The Koulouris family with two generations of “turtlers” in Zakynthos

ANTONIS, regular “turtler” from 1982 to 1990, wrote:

‘Cars fascinated me since I was a little boy. My dream was to become a mechanical engineer, to study how cars work and make them better. By 17, I knew everything about CITROEN cars and my favorite model was 2CV. As my grades did not allow me to study engineering back then, I ended up studying Biology in the University of Thessaloniki. It was not my first choice, but I made the effort, which brought me an awareness of environmental issues and an interest in Mediterranean ecosystems.


Through this path I started doubting the worship of technological developments. By 20, I bought my first 2CV, an anti-automobile, and I joined ARCHELON’s project in Zakynthos as volunteer. Together with fellow volunteers Telis Kotitsas and Nikos Mekesis, we spent these summers of the 80’s with light minds, love for nature & the sea turtles and the dream of a Marine Park in Laganas. Our field work was on the nesting beaches, mostly Sekania, where we monitored the sea turtle population and protected the nests. We met many others, Greek and foreign volunteers, all of them environmentally aware at an international level.

Our adventures with the boat, the locals, my 2CV, the sea turtles, the volunteers became the bed time stories for my daughter Margarita and my son Themistocles. I was telling them these stories every single night.’

MARGARITA, his daughter, wrote

‘Sea turtles have been a part of my life for as long as I remember myself. The stories my father was telling us about Zakynthos made the sea turtles special and exciting to me. Our favorite bed time story was “Little Caretta caretta and the old Volkswagen” which describes in the simplest of ways what is happening in the bay of Laganas. Our mother, who is a school teacher, always tried- and still does- to get her pupils engaged with these magnificent animals informing about the threats to their survival. We were very lucky, my brother and I, to have been exposed to an awareness on environmental issues at such an early age. None of us has followed up with studies on Biology, but we do care about nature.


Last summer, at the age of 21, I decided to make a new step in discovering the world and myself. I volunteered in ARCHELON’s project in Zakynthos, all by myself, without a friend or acquaintance. In this project, I have lived three unforgettable weeks, maybe the most fulfilling of my life so far. Time was too short to get the whole experience, however, I got a taste from every aspect of the project, from public awareness to nesting beach protection, up to meeting the turtles in Sekania.

I can say with certainty that the work of volunteers is crucial for the success of nesting every summer and the conservation of the species as a whole. As for me, Margarita? Heat, fatigue, cold water in the shower or whatever else seemed to bother me just disappeared when the feeling emerged: the feeling that appears when you see a female turtle laying its eggs or a hatchling reaching the sea. I felt as part of a process of creation that I could never imagine before. I made real friends who live at the other end of the world and I cannot wait to meet them again next summer, same place.


I had the opportunity to experience the reality of my childhood’s bed time stories, as told by my father, and what this means to me cannot be described in words.‘



    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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