Turn off the lights on the nesting beaches of the sea turtle in Rethymno and Chania.

ARCHELON appeals for reduction of light pollution so that hundreds of bay turtles are not lost.

The first loggerhead hatchlings have arrived safely at sea. But this year, if lights on the beach are not turned off , the risk of finding disoriented hatchlings on the nesting beaches of Rethymno and Chania is increased, warns ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece.


Due to travel restrictions and protection measures of the participants, ARCHELON’s teams on the field are extremely small this year. Judging from the first numbers reported by the researchers, it is estimated that there are several nests that have not been identified which are expected to hatch "unannounced" in the coming weeks. But if the lights on the beaches do not go out after 11 pm for many turtles, it will be too late.


ARCHELON reminds that sea turtle hatchlings are "phototactic organisms", ie they are attracted to light. They usually hatch at night or in the early morning hours and move towards the water that mirrors the moon and the stars. However, artificial lights around or near the nests disorient the baby turtles and send them inlands, in the opposite direction from the sea, which is fatal in the battle for survival from the very first minutes of their lives.

This extraordinary summer saw a significant decrease in the number of participants in the ARCHELON projects than run on Crete since the 90’s. Despite the difficulties from the emergency situation due to the coronavirus, additional volunteers / researchers have reinforced the local teams of ARCHELON in Crete, in recent weeks, and they are surveying the beaches and recording nests. In Rethymno more than 120 nests have been marked and an effort is being made to protect all of them with the method of shading before they hatch. “We have examined last year's data” says Galimi Samilidou, ARCHELON’s project officer for Crete.” By comparison to what has been recorded so far this summer, it is estimated that there may be more than 60 nests that have not been identified, recorded and protected” she added. Similarly in Chania, the local team has recorded about 65 nests, but it is estimated that the total number may exceed 130.


This first trip of a hatchling to the sea is a very vulnerable phase for its survival. Let’s give nature the opportunity to find its way, turning off the lights this year. It is an initiative that promotes our values ​​and our ecological consciousness. And if we happen to witness such a stunning moment that the hatchlings come out of the sand, let’s act responsibly by notifying the Coat Guards of the area. They have information to act properly, in collaboration with ARCHELON. Helping a wild animal is not as obvious in its handling as we often think.

Contact telephones in case of nest hatching

Rethymnon Port Authority, 2831 022276, Chania Port Authority, 2821 098888


Galini Samlidou, Head of Programs of Crete ARCHELON, tel .: 6937352379, email: archelon.crete@gmail.com



    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.

    Read more

    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.

    Read more

    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.

    Read more

    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.

    Read more

    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.

    Read more

    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".

    Read more

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

    Read more

    Messages of love from the world turtle community!

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

    Read more

    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.

    Read more
  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.

    Read more
  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.

    Read more
  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.

    Read more
  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.

    Read more
  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!

    Read more
  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.

    Read more
1 out of 0
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Learn about our latest actions and find out about our programs and how you can help sea turtles!