BECOME A VOLUNTEER

Crete - Chania

 

The project involves 14 km of nesting beach on the north western side of the island, very close to the medieval town of Chania. ARCHELON volunteers protect and monitor the nesting female turtles, the nests and hatchlings, and promote cooperation with local communities, authorities and the tourist industry in order to ensure the long-term conservation of the area. In addition, ARCHELON volunteers inform approximately 25,000 local residents and visitors each year about sea turtles and the threats to their existence on the island of Crete.

From late May to late September every year, volunteers of all ages and backgrounds from all over the world participate in ARCHELON’s sea turtle conservation program in Chania. The activities vary depending on the season (nesting season: mid-May through mid-August, hatching season: mid-July through mid-September):

  • Patrolling’ the beaches every day (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 by operating a seasonal information station in the old city of Chania, manning information tables, and organizing presentations in hotels or other places.
  • ‘Patrolling’ the beaches during the day to raise bathers’ awareness of the importance of the nesting beaches.
  • Driving, maintaining equipment, maintaining the camp 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, if necessary.

There are many activities to choose from in your free time: Visit the old city of Chania, swim or snorkel at the wonderful sandy beaches of the area (including the beach in front of our campsite), hike along the Crete section of the E4 European Long Distance path, explore the famous gorges and mountains of Crete (Agiofarago gorge, Samaria gorge, Asterousia mountains, White mountains, Psiloreitis etc), visit the archaeological sites and the famous southern villages and beaches of Chania (Falasarna, Elafonisi, Balos Lagoon, Paleochora, ChoraSfakion, Frangokastello etc).

Volunteers will live in the campground designated by ARCHELON for the duration of their participation in the Project. The ARCHELON Research Field Station in Chania is based in an organized camping which is close to the beach and around 3.5km from the town of Chania.

  • Accommodation costs are included in the Participation Fee.
  • 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.

Within the campground, there is an area that is used exclusively by the ARCHELON volunteers and contains all the equipment and facilities needed for daily life.

The camping provides the following services:

  • WC
  • Wi-Fi Internet
  • Self-service launderette
  • Showers with warm water
  • Individual or communal deposit boxes (not free)
  • Swimming pool
  • Bus tickets (cheaper than buying them on the bus)
  • Garden Restaurant
  • Roof Garden Restaurant
  • Mini-market (where you can buy all the necessities - including fresh bread and milk - on a daily basis).
  • Poolbar

Sea turtles come into the bay to nest in early May, together with the first tourists. The first team will be expected to kick off the project and the ARCHELON Field Station on the 11th of May. Monitoring, nest protection and public awareness activity will get busier every day up to mid-June.

From mid-June to about mid-August, everything escalates: final number of nests is reached, numbers of visitors on the beaches go up fast and reach their peak, and first hatchlings are out. Volunteer numbers need to be reinforced for this very busy period.

From mid-August to end of September hundreds of hatchlings reach to the sea with the help of volunteers and this an excellent time for public awareness and conservation work combined. The Field Station and the project are closed in the end of September.

Participation is arranged in full weeks, each to be calculated as 7 days from the date of taking up duties (e.g. if starting on a Tuesday, last day of duties will be Monday). The arrival date to the project site is the day before taking up duties. The departure day from the project site is one day after 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

  • Greek speakers are welcome and a specific number of them will be accepted with a reduced volunteer participation fee under the same rules & cancelation policy, see link.
  • Families are welcome to join: participation fees for 3 days to 1 week are 50€/parent, 30€/child. The fees do not include accommodation, we recommend to book and pay privately in the same camp site with the ARCHELON Field Station. See more.
  • 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 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.

‘After hours and hours of travelling home, I woke up and for a moment I thought I was still in my tent. My house feels bigger and there is no mr choco in the kitchen. Everything feels so surreal... it's like I woke up from a dream. Thankfully I made sure to cover up all my stuff in dirt and drag this dirt home so that I know it all actually happened... I guess I'll just have to keep coming back until I leave for Athens just to make sure everything I lived in the project was real. Thank you all guys of ARCHELON for the amazing memories, take care of the baby turtles!’

Maria, Greece

After I arrived safely home, it was hard when I woke up the first morning and realized I was no longer living in the campsite and didn't have morning survey... I enjoyed my time with ARCHELON so much, so thank you everyone for sharing this amazing experience with me. I hope I'll see you again. Keep up the good work’

Malou, France

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