BECOME A VOLUNTEER

Amvrakikos

 

Amvrakikos Bay is a semi-enclosed inland ‘sea’ in the northwestern part of Greece. It is made up of salt water entering from the sea, and fresh water and sediments deposited by the Arachthos, Louros, Vovos and Krikeliotis rivers. The Bay has a warm climate, shallow waters, many shallow lagoons, and marshlands. All these conditions favour the development of local flora and fauna, making the Bay one of the most important wetlands of Europe.

Data collected annually through ARCHELON research projects has confirmed a significant presence of sea turtles in the area, especially near the estuaries of the rivers in the northeast part of the Bay. Although no nesting activity has been recorded within the Bay area itself, possible nesting activity on the nearby beaches of western Greece has not yet been explored. Beginning in 2018 and continuing for the next couple of years, ARCHELON is conducting a new conservation project, the “Western Greece Nesting Beach Project”, which will investigate nesting activity on the nearby beaches of Preveza.

  • Volunteers must commit to one of the project periods as shown below. In the first part they will participate in the new Western Greece Nesting Beach Project, and the second part will be spent in the existing Amvrakikos Bay Project.
  • Volunteers can choose their period of participation from the following options:
Participation period Western Greece Nesting Beach Project Amvrakikos Bay Project
15/6- 15/7 15/6- 30/6 30/6- 15/7
30/6- 30/7 30/6- 15/7 15/7- 30/7
15/7-17/8 15/7- 30/7 30/7- 17/8
30/7- 30/8 30/7- 17/8 17/8- 30/8
  • Volunteers must be prepared to take part in a communal life, and to live and work in both populated and secluded areas, often as members of small teams and usually under harsh conditions.
  • Although relevant experience is not necessary, the ability to live and co-operate with people of different cultures and backgrounds is essential.
  • As with all ARCHELON projects, volunteers are expected to cover their travel and personal costs along with their food expenses.
  • The work can be demanding, so all volunteers must be in good physical shape.
  • Volunteers must know how to swim and be comfortable jumping into the sea from a boat.

Western Greece Nesting Beach Project

During the first part of your participation in the project, you will monitor the potential nesting activity on the beaches of Western Greece on a daily basis. Basic duties include:

  • ‘Patrolling’ the beaches (Morning observation), during which loggerhead reproductive activity is recorded.
  • Protecting the nests in situ (with ‘fencing’) from both human activity and/or predation by mammals, and relocation of nests, when necessary.
  • Constructing special ‘shading’ structures to guide hatchlings to the sea in areas where artificial light (from roads, shops, etc) may disorient the hatchlings when they emerge from the nest.
  • Excavating nests after the hatchlings have emerged, in order to estimate the hatching success.
  • Increasing public awareness of both tourists and local residents.
  • Driving, maintaining equipment, the Field Station and its facilities (i.e. cleaning, etc.) and various jobs such as painting and carpentry. Artistic skills such as drawing and photography can also be quite useful.
  • Following the protocol for dealing with injured or dead sea turtles.

Amvrakikos Bay Project

During the second part of your participation in the project, you will collect and record data on captured sea turtles, and then return them to the sea. You will receive training on how to safely and efficiently capture the turtles so that neither they nor you are overly stressed.

  • Every morning, a team of three will go out in the dinghy into the Bay for the entire day. They will be going around spotting turtles which are either visible under the water surface or popping their heads out to breathe.
  • One of the team members will dive into the shallow water, capture the turtle and return it to the dinghy, where it will be measured and tagged, relevant data will be recorded, and it will quickly be released back into the sea.
  • Sandwiches for the lunch break will be prepared by the team on board.
  • You might also participate in turtle distribution surveys, involving point surveys from set locations around the gulf.

During your free time, you can go swimming, snorkeling or explore the area. Other interesting activities are birdwatching in Amvrakikos, or an excursion to the cities of Preveza and Parga.

The fee for accommodation is included in the participation fee.

Western Greece Nesting Beach Project Amvrakikos Bay Project
The accommodation will be in an organized camp with the following communal facilities:
  • Tent
  • WC
  • Showers
  • Basic equipment for cooking
The accommodation will be in shared rooms in visitor centre of the Environmental Center of Koprena, with electricity and running water. Some cooking facilities will be provided.

The project runs from 15th June to 30th of August and participation is subject to the specific requirement stated in the relevant section.

Once approved, the Amvrakikos Project volunteers must pay a fee of €600 pay to ARCHELON. Returning fulltime volunteers are welcome with a reduced fee of €510.

Participation is arranged in the dates shown in the special requirements section. The arrival date to the project site is the same day of taking up duties. The departure day from the project site is the same day of the last day of duties.

Once approved, successful applicants will need to pay their volunteer participation fee depending on the dates of participation, as shown in the Overview Table. From 1/1/2020 fees are applied as shown in the Overview Table of Participation fees as well as the cancellation policy and policy for the change of participation dates. Relevant information can be seen here.

Volunteer participation fees cover the cost of accommodation, administration, training and accident insurance coverage (up to a limit) as well as the annual subscription to ARCHELON.

The participation fee is paid once (in a single payment i.e. no partial payments are accepted) and proof of payment needs to be sent to ARCHELON before the volunteer status is confirmed.

Please note that

  • You will need to be in the project one day before your first day of participation and you can stay one day after the last day of participation in the project.
  • The time of arrival in the project site needs to be sent by e-mail to the Volunteers Officer at least 5 working days before a volunteer arrives to take up duties.
  • Each volunteer gets an exclusive ARCHELON “volunteer” T-shirt upon arrival.
  • ARCHELON is not in a position to offer financial assistance. Volunteers are expected to cover their travel and personal costs along with their food expenses.
  • Because of the communal lifestyle, volunteers usually share living expenses, estimated at around €25-€30 per week. Anyone who does not wish to participate in the communal arrangement can estimate their expenses at about €15 per day.
  • In case of an internship, after submitting your on-line application, please inform the Volunteers Officer (volunteers@archelon.gr) of the requirements of the University well in advance and preferably before the end of February 2020. Please also note that no scientific data from this project can be used for any report you may have to write.

My dream always was being able to work with the marine animals, and learn it more on them. When the opportunity to become volunteer for the project "Amvrakikos" of the association ARCHELON tea Sea Turtle protection Society of Greece was given to me it was like a dream which becomes a reality. The project is situated in Amvrakikos bay a protected area where we can find a big concentration of sea turtles. Every day we went on the sea with a boat to catch sea turtles, measure them, tag them and take a tissue sample, to help the scientists establish a census and a follow-up of the sea turtles. All this in the good atmosphere because this project is constituted by a small group of 5 volunteers who live and work together during two weeks what allows to make strong links! But this project is not only the work, it's also a big human experience, people while coming from everywhere in the world with the same passion which lives together hanging two weeks. In the middle of nowhere in a beautiful place with for only neighbor the nature and a taverna. After the day with the sea turtles we can have a drink around fried fishes and speak about our passions, of our experiences and the life generally in front of the bay. This experience is and will stay one of the best of my life, I learned so much about my passion and it's give to me to meet new people and new wonderful friends! And he (it) is on that I would return to it one day.

Andréa Briançon, France


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