, joint dinners in tavernas, deaths.

We grew older with ARCHELON and with us grew older many thousands of volunteers and friends who passed by. They all left a small stone on the road for ARXHELON to reach this point. We will grow older with thousands of volunteers who are yet to come and will leave their mark on this path.

35 years of concerns, efforts and results! Many people, with different personalities and different ways. We have existed in each other’s lives for many years. Some of us became close, others we never came to know on a personal level, but we have been travelling down the same path. Different people, with a common denominator, we have found ourselves in the same great story!

Our story has indelibly touched many more people than we can imagine. Each one has their own story of meeting with the Society, especially with the sea turtles they met, the large loggerheads and the others, the greens with the white belly.

It is an amazing story, the story of ARCHELON. Thanks to the will, the persistence, the patience, the joyous spirit, the attitude, the resistance, the influence, the contribution of so many people and our good luck, ARCHELON made it to here and it seems we are getting ready for continuing the journey further.

We continue with respect to each other, focus and responsibility, based on the knowledge and experience gained. Sea turtles are our starting point and direction and through them we come to touch the many social and environmental challenges of the world.

Let’s try to answer this: ‘who would we be without ARCHELON?’

(This article is made up of texts spontaneously shared by ARCHELON’s BoD members and staff for the 35 years anniversary)



    Sea turtles in the Greek wetlands of international importance

    World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2. These vulnerable areas of the planet are a refuge for migratory birds and other wildlife species, including sea turtles. ARCHELON is present in wetlands that play an important role for sea turtles, such as the Amvrakikos Gulf.

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    Why are ARCHELON’s projects international?

    ARCHELON’s sea turtle conservation projects are organized with the valuable contribution of volunteers who come to Greece every year not just from Europe but from more distant places such as South Korea, Australia, and Colombia. Speaking English while carrying out fieldwork or public awareness activities as well as when interacting with each other in the campsites is essential to the projects.

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    ARCHELON has been running a special hospital for sea turtles with tanks and impressive old train wagons for 30 years in Glyfada

    Turtles with IV and bandages, rehabilitation and recovery tanks, special environmental enrichment equipment, recovery greenhouses, and… renovated train wagons! The hospital for injured and sick turtles that ARCHELON has set up in the 3rd marina of Glyfada, next to the sea, is certainly something out of the ordinary.

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    What happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023?

    A world record for reproductive life for a sea turtle and 40 years of ARCHELON’s actions for protecting sea turtles are some of the moments we celebrated together this year. So, what happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023? Here are some highlights of the past year.

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    Assuming responsibility for the environment brings more meaning into our lives

    “ARCHELON is an opportunity, not only for the animals and the ecosystems, but also for us who participate in it and for the society in which we operate”. Thomas Arapis, President and founding member of ARCHELON, talks about the efforts of the organization and about what he aspires for the future.

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    Forty years later: the world of ARCHELON has expanded

    Thomas Arapis, President and founding member of the Association gives the current coordinates of ARCHELON. "We encounter many turtles in our daily activities, and even more people, many more people actually, who help us. Amongst them are the people who work for us, they stand out for they represent the Association out there, through thick and thin".

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    19 Environmental NGOs ask the Greek Government not to consent to a change in the wolf protection status in Europe

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    Messages of love from the world turtle community!

    Celebrating ARCHELON's 40th Anniversary we have received warm messages from the turtle community worldwide

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    When the past becomes a lighthouse for the future

    Thomas Arapis, the President of ARCHELON and one of its founding members talks about the quality and values, and the people who marked the setting up and subsequent action of ARCHELON. “Dimitris Margaritoulis taught us, not only the methodology for monitoring and protecting them, but also what it means to organize tasks, take responsibility, work as a team, evaluate our course and cooperate with each other”, he says.

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  10. OUR NEWS

    Notes of a volunteer (Part 2): Ηead trauma happens more often and is more serious than you think

    Jessica Van Damme who volunteered at the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre for 6 weeks in 2023, talks about what she learned while taking care of sea turtles with human caused injuries.

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  11. OUR NEWS

    Notes of a volunteer (Part 1): Jessica Van Damme was at the Rescue Centre

    “During my 6-week stay, there were more than 30 injured sea turtles being treated at the Rescue Centre. Seven of them were successfully released, but, during the same period there were five new arrivals – all turtles with human-caused injuries. We, humans, are their biggest threat!”, writes Jessica.

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  12. OUR NEWS

    Summer 2024: Come back to sea turtle conservation as a leader!

    Joining or returning to ARCHELON’s sea turtle projects as a Field Leader will give you the opportunity to lead specific activities as well as train and help others in the projects. These positions provide a higher level of experience in nature conservation/ environment protection, as well as improved communication and leadership skills. Hurry and apply now! Only a limited number of experienced and skilled volunteers are selected to serve as leaders in each project.

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  13. OUR NEWS

    The establishment of the “Amvrakikos Alliance”

    The Alliance's vision in collaboration with the local community is to highlight the unique ecological value and the natural and cultural heritage of Amvrakikos, for the most effective management, restoration, and protection of its ecosystems and biodiversity.

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  14. OUR NEWS

    Kids Beach Competition 2023: Turtles made of natural materials that stole our hearts!

    The little friends of ARCHELON who participated in the Kids Beach Competition 2023 formed turtles from pebbles, sand, water, rocks, sticks, leaves and shells, spreading the message of protecting sea turtles on the various beaches of Greece. Angeliki's (7 years old) little turtle on top of the big rock stole 694 hearts and became the winner!

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  15. OUR NEWS

    The Field Leaders of 2023 and their role

    Matthew from the UK, Noha from France, David from the Netherlands, Aris from Greece started one summer as volunteers knowing little about turtles and their protection. Their experience made them return to the conservation projects as Field Leaders to take on more responsibilities, as trainers and mentors for new volunteers.

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