Greece Sea Turtle Conservation Short Term Internship

Join our educational sea turtle conservation internship in Greece’s Mediterranean coast and help us contribute to vital conservation efforts.


Program Information

Our short-term internship is the perfect opportunity to work alongside an international conservation team and make a real contribution to one of the most important Loggerhead sea turtle nesting areas in the region. Interns assist with research, conduct surveys to protect the nests and the turtles from predation and educate the local people about conservation issues. Join us for an insightful internship to gain practical, hands-on conservation skills and truly make a difference to the environment!

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Travel to the beautiful Kyparissia Bay in the southern Peloponnese of Greece and discover the local area whilst you learn more about the critical conservation efforts of these turtles. Our interns are based in the most important Loggerhead sea turtle nesting areas in the whole of Greece and have a unique opportunity to truly immerse themselves in protecting the environment and developing their own skills. The project is geared at providing long term benefits to the local environment and community.



Interns will engage in daily morning surveys to record nesting activity and protect turtle nests against predation by mammals and inundation by sea water. Furthermore, interns will inform overseas visitors and the local community about the conservation of these turtles. All our internships are geared at developing your leadership and role model skills, allowing you to develop a variety of soft and hard skills that will boost your marine conservation experience. GVI have been running community development, education, and conservation projects since 1997 and our highly experienced field staff will help you gain and improve vital skill sets to improve your future job prospects. This internship offers the opportunity for you to gain additional qualifications and experience in a conservation environment, giving you a fantastic starting point for developing your conservation career.

Highlights Include

Working with one of the most endangered species in the Mediterranean and discovering the beauty of Greece’s Mediterranean coast. You can look forward to the thrill of seeing turtles lay their eggs and watching the hatchlings head for the sea. Experience the Greek culture first hand in a beautiful area which you can explore in your free time; take a great first step towards your career in practical conservation or simply making a lasting one-off contribution to the preservation of endangered turtles.

 

Program Details

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Life on the Internship

Interns will be trained to participate in a variety of important tasks, as the work we do here is varied and interns will rotate around the different roles. During your internship you will spend time on the following tasks:

·       Turtle patrol (morning and night surveys)
·       Scientific data collection and analysis.
·       Camp duty
·       Bamboo harvesting (used to protect the nests)
·       Nest shade making (used to prevent hatchlings from getting disorientated)
·       Environmental education for the locals and tourists

Your accommodation will be in tents right next to the beach, where you will be able to hear the sound of the waves as you wake up in the morning. The campsite has a number of facilities, including a mini-market, a typical Greek restaurant and access to the wifi.
Interns will work hard, but will also have plenty of time to soak up the sun on the sandy white beaches or relax with other interns back at the campsite.

Project Details

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 internship tasks may include:

·           Patrolling the beach to locate new tracks and nests
·           Recording data and taking measurements
·           Elaborating the paperwork where the data is recorded
·           Installing protective nest grids
·           Nest relocation (if required)
·           Nest excavation (from August onwards)
·           Bamboo harvesting - assembling nest grids
·           Educating public about the project

Our Ethics

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.


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.


 

Impact Reporting

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.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conduct, 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.


Continual Development

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.


What's Included

  • 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
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Exploration

Optional Side Trips

Whilst not part of the program most interns will have the opportunity to visit the Villages of Giannitsochori an Elaia, and the towns of Kyparissia and Kalo Nero that are all very close to the campsite. Kalo Nero is a little town with a few lovely beach bars with stunning sea view where you can see one of the most beautiful sunsets in Greece. From the top of the Kyparissia castle the entire bay can be seen. On occasion the project staff may take interns to Turtle beach where it is sometimes possible to snorkel with turtles.

The Archaeological Site of Mystras is now a world heritage site. It was built as an amphitheatre around the fortress erected in 1249 and since then has been conquered, re-conquered, occupied and abandoned. Now only the medieval ruins remain.

Monemvassia is a well-known medieval fortress with an adjacent town, located on a small peninsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese near Laconia. Its remains include the defensive structures and the small adjacent town and Byzantine churches . Its name derives from two Greek words, ‘mone’ and ‘emvassia’, meaning "single entrance". Many of the streets are narrow and fit only for pedestrians. Areopoli is the second-largest town in Mani and is one of the few areas in Greece that was not under occupation rule. The inhabitants, in the past, built their homes like small fortresses in order to feel secure. Now you will find narrow streets, majestic tours, markets and a small port.

Further Travel Opportunities
Greece is a country with one of the most fascinating histories in Europe. If you have the available time and funds, then you should definitely try and explore it further. Possible side trips include relaxing on some of the island beaches, visiting the traditional villages of Metsovo and Kythira, taking in the ambience of Nafplio or Corfu Town, investigating the royal tombs at Vergina, and above all, seeing the ancient ruins at Delphi, the Acropolis and Olympia. Ferries depart from Gythio to Crete twice a week and from there it is possible to island hop back to Athens.

The Team

Sebastian Hoefer

Field Staff
Meet Sebastian, our enthusiastic nature-lover here in Greece. Sebastian studied biology in Berlin and is passionate about wildlife and conservation. He is part of a big wildlife conservation program in Berlin and coordinates his own project at the university. A few years ago he worked on similar projects at the very same beach where our projects are based now, so he knows the area and the projects quite well.

The travel bug has really bitten him and he's always planning his next trip. After going around Australia in a Land cruiser for 18 months he went on to travel all over Europe in a Volkswagen T3 for 15 months.  Steve Irwin was his childhood hero, "I remember looking up words in the dictionary when I was a kid to be able to ask him personally if I could help him with his amazing mission of protecting wildlife". This is still what Sebastian wants to do  – protect and give back to nature and all of it’s amazing creatures!

Helena Zepetes

Field Staff
Meet Helena, a GVI field staff member here in Greece! Helena has always had a love for the ocean and travelling since she was young. She first started off working with marine life in Greece where she worked with Loggerhead Sea Turtles. This led to her to work for GVI Greece and then in Jalova, Costa Rica where she worked with Green turtles and a wider variety of wildlife. There she explored her love for all life especially the Aracaris and Toucans, yet her heart still lies with the ocean.

This has recently lead to her becoming qualified as a Certified PADI Open Water Diver which will enable her to work alongside more marine life and help her improve her work as a keen marine conservationist. She wishes to expand her knowledge in the future and to carry on exploring the world one country at a time. She is still waiting to cross off swimming with Whale Sharks and Manta rays off her bucket list.

William Hayes

Field Staff
Meet Will, one of our knowledgeable staff members here in Greece. Will is a final year student at Durham University studying biology; he has had a strong passion for wildlife conservation his whole life and is very excited to work with GVI Greece.

He volunteered with GVI in Costa Rica before joining us in Greece and was really taken with how passionate and dedicated everyone at GVI was. Will is a big sports fan, specifically rowing and rugby, although as a Scotland fan that's often not very fun!

Quintin Bergman

Field Staff
Meet Quintin, he is part of our field staff here in Greece! Quintin loves to travel and study animals, after graduating with a bachelors in Wildlife Conservation he went to work on a Leatherback monitoring project on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

If not working, you can find him in or around the water and taking photos of any living creature. Quintin gets very excited when searching for personal new species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. He is always ready to go on a hike or try something new!

Victoria Lang

Field Staff
Meet Victoria, one of our awesome field staff members in Greece for this summer. Victoria has a degree in Environmental studies and has always had a love and passion for the environment and wildlife. She has been with GVI for over a year starting as an intern in GVI Costa Rica before moving on to a field staff position with both GVI Greece and GVI India.

Victoria has a passion for animal behaviour and would like to one day carry our studies here into animal behaviour and patterns. She loves marine life and the understanding of how that environment works and would like to further develop her knowledge in this environment and the species within this year in Greece.

Alyssa Kirkham

Field Staff
Meet Alyssa, also known as “Miz or Missouri”, one of our very enthusiastic staff for this upcoming season here in Greece. Miz has always had a passion for wildlife and sharing her knowledge with the world. Her entire childhood was filled with nursing orphaned rabbits, and opossums back to good health and releasing them back into the wild.

She aspires one day to open her own rehabilitation center in South-west Missouri. Miz has worked on a number of GVI projects including Costa Rica, India, and Greece. She has had the opportunity to work with 5 of the 7 species of sea turtles and hopes to get the opportunity to work with the remaining two in the near future!

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.

When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!

Ana Miguel

Project Coordinator
Meet Ana, our helpful project coordinator here in Greece. Upon finishing her PhD studies in Molecular Biology she decided to change the lab coat for the field and ran the largest sea turtle conservation program in Greece where she met and worked in close collaboration with GVI Greece, Mavrovouni.

Before joining us as project coordinator in Greece she ventured to work as a science coordinator at one of our conservation programs in Costa Rica. "Ever since I met the GVI team I decided I wanted to become one of them! She relocated from her home country, Spain, to work in Greece, ensuring that our turtle conservation programs run smoothly."

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  • 2019
  • 2020

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Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Herritage, 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.
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.