from 1,056€

Excellent 4.8rating (866)

Greece Turtle Conservation Volunteers

location
2 - 4 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Excellent 4.8  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Excellent response rate

Complete your reservation as soon as possible. This project fills up quickly and is already booked on certain dates.


Highlights

  • 80% of PMGY volunteers are 18-22 years old
  • Undertake hands-on conservation work alongside qualified field assistants
  • Protect threatened sea turtles & increase knowledge in conservation
  • Enjoy the island experience of Kefalonia in your free time
  • Volunteer in a top European location

Especially suitable

Age 18+
Singles
Groups

About the program

Protect endangered sea turtles through hands-on fieldwork on the island of Kefalonia. Partake in the ultimate research and conservation project.

Protect endangered sea turtles through hands-on fieldwork as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer. Monitor nesting beaches, conduct beach patrol surveys, tag turtles and complete hatching rescues. Enjoy a true research and conservation project adopting an established scientific methodology when ...

About the program

Protect endangered sea turtles through hands-on fieldwork as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer. Monitor nesting beaches, conduct beach patrol surveys, tag turtles and complete hatching rescues. Enjoy a true research and conservation project adopting an established scientific methodology when you volunteer in Greece.

BACKGROUND TO THE TURTLE CONSERVATION PROGRAM

An array of fauna and endangered species are nestled in the sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Kefalonia. Located on the outskirts of mainland Greece, the loggerhead sea turtle is one of the island’s most interesting endangered species. More specifically, they are the only marine turtle nesting in the whole of the Mediterranean.

As a result, Kefalonia is an important breeding ground for loggerhead sea turtles. Sadly, there are many threats that push the sea turtles of Kefalonia closer to the brink of extinction. Both human and natural threats damage and destroy many of the eggs laid on the island’s sandy beaches.

Furthermore, the turtles themselves are regularly disorientated, injured, or killed by a range of hazards. Examples include accidental boat strikes, swallowing plastic, light pollution or getting caught in fishing gear. These threats extend on a global level and endanger all turtle species including green sea turtles and leatherback sea turtles.

The loggerhead turtle can be distinguished by their large heads, reddish-brown shells and yellow/brown skin. In addition, they are one of the oldest species in the world. Our goal through this sea turtle conservation project is simple. To clarify, it is to study and protect the endangered loggerhead turtles of Kefalonia and their ecosystems.

Every year, sea turtles migrate to Kefalonia to forage and reproduce. Females nest in Kefalonia on average five times in one breeding season. The nesting activity itself mainly occurs at night throughout the summer months. Laying around 100 eggs each time, hatchlings will occur 2 months later and newborn turtles emerge. They will make their way into the sea at night when risks of predators are lower. In the interim, you and your fellow volunteers will work towards a primary goal of protecting sea turtle nests against accidental damage.

Volunteer opportunities provided by PMGY offer a platform to make a positive impact when you’re volunteering with turtles. When working as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. As a sea turtle volunteer, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your conservation work and the impact of your field research through a volunteer experience. Greece is our only European destination where you can embark on a wildlife conservation program project.

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 several 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. Since nesting in Argostoli takes place over a range of small beaches. Consequently, it is difficult to predict where the turtles will nest.

Observation shifts in the harbour of Argostoli focus more on monitoring the feeding and behaviour of the adult turtles. Turtles concentrate here regularly and you can congregate with your fellow volunteers to monitor this endangered species. Whereas harbour shifts in Lixouri focus simply on spotting turtles in the harbour where they are less common. The number of turtles seen in the Lixouri harbour seems to be increasing every year.

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 environment in each setting.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING WITH TURTLES IN GREECE

Project Focus - This program is very much focused on conservation activities rather than a traditional gap year/volunteer travel experience. This involves working a 5 day week with the potential of early morning starts or working on the beach during the night. There is plenty of downtime but the team does expect people to be punctual and join all their assigned shifts. You need to have a big passion for marine conservation and use this as the main motivation for joining the trip. Most participants have a wonderful experience but a small number of people can find the program to lack the cultural and travel balance that our other destinations offer.

Cycling - The fieldwork covers a range of nesting beaches that spans over a large area. The easiest way for volunteers to get from point to point is by bicycle. This is particularly the case in Lixouri where it is an 8km distance from the main town to the nesting beaches. Therefore, volunteers must be comfortable cycling a bike on hilly terrain and be able to walk the beaches on hot days. You will always cycle as part of a team leaving at scheduled times. Moreover, you can use your free time to hop on the bike and explore the local area further.

Volunteering with Friends - You are welcome to join the Greece turtle conservation volunteer program with a friend. You can highlight this in the special requirements of the online application. Subsequently, our team can ensure you stay in the same accommodation and project location. Moreover, they will do their best to give you both the same free days each week. However, it is important to note that there is a large range of fieldwork covered each day. Consequently, it is not always possible for our team to place you with your friend in each fieldwork setting.

Days Off - Your project work in Greece runs 5 days a week. This project runs 7 days a week, so volunteers are assigned different days off to ensure the project always runs. Therefore, it is likely that your days off will vary across the week and not necessarily be consecutive days off. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation on your days off. However, most participants will use this time to travel and explore the island. Check out our Greece Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your free days.



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 ...

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 on the animal volunteering project.

Beach Surveys - A core part of the fieldwork will be patrolling the beaches. Each morning you will find and protect sea turtle nests. Most importantly, you will walk the sand to look for fresh turtle nests. Since 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 2 months after the eggs have been laid. Consequently, the hatching season usually begins in the middle of July and runs through to late October (please do not expect to see any baby turtle hatchings until this point in the season). 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 5 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 five days per week to help with all the fieldwork activities required. You will have two days free to relax or travel further afield. In your free time, it is worth ...

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 five days per week to help with all the fieldwork activities required. You will have two days 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.

Requirements

Requirements

Minimum Age: 18 years

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.

Other Skills

You should also be physically fit, as volunteering overseas can be quite strenuous. If you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas then these must be declared to us during your online application.

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Plan My Gap Year

Program fees include:

  • Accommodation 
  • Airport Pick Up & Drop Off
  • Transport to Project
  • In-Country Orientation
  • 24 Hour Support

Airport Pickup at Kefallinia Airport

You should arrive into Kefalonia International Airport (airport code EFL) on either the Sunday or Thursday depending on your field location. Where possible, your flight should arrive into Kefalonia before 6pm so that you can partake in the evening orientation.

Accommodation

Volunteer House

During your time on the Greece volunteer program, you will live in a Volunteer House in Kefalonia. This will be in either Argostoli or Lixouri depending on your project location.

In both cases, the Volunteer Houses 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 houses once a week for volunteers to enjoy.

The Volunteer Houses 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 ride to Argostoli. You’ll be living with other participants 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, basic cooking facilities, fridges, a small communal area and hot water. As the hot water is powered by solar energy, this is usually only available during certain hours of the day. 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 Euro per wash and washing lines are also provided. Ceiling fans are provided in each room and the windows are equipped with mosquito nets. In general, the accommodation tends to be quite cool across most parts of the day. Wi-Fi is usually available in communal areas. However, this is limited to support instant messaging and social media and will be quite intermittent. 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. This can be rented locally for 10 EUR if needed. Similarly, mosquito nets are optional so you may want to consider bringing one of these.

Field assistants will also live at the houses 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 fieldwork setting each day.

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Food & Beverages

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. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

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. GET A QUOTE

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. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

This program starts on selected Sundays and Tuesdays between April and October

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

2 weeks (min. stay) 1,056€
3 weeks 1,464€
4 weeks (max. stay) 1,871€
Average fees 498€/week

Program fees

498€ per week 2 - 4 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

2 - 4 weeks

Deposit

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

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.


Meet your organization

Plan My Gap Year

Excellent 4.8 rating (866 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2011

Verified by Volunteer World

  Excellent response rate

Coordinated by

Josh

Spoken languages: English

About the project

Plan My Gap Year is an award-winning international volunteer placement organisation based in the UK.

Meet your organization

Plan My Gap Year is an award-winning international volunteer placement organisation based in the UK. We provide safe, affordable, need-driven volunteer programmes from 1 to 24 weeks in 11 countries worldwide.

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT US…

Founded by volunteers for volunteers, Plan My Gap Year works with local communities in the developing world towards long-term sustainable goals. We know there is no better way to travel and make a positive impact on the world.

We work extremely hard to ensure that our opportunities are affordable for everyone who wants to make a difference. So fees are 100% transparent, something our volunteers really appreciate.

Plan My Gap Year structured programmes create the perfect platform for you to see the world, meet like-minded people and engage in meaningful volunteer work. We have teams in the UK and in our host destinations who will support you 24/7 throughout your time with us. Furthermore, every project on our network is regularly risk-assessed by our UK team to ensure our set up is safe and that our volunteers are making a positive impact.

There is also a great social element to our programmes. Plan My Gap Year puts you in touch with all your fellow volunteers via Facebook before you set off. Our projects receive volunteers from around the world throughout the year, so even if you’re travelling solo, you’re going to meet heaps of people along the way. Plus you’ll have plenty of opportunity to travel the country with your newfound travel buddies – it’s all part of the PMGY experience!

So if you’re thinking of doing something a bit different on your next trip abroad, then why not drop us a line and find out what extraordinary things you could be doing.

AFFORDABLE & TRANSPARENT FEES

Our aim is to make our programmes accessible to motivated travellers irrespective of their financial capacity. Plan My Gap Year focuses on providing the core requirements of a volunteer programme: safety, structure and sustainability.

We are 100% transparent with our fees. That way you know exactly how much of your money goes towards the local community.

Compared to the large majority of volunteer organisations out there, even most charities and not-for-profits, PMGY’s opportunities are significantly cheaper. Furthermore, as our reviews will testify, our support service and structured programmes are second to none.

SAFETY & RISK MANAGEMENT

Your safety is our top priority. All of Plan My Gap Years' programmes have been personally inspected and vetted by the PMGY team – which is not an industry standard by any means. We carry out independent risk assessments on an annual basis and our local teams constantly review the safety precautions we implement. This includes regular staff and safety appraisals.

 Our local teams are made up of highly experienced volunteer coordinators. They have hosted international volunteers for many years and are prepared to react in the unlikely event of an emergency. Whatever the problem, big or small, our local teams are available around the clock.

As part of our commitment to your safety, we keep in constant communication with local embassies and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to ensure we can identify potentially dangerous situations and act upon them immediately. Our UK team are available 24/7 to assist volunteers and their families.

TRAINING & SUPPORT

We support our volunteers every step of the way. Before you go we will provide you with a detailed Volunteer Handbook, which will guide you through how to prepare for your trip. This Handbook contains literally everything you need to know – from what to pack, to how to obtain a visa, to local language guides.

Our experienced UK team are always available to provide assistance. Plan My Gap Year is always available to answer our questions and support you in anyway we can. 

On arrival, a member of our in-country team will collect you from the airport and help you settle in. Your orientation course will teach you everything you need to know about the country, how to stay safe and what to expect from your upcoming volunteer experience. 

Our local team are on-call 24/7. Whether you’ve lost your passport or just want some help in planning a weekend trip, our friendly in-country coordinators provide that safety net to ensure you are well looked after.

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL

Plan My Gap Years' responsibility is not limited to our travellers but also the projects we support. That is why all our volunteers must provide a Criminal Background Check before they travel.

It is essential that our projects are need-driven and sustainable. We work closely with our local partners to ensure that our volunteers are contributing to bring about long-term development.

PERSONAL TOUCH

We really know our programmes. Our UK team have stayed in the accommodation, volunteered at the projects and met the volunteers. We carefully assess each application we receive so that your personality and skills are suited to the project. Whatever your query, you can feel assured that you will be speaking to someone who can tell you exactly what to expect.

HAVING FUN

One of the best aspects of volunteering is meeting some amazing like-minded people. We place over 2,000 volunteers every year so wherever and whenever you go, you have the peace of mind in knowing you will be living and working alongside other PMGY volunteers. In many of our destinations, we run our own Volunteer House accommodation, which ensures all volunteers live together, and therefore guaranteeing a strong social element. In addition, our local team are always there to help you plan any independent travel or give you some tips for what to do at the weekend.

866 reviews · rating4.8

Safiyah Bobat rating4.6

2023 at Greece Turtle Conservation Volunteers

The 2 weeks in Greece was one of the best experiences of my life 🐢🐬 The island is beyond beautiful, lots of free time to go explore with the other volunteers and overall shifts were interesting and you felt like you were making a difference to the turtles. Cons include that the team leaders ...
Kathleen Quinlan rating5

2023 at Greece Turtle Conservation Volunteers

Everyone I met were so kind and friendly, was able to have so much fun on our days off exploring the island. The team leaders were so helpful and fun. Such an amazing time, would do it ...
Tereza Bartošová rating5

2023 at Greece Turtle Conservation Volunteers

Two weeks are too short! I met some amazing people, loved all the work around turtles - it is awesome to see people caring and to be a part of it. Definitely returning next ...
Melissa Brülhart rating4.4

2023 at Greece Turtle Conservation Volunteers

J’ai vécu deux belles semaines avec le programme Plan My Gap Year à Kefalonia en Grèce. Nous avions un programmes détaillé des deux semaines avec des activités facultatives le soir pour nous retrouver tous ensemble. J’ai beaucoup appris sur les tortues de mer, tout était très ...
Kristina Warras rating5

2023 at Greece Turtle Conservation Volunteers

The experience was amazing! I learned a lot and met some amazing people! I really recommend this trip to anyone who likes hands-on work and enjoys beibg around ...
Danique Van Den Hoek rating5

2023 at Greece Turtle Conservation Volunteers

PMGY really helped me a lot. It was my first time travelling alone and I was pretty scared, but PMGY made sure everything was taken care of and clear before my departure. Would definitely ...

Location

Europe > Southern Europe > Greece > Kefalonia

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