Why are ARCHELON’s projects international?

For 40 years now ARCHELON has been protecting and monitoring the reproduction and feeding grounds of sea turtles in Greece. This could not have been achieved without the irreplaceable contribution of the 500 volunteers who come from all over the world and take part in the 8 sea turtle conservation protection projects at the nesting beaches.

Below is a chart that shows the different nationalities of the volunteers who took part in ARCHELON’s projects during the years 2020 to 2023. The largest percentage of volunteers were from France (35.9%), United Kingdom (20.9%), Germany (11.5%) and Greece (10.7%). But it is not just the nationalities with the most participation numbers that matter. Our joy is even greater when we welcome volunteers from other destinations, often far away. "Other" nationalities in the chart include the countries of Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal.

Volunteers nationalities.png

But why are the projects of ARCHELON International? The answer to that is simple: marine turtles are species that migrate to their wintering, feeding, and nesting habitats across national jurisdictions and international waters. The threats they face include overfishing, plastic pollution, climate change, and loss of nesting habitat to coastal tourism development, which are all related to pressures mostly beyond national borders.

Inviting people from all over the world to join the projects helps demonstrate that the turtles nesting in Greece are a part of the global and Mediterranean natural heritage. “As the sea turtle nesting beaches are under pressure from tourism development, it is important to influence hotel owners and local communities in favor of the turtles. Volunteers not only record and protect the nests, but they also help inform and engage tourists, who influence the local economies.”, says Aliki Panagopoulou, the Research Coordinator of ARCHELON.

A simple, but necessary, rule for all the ARCHELON's Field Stations is that everyone must communicate in English. “The most important requirement for volunteers who would like to join the ARCHELON projects is to know and speak English at all times. By doing this, everyone can work together on the project, talk to tourists in the kiosks, make presentations in hotels, and, most importantly, no one feels left out” says the Volunteers officer, Fryni Papanikolaou.

ARCHELON's volunteers doing a public awareness shift in the ARCHELON information kiosks in Kyparissia Bay and Laganas Bay

Speaking in a different language than your native, even with people from your own country, helps you to get out of your comfort zone and think things from a different perspective. “It's common for volunteers to be shy and hesitant to speak English in the beginning. But already within a couple of days, volunteers see a huge improvement in their ability to speak English and a boost in their confidence”, adds Fryni. Needless to say, native English speakers usually help to bring together the whole team of a project.

volunteers happy.png

Speaking English while carrying out fieldwork or public awareness activities and interacting with each other in the campsites is essential to the projects. So, if you plan to come to the sea turtle conservation projects for the nesting season of 2024, brush off your English- if you’re not a native speaker- and make sure you are ready to be part of an international ARCHELON team!

Check our volunteering projects here Have you ever wondered what is happening in one of ARCHELON’s sea turtle protection projects? Get a taste by watching our short film



    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

    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

    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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. OUR NEWS

    World Tourism Day 2023: Are there sea turtle-friendly hotels in north Crete?

    But why is tourism important to sea turtles?

    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!