The challenge of the nesting sea turtles on Crete
The projects of monitoring and protection of nesting loggerheads in Rethymno, Chania and Messara bay were carried out from the beginning of May to the beginning of October 2021.
Researchers / volunteers of the ARCHELON projects recorded a total of 533 nests on the 31 km of beach that were daily surveyed. The nests were protected from trampling, flooding and photo-pollution. The volunteers informed visitors about the nesting of sea turtles in the area. Public awareness activities reached about 9,600 visitors in Rethymno, 2,700 visitors in Chania and 1,700 in Messara bay. In the areas of Chania and Messara bay, dedicated local volunteers of ARCHELON participated in addition to the volunteers who came from Greece and abroad.
"We thank all the volunteers and field leaders who participated in the projects last summer. They walked many kilometers and gave their best to protect the turtles", says Lydia Koutrouditsou, biologist, Project manager of ARCHELON for Crete.
The Field leaders in 2021were: Eva Horcajo Berna and Mia Kotzageorgi (Monitoring Coordinators), Colette Ballantyne and Tania Gil Anton (Monitoring Leaders ), Mahe Le Blet and Megan McFarland (Public Awareness Leaders), Zonne Van Der Pol (Coordinator), Fabiola Cecchini and Katherine Landy (Public Awareness, Camping and Volunteers), and Paul Grammel (Project Assistant).
"Α big applause to the local authorities and all the beach businesses in Rethymno, Chania and Messara bay, that took care to maintain the nesting habitat for sea turtles by removing beach furniture during the night- we hope that next year every business will do this", adds Lydia.
What about the lights on the beach? “There was the good example of the Municipality of Platanias, Chania, who turned off the public lights during the hatching period, so that the hatchlings would not be disoriented. Again, we hope that more will follow their example ” says Panagiota Theodorou, Coordinator of Legal and Institutional Issues of ARCHELON. “However new challenges were added such as the unauthorized opening of a coastal road from Kalamaki to Afrathias in the gulf of Messara, which destroyed sand dunes", Panagiota continues.
The main nesting beaches of the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) in Crete have been included in 4 Natura 2000 sites as follows: Rethymno beach is included in GR4330004, Chania beach is included in GR4340003 (and a little in GR4340006) and Messara bay beach is included in GR4310004). It is important to note the existing provisions for project environmental impact assessments within Natura 2000 sites must be observed in these areas.
More information on the projects for volunteers:
The nesting sea turtles in south Peloponnese
The National Action Plan for the Loggerhead sea turtle
- OUR NEWS02/02/2024
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.
- OUR NEWS24/01/2024
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.
- OUR NEWS17/01/2024
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.
- OUR NEWS05/01/2024
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.
- OUR NEWS21/12/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS20/12/2023
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".
- OUR NEWS20/12/2023
19 Environmental NGOs ask the Greek Government not to consent to a change in the wolf protection status in Europe
- OUR NEWS15/12/2023
Messages of love from the world turtle community!
Celebrating ARCHELON's 40th Anniversary we have received warm messages from the turtle community worldwide
- OUR NEWS14/12/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS12/12/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS04/12/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS30/11/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS23/11/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS16/11/2023
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!
- OUR NEWS15/11/2023
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.