The project site is a 10 minute walk from the village of Giannitsochori, a small and traditional village in the municipality of Zacharo, southern Elis. It is situated in the narrow coastal plains along the Ionian Sea, 2 km north of the mouth of the river Neda, at the foot of the western extensions of the mountain Minthi. It is a known beach resort with amazing Greek historical ruins close by.
HomeProgramsSea Turtle And Marine Conservation Teen Volunteering In Greece
Explore historic Greece when you join a team of international teen volunteers conserving endangered loggerhead turtles which nest on the white sand beaches of Giannitsochori. Record nesting activity and protect hatchlings from predators as they make their first journey to the ocean.
This project has been specially designed for those looking to volunteer, but are aged between 15 and 17 years old. Throughout this project, volunteers will have supervision, training, and world-class leaders in the field who have been chosen for their mix of relevant experience and ability to mentor and inspire young adults.
Based in Giannitsochori, you will live and work with a team of international volunteers and staff to conserve and protect one of the most important loggerhead turtle nesting areas in Greece.
The team will engage in daily morning and night surveys (depending on nesting activity) 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.
You will also have a weekend to enjoy some cultural activities in the surrounding area, a beautiful and historic region of Greece known for its mythological history of heroes and their quests.
Hands-on work with one of the most endangered species in the Mediterranean
Seeing turtles lay their eggs and watching the hatchlings head for the sea;
Exploring nearby nature reserves and admiring the local architecture
Experiencing Greek culture first hand in a beautiful area which you can explore in your free time
Taking your first steps towards your career in conservation and making a lasting contribution to the preservation of endangered turtles.
If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.
We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.
Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.
Follow GVI Giannitsochori's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.
When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from their initial contact with us, all the way through their program, and even afterwards, when they become part of GVI’s Alumni network.
Flight chaperoning services are available for all our under 18 participants. To book a chaperone simply speak to one of our enrolment managers. Upon arrival at the airport, participants will be greeted by a member of our in-country staff, who will be wearing a GVI t-shirt or carrying a GVI signboard, and will always be wearing a friendly smile. From there, participants will journey to their accommodation and meet up with other volunteers in their group to start their GVI adventure.
Meet The Team - Senior Field Management
Regional Director for the Seychelles and Greece
This is Chris. He is GVI’s Regional Director for both the Seychelles and Greece. He joined GVI over ten years ago, starting our as a Science Officer based in Mexico. After this he transferred to the Seychelles.
Chris has had an interesting and varied upbring. He is from the UK, heis half French, but grew up in Hong Kong. These early years of Chris’s life is what fueled his passion for travel.
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
GVI’s programs in Giannitsochori work in collaboration with Archelon, a local Greek organisation that has been conducting research in this area since 1983. This makes it one of the oldest conservation projects in the Mediterranean, and an important partner of ours.
We work to safeguard the sea turtles and their breeding sites on the coast of Greece, which is done by monitoring nests and turtle activity, collecting data and creating structures to protect nests. In so doing we can create awareness in the local community and increase their protection.
This allows us to offer support to our local partner, assist in the conservation of these endangered sea turtles, and to address many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as #14 – Life Below Water, #15 – Life On Land, #17- Partnerships For Goals and #11 – Sustainable Cities And Communities.
Our Partners In Giannitsochori
GVI Giannitsochori Long-term Objectives:
1. Protecting and relocating 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.
2. Public awareness activities help people adopt friendlier attitudes towards the natural environment and possibly reduce their environmental footprint in the area.
3. Recording data contributes towards coastal management plans in Greece as well as the international strategy for the conservation of sea turtles.
GVI’s ILM Youth Leadership Certificate
GVI’s teen programs are designed to teach under 18s a range of skills including cross-cultural competency and how to function effectively as part of a team. However, possibly the most career enhancing skill they teach teens is that of leadership. Our teen programs are so effective at achieving this that they are all endorsed by The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), a research body consisting for over 30,000 leadership professionals. This additional certification can be requested for any participant who has completed a GVI teen program.
ASDAN Universities Award
The Award Scheme and Development Accreditation Network (ASDAN) Universities Award is an internationally-recognized certification which can be requested for any participant who has completed a GVI teen program. The award can be added to personal statements to boost college or university applications. The course involves introducing students to exploring skills like global awareness through volunteer travel and career paths through work activities.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
Young British nationals looking to earn their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and improve their employability can use GVI’s teen programs to complete several of the required components like volunteering, physical fitness, skills-development, completing an expedition, and learning how to thrive in a residential context. The Duke of Edinburgh Award can be used to enhance your personal statement on your UCAS application.
Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.
Spirituality and Religion
The official religion of Greece is Eastern Orthodoxy, which is the practiced by the majority of the population, who belong to the Greek Orthodox Church.
Cooking and Dancing
A large part of Greek cuisine features fresh Mediterranean ingredients, often featuring staples such as pita bread, olive oil, and feta cheese. Some of the traditional dishes Greek food is known for include moussaka, tzatziki, the classic Greek salad, spanakopita, and souvlaki. Greece is a food lovers delight, with a rich selection of tastes to be enjoyed.
Traditional Greek folk music incorporates popular songs and music from across Greece and its islands. This music is often used by Cretan dancers in their performances and is danced on special occasions by Greek families.
Greece has a thriving tourist souvenir industry, and make many locally made souvenirs such as hand woven carpets and rugs, beautifully decorated jewelry and leather items. Greece is also known for producing the highest quality virgin olive oil and olives.
The Greek people’s most notable holiday is the celebration of Greek Independence Day on 25 March. There are also many festivals throughout the year, such as the Patras Carnival and Athens Festival.
Greek – This is the official language of Greece and it’s people and is spoken by roughly 13.4 million people across the world.
Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.
We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.
Our 10 Ethical Commitments
Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects
We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.
Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes
We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.
We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.
Working Against Dependency
We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.
Responsible Exit Strategies
For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.
Clear Roles & Specialized Training
We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.
Respect for all
In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.
We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.
Transitioning from the Orphanage Model
We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.
Child and Vulnerable adult policies
We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.
As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.
However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.
‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.
We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.
Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’
Parent Info Pack
Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:
Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office. Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios. Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page. Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.
Support & Safety
We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.
Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.
Upon arrival at the airport, participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. The minimum staff to participant ratio on GVI’s programs is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.
It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.
As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.
The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.
Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.
24-hour emergency phone
24-hour in-country support
Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
All necessary project equipment and materials
All necessary project training by experienced staff
Dedicated project leaders
Extensive pre-departure service including packing lists, fundraising advice, advice on travel arrangements, a thorough pre-departure orientationAdventure and cultural activities
Long term experienced staff
Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)