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):
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.
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:
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.
‘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!’
‘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’