I've been very lucky to discover the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, and the amazing conservation work they do over at Archelon. I responded to their call for volunteers.
‘Enthusiastic and committed volunteers are required to work at ARCHELON's sea turtle conservation projects in Greece…’ http://www.archelon.gr/eng/volunt.php
In July, I spent thirty days on the island of Zakynthos, where the first National Marine Park for sea turtles in the Mediterranean was established in 1999. We, the volunteers, took our orders from the Management Agency of the NMPZ (National Marine Park of Zakynthos). We implemented protection measures for the preservation of the sea turtles and helped monitor and protect the Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta Caretta), their nests and hatchlings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3998L_925w
This was an extremely eye-opening experience, showing me that most of the perils that this endangered species faces, are man-made and largely to do with plastic, fishing and motor boats speeding across the sea. In this clips, you can see Archelon volunteers finding a nest on the beach. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZqbGzLBNYY
Why is it that we don't hear about these things? David Attenborough's Blue Planet 2 has inspired such a positive bout of change already, I strongly believe on keeping the ball rolling and improving our relationship with the environment.
This year, 2018, Zakynthos is nearing the record for the most nests ever recorded and monitored in the 30 odd years this non-government funded and volunteer run charity has been running.
UNFORTUNATELY, they have had a low number of volunteers for the latter half of the season (August to October). Having been there for July and having been trained to be more useful, I decided to go back and see the project through with Archelon until the end of the monitoring season in mid-October.
Through Crowdfunder in July, I raised £250 from eleven kind sponsors, who I have thanked. It gave me enough to fly back to Zakynthos. Because I have more experience, I have been flown to the Peloponnesus, to Kyparissia Bay, due to a shortage of volunteers. We, the volunteers, will help to protect nests against predation from foxes and other mammals, and assist in the running of the established Nature Information Centre of Agiannaki, Kyparissia Bay.
I am looking to crowdfunding again to keep me going for the next five weeks, so that I can continue to ‘do my bit’ in making sure that as many as possible of these peaceful creatures will get the protection and the existence they need.
Naturally I have spent my own money, earned through working part-time at a supermarket whilst at music academy until June 2018.
SO, FORGIVE ME for asking again. ANY donations would be greatly appreciated, and I will personally contact and thank anyone who is kind enough to do so.
I hope to hit the £400 mark which would keep me fed and pay for my flight home again around October 15th.
Here is a TED-Ed video for information on a Sea Turtle's life cycle and the effect of our impact on them through waste, etc.
I would like to amend this video because a loggerhead turtle with lay 80-100 eggs per nest and will lay 2 to 3 nests every 2 to 3 years, so the figures are even more slim than mentioned in this video. This video shows tourist, snorkeling alongside the turtles.
Since arriving here in early September, There have been many 5am starts, with many kilometres of beach surveys to cover, multiple hatched nest excavations to perform, documenting disease/worms/fungus and survival rate. I have performed presentations at various hotels to inform, raise awareness and collect donations from the general public and tourists alike, as well as help to train newer volunteers how to do this as well. There have been night shifts in which we've collected hatchlings from heavily light polluted areas, escorting them to parts of the bay where they can follow the moon into the sea, free of the distractions on the roads. There has been kiosk work, where much time has been spent, further informing the public of what is going on. Monitoring and measuring on the WWF protected beach of Sekania. All along, we volunteers camp outside for the entire duration of our stay, living simply with cold water showers and long days for all.
To find out more about the society I worked with, the dangers that turtles face, to donate directly to the charity, check out their website: http://www.archelon.gr/index_eng.php
Maybe you would like to go one better by joining us out there in 2019?
Thank you for your time,