Turtle Conversation Supporter

Agency
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founded in 2011
Philip
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Coordinator | Philip
Coordinator | Philip
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Study and protect threatened Loggerhead Sea Turtles
Undertake hands-on conservation work alongside qualified field assistants
Increase your knowledge and experience in the conservation field
Enjoy the island experience of Kefalonia in your free time
Volunteer in a top European location
Protect endangered sea turtles through hands-on field work as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

Sea turtles nest along Kefalonia’s southern coast. To maximise the areas in which we can monitor, we have established two field stations at separate locations on the coast. Consequently, your volunteer work in Greece will take place in one of two locations. They are only a short 30 minute ferry ride between each other. Depending on which day you choose to begin the program, will dictate your placement setting as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer.

Argostoli – Your program start date for the Argostoli location is on a Sunday. Regarded as the capital town of Kefalonia, Argostoli is closer to the beach locations and nesting beaches. The town’s coastline is rich with short, narrow beaches and colourful cliffs. Most importantly, the beaches spread across a wide area and represent an important nesting habitat for Kefalonia’s sea turtles.

The field station base at Argostoli stretches over eleven beaches varying from 100 metres to 1 kilometre. We will work in sub-teams to conduct morning beach surveys to ensure all locations are covered. Additionally, the bay of Argostoli blends into the Koutavos Lagoon. The warm waters here become home to a number of sea turtles during the summer season. They will usually congregate in the harbour of Argostoli visible to conservation volunteers and tourists.

Lixouri – Your program start date for the Lixouri location is on a Tuesday. Established as the main town on the peninsula of Paliki, it is lined with long south-facing beaches. Nesting beaches are in abundance. Some have unusual characteristics including red sand and clay cliffs. Each brings its own risks and vulnerability. In short, the warm sandy beaches are a hotspot for loggerhead sea turtles to lay their nests.

On the sea turtle conservation project in Lixouri, you will patrol the nesting beaches for sea turtle tracks on the sand. Such tracks have been left by the female turtles that emerged on the previous night. Assess the tracks, verify the location of eggs and mark the location. Moreover, work with the field assistant to collect scientific data that is most useful for the protection of the nests. During hatching season, check the beach for hatching tracks and conduct nest inventories to assess each hatching success.

In terms of conducting field surveys, there are two main differences that exist between each field station location. In Lixouri, main nesting areas are patrolled through the night. This is done to spot, measure and tag the nesting female turtles. However, this is not the case in Argostoli where night surveys do not exist. For the reason that nesting in Argostoli takes place over a range of small beaches. Consequently, it is difficult to predict where the turtles will nest.

On the other hand, only adult turtle observation shifts take place in the harbour of Argostoli. Turtles concentrate here regularly and you can congregate with your fellow volunteers to monitor this endangered species. There are no adult turtle observation shifts in Lixouri.

Aside from these differences, your typical daily tasks on the Greece volunteer program will remain similar. Moreover, you can take the short ferry ride between each location in your free time. As a result, you can develop an understanding of the typical workday in each setting.

Typical day

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY

When you volunteer in Greece on the sea turtle conservation project, you will be protecting an endangered species. More specifically, you will be preserving the sea turtles of Kefalonia and their ecosystems. Practical measures to do this include surveying nesting beaches and protecting turtles’ nests, This extends to monitoring the population’s health, identifying threats and public awareness campaigns.

You will begin field surveys on the day after your arrival and orientation. Your first few days on the volunteer project will be full of hands-on learning. This will be under the guidance of experienced field assistants. Enjoy training and workshops to get acquainted with all aspects of the fieldwork you will be undertaking.

Beach Surveys – A core part of the fieldwork will be patrolling the beaches. That is to say, each morning you will find and protect sea turtle nests. Most importantly, you will walk the sand to look for fresh turtle nests. For the reason that you can then mark and measure the nests that were laid most recently. As a result, progress can be monitored throughout the incubation to hatching stage and accidental damage can be avoided. Nesting activity typically begins in the middle of May and runs through to late August. Therefore, this is the core period beach patrols take place when volunteering with turtles.

Hatching Rescue & Nest Protection – The nests typically hatch around two months after the eggs have been laid. Consequently, the hatching season usually begins in the middle of July and runs through to late October. You will continually monitor the nests to ensure they remain safe and away from danger. As the young turtles’ hatch, limit obstacles like light pollution and ensure they crawl safely to the sea. Conduct nest inventories to assess the hatching success of each nest.

Light Pollution Surveys – Asides from storms, light pollution represents the next biggest threat to sea turtle nests in Kefalonia. Lights from nearby sources can disorientate the turtles and make them crawl away from the sea rather than towards it. Conduct environmental studies to quantify light pollution and determine its source. Assess the risks to each nest and implement appropriate actions to prevent light pollution factors harming baby turtles. Engagement with locals and public awareness are also key factors.

Turtle Tagging – The mating season for the loggerhead turtles typically runs from April to May. During this time, volunteers usually focus on the tagging process. This is where you will collect measurements of the turtles and assess their overall health. A tag is attached to the turtle so we can track its movement.

Other Activities – There will be many other activities that you are involved in as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer. Conduct harbour monitoring as you observe the behaviour and record activity of sea turtles swimming around the bay. Enjoy a night shift rota as you keep watch through the night over the nests. If you are lucky, assist with a baby sea turtle release if eggs begin to hatch. Support with data entry and educate tourists on why sea turtle conservation is so important.

Field leaders will provide volunteers with a weekly schedule for each project location. As a result, volunteers will have a clear understanding as to what their daily tasks and project shifts are. You will rotate across the tasks to ensure your role is varied. As a result, you will build as much experience in each area of conservation as possible. Furthermore, you will get accustomed to each research method and fieldwork technique that is used. Most mornings will involve an early start. You will cycle to the nesting beaches to monitor the nests and conduct beach surveys. Afternoons are free to relax, explore the local area or simply take cover from the heat. Conservation work and field research will continue in early evenings with ad-hoc night shifts also a possibility. You will volunteer 6 days per week and you will either cycle or walk to your fieldwork setting each day.

Free-time activities

The conservation program runs daily from the start to the end of the sea turtle nesting season. As a result, participants volunteer six days per week to help with all the fieldwork activities required. You will have one day free to relax or travel further afield. In your free time, it is worth exploring the beauty of the island and the quaint towns that exist within it. As our volunteers will testify, the wider travel opportunities are extremely important to the whole experience and it is something we certainly recommend. Our local team is able to suggest activities, day trips and transportation but please note this is usually an independent experience outside of the core program.
Swimming
Sightseeing
Diving/
Snorkling
Shopping/
Souvenirs

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 06:00 - 12:00

What's Included

Services by Plan My Gap Year

Your fee includes both your registration fee and programme fees.

Your programme fee includes; accommodation, airport pickup, in-country orientation,  transport to projects, 24 hour in-country support.

Your registration fee includes; 24 hour UK based support, comprehensive volunteer handbook, live pre-departure webinars, 100% financial protection, regular programme inspection.

Airport Pickup at Kefallinia Airport

You should arrive into Kefalonia International Airport (airport code EFL) on either the Sunday or Tuesday depending on your field location. Where possible, your flight should arrive into Kefalonia before 6pm so that you can partake in the evening orientation. If you arrive on the Sunday you will be based in Argistoli. The accommodation is only a ten minute drive from the airport. If you arrive on the Tuesday you will be based in Lixouri. Your accommodation in Lixouri town involves a short drive and ferry ride across the bay from the airport. If you cannot find a flight that lands before 6pm then we can still arrange your pickup, but you will miss a core part of the program in the evening orientation. As a result, you may consider arriving the day before and sourcing your own accommodation for the night.

Accommodation

Shared Apartments

During your time on the Greece volunteer program, you will live in a shared apartment in Kefalonia. This will be in either Argostoli or Lixouri depending on your project location. In both cases, the shared apartments will be located near the nesting beaches we monitor. Subsequently, use your free time to swim, sunbathe and relax on the beaches. On a similar note, the team will arrange a social evening at the apartments once a week for volunteers to enjoy.

Apartments are located a short journey away from each main town, where you can find ATMs, supermarkets and local restaurants. It is usually a short walk from the accommodation in Lixouri to the main square. Alternatively, it will be a short taxi or bike ride in Argostoli. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way!
The accommodation is comfortable and clean, fitting up to 6 people per room in shared bedrooms with bunk beds. All accommodation comes equipped with electricity, cooking facilities, fridges, a communal area and hot water. The bathrooms are shared, each with a shower and western style toilet.There is a washing machine available for when you complete volunteer work in Greece. It costs around 3 Euros per wash and washing lines are also provided. Fans are not provided, but the accommodation is usually cool enough where this is not an issue. In the same vein, Wi-Fi is not available at the accommodation. However, you can easily pick up a local SIM card or head to a local cafe to get online.

During the hatching season, you may be required to sleep on the beach in both locations. As a result, you are encouraged to bring a sleeping bag for the two or so times you will do this. Similarly, mosquito nets are optional so you may want to consider bringing one of these.

Field assistants will also live at the apartments when you volunteer in Greece. This ensures you have round the clock support and security. You will either cycle or walk to and from your field work setting each day.

Guesthouse
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Kefallinia Airport (EFL) in Kefallinia. We assist you to find cheap flights to Greece.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Greece provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Greece you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Greece.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

Start dates: 1st & 3rd Sunday and Tuesday.

Airport pick- up service and transport to project are included in program fees. 

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
2 - 4 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$954
3 weeks
$1,164
4 weeks (max. stay)
$1,374
Average fees
$410 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Plan My Gap Year will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Plan My Gap Year during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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Turtle Conversation Supporter

Protect endangered sea turtles through hands-on field work as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer.

$410/week

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