This volunteer program gives you the chance to live in the beautiful Bay of Lakonikos in the southern Peloponnese, while working with a team of international volunteers to conserve and protect one of the most important loggerhead turtle nesting areas in Greece.
Your team will perform surveys every morning to record nesting activity and protect turtle nests against predation by mammals and inundation by sea water. Volunteers also provide important conservation information to overseas visitors and the local community.
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. 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.
GVI works in conjunction with our local partner to provide you with all the necessary training to contriburte meaningfully to this project. In addition, ample opportunities exist for you to explore the fascinating Greek culture and to enjoy the 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
Members of the volunteer team rotate through the different aspects of the project: 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 – be ready for the challenge!
Our volunteer team lives in tents right next to the beach. The campsite has a number of facilities, including a mini-market, a self-service restaurant and telephones. In between survey shifts you will have plenty of time to relax in camp or enjoy the beach. You will also have one day off each week which varies depending on the schedule.
GVI works in collaboration with a Greek organization that has been conducting research in this area since 1983, making it one of the oldest conservation projects in the Mediterranean.
Key tasks volunteers perform include morning turtle surveys during which you are:
- 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
You will also conduct environmental education for locals and tourist. This involves manning the beach information kiosk and educating public about the project, and also leading public awareness presentations at campsites/hotels in the local area.
The data your team collects not only contributes to coastal management plans in Greece but also towards the international strategy for the conservation of sea turtles.
How this program 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.
It is hard not to regurgitate all that has been said before – ‘how the time has gone’, ‘the amazing people’, ‘combining a beach holiday with volunteer work’. All these things are true. The one thing that will stay with me is the work with the hatchlings; watching them power down the beach, watching as they get battered by the waves but always manage to overcome them and of course the times I had the privilege to hold these tiny hatchlings. So thank you to everyone who has made this time one I will never forget.
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)