Volunteering with ARCHELON
As far as I saw, for the most part, people who came to an ARCHELON summer field project stayed for a month or two. In my experience, the time spent in isolation from the outside world and surrounded by a close group of like-minded people had a great influence over my mindset about many different things. For me, things such as personal growth or gaining patience and understanding for others came hand-in-hand with a “basecamp” lifestyle. This kind of experience is invaluable in all walks of life.
During different times of the season, the monitoring of the nesting beaches involved different activities. Much of the monitoring workload consists of tagging turtles and finding nests (beginning to the middle of the season) or protecting nests/hatchlings and performing excavations (middle to end of season). Needless to say there was always a lot to do and the work was always interesting. As well as monitoring, it’s of equal importance to raise public awareness about the conservation efforts that are ongoing on the nesting beaches. And last but not least it’s very important to attempt to raise funds for the project to continue to run in the future.
ARCHELON summer projects are not just a financial investment in a charity that lies close to the hearts of the volunteers. Nor are they merely an investment of time in order to keep projects running efficiently. What makes people want to return year after year is the emotional investment made by each individual. Protecting wildlife and local ecosystems from anthropogenic threats alongside a team of dedicated volunteers, as well as wardens of National Parks (such as the wardens for the National Marine Park of Zakynthos) can invoke a strong emotional response. There were aspects of conservation that I witnessed during my time in Zakynthos that clearly took people by surprise. Seeing, first-hand, the vastness of the ecological and sometimes even political issues that affect our local and global ecosystems no doubt would take its toll over time. But no matter what, the resilience of the team of volunteers and Park
Wardens was always apparent. Volunteers who allowed themselves to really become involved felt great pride in each little win and, unfortunately, carried the losses equally deeply.
Once the end of the project was near, I realized that I was by no means ready to leave this line of work behind me quite yet. The remedy for my situation was simple. I began to volunteer in ARCHELON’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center for the next month. It turned out to be another way to get even more deeply involved in the organization and gain an understanding of the real need for constant fundraising and increased public awareness. The Rescue Center, located in Athens, provided me with great motivation to keep doing as much as possible for the organization. It’s nothing short of amazing to work up close and personal with the beautiful Caretta caretta.
During my time in Zakynthos there were a number of stranded turtles (injured or deceased sea turtles that wash up on beaches). ARCHELON is responsible for collecting any turtles on the beaches of Zakynthos during the time of the field projects. The Rescue Center is then responsible for treating and rehabilitating any injured turtles found on whole coast of Greece. During my time in Zakynthos, I was helping out on a stranding call for a live injured turtle. Once we brought the turtle safely back to basecamp, we eagerly awaited its transport to the Rescue Center that evening. This turtle ended up becoming very special to me personally. To respond to a rescue call and only a few weeks later be responsible for treatment, cleaning and feeding of this wild injured animal was one of the most moving and fulfilling parts of my time with ARCHELON. I would highly recommend to all people with a love for animals and nature to consider volunteering their time with ARCHELON, both in the Field Projects and especially in the Rescue Center.
I would like to sincerely thank all of my fellow volunteers during my time in Zakynthos for welcoming me, teaching me so much and for life-long memories. Thank you to the wonderful leading team of 2017 for the amazing work they put in. And finally, thank you to ARCHELON as an organization for making all of this rewarding work a possibility.
Aaron McCormick ARCHELON Volunteer
One year LIFE EUROTURTLES
Increased protection of marine turtles on land and at sea with new Natura 2000 sites
- OUR NEWS27/09/2023
World Tourism Day 2023: Are there sea turtle-friendly hotels in north Crete?
But why is tourism important to sea turtles?
- OUR NEWS15/09/2023
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!
- OUR NEWS17/08/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS07/08/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS01/08/2023
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”.
- OUR NEWS21/07/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS18/07/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS04/07/2023
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…
- OUR NEWS22/06/2023
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…
- OUR NEWS16/06/2023
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!
- OUR NEWS15/06/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS07/06/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS07/04/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS28/03/2023
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.
- OUR NEWS24/03/2023
We learned with deep sadness the passing away of Gail Schofield, a pronounced sea turtle researcher and former ARCHELON volunteer. Read more…