Presentation of ARCHELON 2023 Results: Here is some good news!

On Thursday February 15th, 2024, ARCHELON’s annual Presentation of Results took place downtown, at the Impact Hub Athens. When welcoming members, staff, collaborators, friends and volunteers, Daphne Mavrogiorgos, Director of ARCHELON, spoke about the multi-leveled action of ARCHELON during 2023. Our main focus was the ARCHELON volunteering conservation and rescue projects, but we managed to have an effective participation in collaborative projects with other NGOS as well. She warmly thanked everyone for their work during the previous year.

Daphne Mavrogiorgos and Michalis Souroulidis talk on the annual presentation of ARCHELON 2023

The presentation started with the "field projects", i.e. to the nesting beaches, where ARCHELON covered a total of approximately 100 km of the Greek coastline. In 2023, the recording and protection of nests and hatchlings was done with the help of 450 committed volunteers from all over the world. In total, in Zakynthos, Peloponnese and Crete we recorded more than 10,000 nests, which is almost double the average number of the previous decade! We cannot ignore the fact that many of these turtles laying eggs today were the hatchlings that were protected 25-30 years ago.

However, not all was easy for the turtles. There was an increase in beach furniture on the nesting beaches during the summer, which reached pre-pandemic levels. As we all know, if left on the beach at night, beach umbrellas and sunbeds reduce the space available for mother turtles to nest on the beach. In Rethymno and Chania, 50% and 35% respectively of businesses that had sunbeds complied with their removal at night, facilitating sea turtle nesting.

Presentation of Results in ARCHELON

As important as the work of protection is, so is raising public awareness on the nesting beaches, in order to let people know and respect the special habitat they are visiting. In 2023, ARCHELON volunteers operated a total of 8 Information Stations and held 590 informative presentations on the code of conduct of beach visitors in hotel units. The Stations were located in the city of Zakynthos, Kalo Nero and Agiannakis in Messinia, Koroni, Mavrovouni in Laconia, Rethymno, Chania and Matala in Crete.

2023 was a very important year for the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Glyfada, Attica as well. After 30 years of operation the Rescue Centre received the status of a Wildlife Care Center. A total of 43 new arrivals of injured or sick sea turtles at the Centre was announced, mainly referring to Loggerheads (Caretta caretta) and a few Green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Most of these incidents involved fishing gear and, fortunately, incidents of intentional injury were decreased. In summer and autumn, 22 turtles returned to the sea after treatment. At the same time, the infrastructure of the Centre was largely upgraded and it is now possible to accommodate more injured animals as well as to develop new partnerships in various fields.

In parallel with rescue and rehabilitation, environmental education activities continued with enthusiasm at the Rescue Centre. During the 2022-2023 school year, the Centre welcomed approximately 12,000 students and teachers, who were guided in person or online and discussed about sea turtles and the environment. Also, an additional 13,000 young and old visitors, Greeks and foreigners, were informed about our work and learned about the effort to protect these special animals.

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Of course, none of ARCHELON's projects and activities would be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers, who decided to devote time and effort to sea turtle conservation and rescue in Greece. Every one acknowledged the 540 volunteers of 2023, who joined us in our vision for a better and sustainable planet. “Congratulations for an impressive effort made in order to record and protect a big number of sea turtle nests this year. Well done for having rescued many turtles, while at the same time successfully carrying out the awareness campaigns and educational activities at the Rescue Center and in the field projects”, said Thomas Arapis, the President of ARCHELON. "As in previous years, there are a few volunteers who went the extra mile and we want to honor them with the Over & Above Awards", he continued and announced the names and achievements for 67 volunteers.

The event ended with an entertaining video with highlights from the past year, the traditional New Year’s “Vassilopita” and a glass of wine, giving everyone time to discuss the results that impressed them the most. “Until next year, ARCHELON!’ The Presentation of Results in English will take place online on March 5th, at 8pm EET- Athens (Greek time). Those interested can register here.



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