Based in the beautiful Bay of Lakonikos in the southern Peloponnese, you will live and volunteer with a team of international volunteers to conserve and protect one of the most important loggerhead turtle nesting areas in Greece.
The team will engage in daily morning surveys to record nesting activity and protect turtle nests against predation by mammals and inundation by sea water. Volunteers will also provide important conservation information to overseas visitors and the local community.
Hands-on work with one of the most endangered species in the Mediterranean; living in a quiet area near a traditional fishing town; exploring nearby nature reserves and admiring local architecture. The thrill of seeing turtles lay their eggs and watching the hatchlings head for the sea; experiencing Greek culture first hand in a beautiful area which you can explore in your free time; taking a great first step towards your career in practical conservation or simply making a lasting one-off contribution to the preservation of endangered turtles.
GVI’s work in conjunction with our local partner provides you with all the necessary training and opportunities exist for you to explore the fascinating Greek culture and sights of the surrounding local area in your free time.
GVI is real volunteering
Our projects are constantly evolving according to the needs on the ground at any given time. All the information displayed here will give you an overall feel for the project, but you should be prepared for any changes in the field when you travel. An evolving project means that we can constantly meet the needs and requirements of our partners, who dictate the work that we do. The way it should be.
Life on the Program
The work is varied, with all volunteers rotating around the different roles: turtle patrol, camp duty, bamboo harvesting (used to protect the nests) and an environmental education program for the locals and tourists. The days are long, it is hot and you will have to walk long distances (at least 5km) during surveys.
You will be living in tents right next to the beach and the campsite has a number of facilities, including a mini-market, a self-service restaurant and telephone. In between shifts you will have plenty of time to relax in camp or enjoy the beach. You will also have one day off a week which varies depending on the schedule.
GVI works in collaboration with a Greek organisation that has been conducting research in this area since 1983, making it one of the oldest conservation projects in the Mediterranean.
Key volunteer tasks may include:
- Patrolling the beach to locate new tracks and nests
- Recording data and measurements
- Installing protective nest grids
- Nest relocation (if required)
- Nest excavation (from August onwards)
- Bamboo harvesting - assembling nest grids
- Manning beach kiosk - educating public about the project
- Public awareness presentations - conducted at campsites/hotels in the local area
Data collected not only contributes to coastal management plans in Greece but also towards the international strategy for the conservation of sea turtles.
How this project makes a difference:
Protecting nests against predation by mammals and/or inundation by sea water ensures that as many hatchlings as possible are added to the population each year, while public awareness activities help people adopt friendlier attitudes towards the natural environment and possibly reduce their environmental footprint in the area.
I’ve met so many interesting people who have opened my eyes to ideas and places I hadn’t even thought about before. It seems ages ago that I saw my first hatchlings waddle out to sea under the equally spellbinding night sky with the Milky Way as their roof and the moon leading them. I have really enjoyed working for the turtles and it feels so good to being doing something for the world no matter how small my actions, every bit counts! I feel like a better person for this special experience. This has been a highlight of my life.
They say ‘times flies when you’re having fun’ and that’s exactly what I’ve had in Greece on the turtle project due to the perfect combination of people, turtles and relaxation. I also hope this will not be my last-time in a place where I can walk down the beach at 06.30am and watch hatchlings leave their nest and head towards the sea just as the sun comes up. Something I will never forget. Best wishes to all future volunteers.
Build Your Program
- Pre-departure support and discounted services
- 24-hour emergency phone
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- Arrival orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
- Welcome meeting
- Location orientation
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- 24-hour in-country support
What's Not Included
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal kit
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes
- Airport transfers (pick up and drop off)