My first night survey of this season was on Gerakas beach, in Zakynthos. It is beach that is surrounded by low cliffs and there is fifty meter wooden ramp that leads down to the beach. Tom Backof and I had tracked a turtle to the back of the beach. She hadnʼt attempted to nest yet so we decided to leave her alone. We do this because the turtle is very sensitive in that phase. After 15 minutes, Tom went crawling off to find her. I saw him returning immediately “Kostas, you ʼve got to see this”, he told me. The turtle was sliding down the wooden ramp! We both assumed that the turtle must have climbed at least 25 meters up! Of course, the turtle realized that this was not an appropriate place for her to nest and she returned to the sea. A turtle returning to the sea without nesting is something that happens quite often and she will try again and again until she finds the right spot.

Another night, again at Gerakas beach, me and another volunteer Faye Karavasili spotted a turtle track that went very far at the end of the beach. “I am going to check the turtle to see what she is doing”, I said to Faye and I started crawling. I crawled to the back of the beach, where the vegetation started but I still couldnʼt spot the turtle. Nevertheless I could hear some strange noises coming from behind a bush. Going a little bit closer where the sand slopes were steeper I saw something that surprised me. The turtle was on top of the bush. She then moved on, fell from the bush, flipped over once and slid down the slope! “I saw these tracks in the morning but I couldnʼt explain them”, Jack Suss, morning survey leader the following morning said to me. All the other volunteers were astonished when I told them the story, as it had never happened to them before. And these incidents happened during only two nights, some would wonder how many strange things must have happened during these thousands of years that the sea turtles have been coming to Zakynthos to nest.

When a sea turtle lays her last eggs, the next thing she does is to cover the egg chamber and then camouflage her tracks. More specifically she flicks dry sand behind her, with her strong front flippers. One night, I was behind a turtle that had finished nesting and she was covering her eggs. I was checking her carapace for injuries and then the turtle started camouflaging by throwing sand directly into my eye, totally blinding me! Discussing with the other volunteers I found out that the same thing had happened to them as well. Dobro Debska, one volunteer, was telling me that she was so excited while she was watching the turtle that she had her mouth open and as a result the sand from the camouflage went into her mouth! The following nights I decided to be more careful when the turtle is in that phase. It wouldnʼt be too much to say that watching this ancient creatureʼs effort to reproduce is the closest I have ever been to nature! At the same time you learn to respect the animal and more generally the nature and that provides you with extra motivation to volunteer for its survival

Kostas Papafitsoros ARCHELON volunteer the three last years in Zakynthos, maybe the best in his life so far



    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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    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”.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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…

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    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…

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    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!

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  10. OUR NEWS

    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.

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  11. OUR NEWS

    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.

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  12. OUR NEWS

    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.

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  13. OUR NEWS

    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.

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  14. OUR NEWS

    Gail Schofield

    We learned with deep sadness the passing away of Gail Schofield, a pronounced sea turtle researcher and former ARCHELON volunteer. Read more…

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  15. OUR NEWS

    More than half of the rehabilitated sea turtles got released back to the sea in 2022!

    The Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of ARCHELON in Glyfada rescues, takes care of and rehabilitates injured sea turtles from all parts of Greece since 1994. More than half of the sea turtles that were under care at the Rescue Centre in 2022 got released back to the sea after reaching full recovery this year! Read more…

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