A great opportunity to volunteer in ARCHELON through the European Solidarity Corps (ESC)
Greece hosts about 90% of the nests of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in the EU every summer and bears a unique responsibility amongst the EU member States for the conservation of this species. The awareness of the threats that sea turtles face in the Mediterranean led ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, to the establishment of ARCHELON’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center, 25 years ago. The Centre is one of the many places where young people can volunteer through via European Solidarity Corps (former European Voluntary Service (EVS) program).
The Rescue Centre receives an average of 70 injured or sick sea turtles per year from all over Greece. When a sea turtle is fully rehabilitated, it is released back to its natural habitat, the sea. The facilities are located in Glyfada, near Athens and operate year round with a few specialized staff and about 60 full time volunteers. Its functions are rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles, public awareness and educational activities. Volunteers from abroad are working together with part time volunteers residents of neighboring areas in taking care of the turtles, maintain the facilities and talking to visitors. They are all forming the Rescue Centre Community together!
The sea turtles treated by volunteers including the ESC part of the team, were more than 70 and around 7000 visitors were informed about the Centre’s work, at that period of time.
Below are shown some of the written and recorded testimonies of this year’s ESC volunteers’ experiences:
Danielle Krohn, Navigatorcentrum, Sweden. (September-November 2018)
Like many others I wanted to try something new and through an organization in my hometown I found ARCHELON that really caught my attention.
Turtles have always been fascinating to me, and, believe it or not, I had never seen one until I volunteered at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Athens. Thanks to EVS I could finally see one, work with them and learn about their behaviors.
I really enjoyed my time there and this is so far one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had. It was my first time to travel outside Scandinavia too, so it was both exciting and scary at the same time for me. As a volunteer at the Rescue Centre, I learned to do treatments on the turtles, to feed them and to do cleaning both of the turtles and their tanks.
I had the opportunity to be on some turtle releases as well and followed the turtle on its way back into the sea again. It is an amazing and difficult to explain a feeling that everyone should experience.
I really recommend to apply to ARCHELON not only for the amazing volunteer work that’s going on there, but also for the great memories and meeting new people from all around the world that you will have with you for a lifetime.
Erik Olsson, Navigatorcentrum, Sweden (November 2018 - January 2019)
Hello, my name is Erik Olsson, I’m 19 years old and come from Sweden.
I chose to volunteer in Greece at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of ARCHELON. I always had an affinity for wildlife, marine wildlife in particular. As soon as I heard of the project it sparked a childlike feeling of curiosity, and I knew I had to go.
At first, being the only Swede and only male, I found it difficult to fit in with the other volunteers. I struggled with cultural miscommunication between other nationalities. But, time passed and cultural gaps became less and now I consider them to be great friends. After two months of volunteering, it will definitely be difficult to say goodbye and I will miss them deeply.
I must say that there is a lot of hard work at the Rescue Centre, but there has been so many great moments and lots of laughter as well. The volunteering experience has been great for me. I definitely recommend most people to go abroad and try it. In fact, I am considering volunteering again soon.
Two more volunteers expressed their feelings about their volunteer experience in a different way. Please see below the video of:
Marine Divay, ADICE, France (October 2018 – April 2019) and Xenia Viesti AGENCE NATIONALE POUR L’INFORMATION DES JEUNES, Luxemburg (September 2018 – March 2019):
Last but not least, ARCHELON’s current volunteer through ESC, Jade Rhodes from Leeds Beckett University, tells her story about volunteering at the Rescue Centre:
Jade Rhodes Leeds Beckett University (June – September 2019)
I wanted to volunteer with ARCHELON because I had heard a lot of success stories from previous volunteers. I did my research on ARCHELON and I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of the team in Glyfada, Greece.
I chose to work with sea turtles because 5 out of 7 species of sea turtles’ population is decreasing and I knew that I wanted to be a part of changing this, and to be able to educate others on how they can help the cause as well.
My experience with ARCHELON, to date, has been incredible. I have been on pick-ups to collect injured sea turtles, I have done treatments, cleaned turtles and tanks, but also, as a personal project, I have worked hard to keep an injured sea turtle healthy and safe. Yet, the most satisfying moment of working with ARCHELON was my presence on releases. Seeing a release is the best experience of working with ARCHELON because you can see that all the hard work that you put in was really worth it since it has changed this animal’s life forever and given it a chance it, otherwise, would not have had.
I chose to participate in EVS because I felt that it would give me the best experience possible. Therefore, I am very grateful that I was given this opportunity.
ARCHELON The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece is accredited to run projects under Erasmus+ Volunteering and the European Solidarity Corps.