• Conserve endangered sea turtles in Kefalonia, Greece
Gain hands on experience as you contribute to important research
Be part of an international team
Protect loggerhead turtles in Greece!
Kefalonia is one of the most important locations for loggerhead sea turtles to breed. Unfortunately, they are now facing many threats that are pushing them closer to the brink of extinction.
The programme's goal is to study and protect the endangered sea turtles of Kefalonia and their ecosystems. To achieve this goal, we need help from you and other volunteers to survey all nesting beaches to identify, study, and protect the turtles’ nests, to monitor the population's health and behaviour and to identify threats.
With more and more holidaymakers heading to the island, sea turtles are now also facing a new problem. With hotels, apartments, restaurants and other venues being built to cater for the new tourists, light pollution is dramatically increasing and disrupting their normal behaviour and navigational capabilities.
You will be based at one of two research stations, living and volunteering close to the beautiful beaches – the most picture-perfect backdrop!
What will be your role?
You will play an integral role within the small team (generally around 20 other volunteers) where you will be involved in many varied activities. You will gain valuable research experience, increase your knowledge in wildlife conservation and develop your interpersonal skills while exploring new places, experiencing a new culture and making lifetime friends. Most importantly, you’ll be helping to save the sea turtles of Kefalonia from extinction.
⦁ Beach patrols: During nesting season (May to middle of August), you will spend most mornings at sunrise walking the beaches to identify and record fresh sea turtle tracks and nests. On a regular basis you will also patrol the beaches during the night looking for turtles coming ashore to nest – there is nothing more spectacular than the sight of a large loggerhead turtle making its way up the beach!
⦁ Nest monitoring: Identified nests are constantly monitored to ensure they are still safe and cannot come to any harm. The hatching season generally runs from late July to the end of October. On an ad hoc basis, you will get the chance to sleep out under the stars on the beach to monitor the nearby nests – no words can describe this!
⦁ Baby sea turtle release: Nests are monitored on a nightly basis and if there are any signs of movement then volunteers will be able to assist if needs be or watch the amazing events unfold.
⦁ Light pollution surveys: Sadly, as with many other turtle hotspots, the areas are polluted by light from nearby sources. This can cause hatchlings to crawl in the wrong direction and never make it safely to sea.
⦁ Other activities: You’ll also be involved in many other activities that may include; Early morning harbour research, nest inventories, nest protection, beach surveys, night time sleep outs watching over the nests, tagging turtles, adult turtle health checks, hatchling rehab and so much more…!
Programme available from April to October:
In 2023, from April 16th to October 15th
In 2024, from April 14th to October 27th
Kefalonia is an island in the Ionian Sea, West of Greece. You will live in one of two research stations, which are 20 minutes ferry ride from each other: Argostoli which is the capital of the island or in Lixouri on the Paliki Peninsula.
Two or four weeks. Begins on Tuesdays & Sundays.
⦁ You must be 18 or over
⦁ Good level of English (for non-English speakers)
In either one of our two Field Stations, you will be staying in a rented apartment, sharing a room, kitchen, and bathroom with your teammates.
A large balcony will host group gatherings and our evening meals. Shared bathrooms have hot water heated with solar power, and shared kitchens are equipped with cookware, utensils, and a shared fridge. You will be able to shop in local grocery stores and use the project facilities for your own meal preparation.
The Argostoli location, near the airport, is a short walk to the beaches. A mini-market, about a 15-minute walk away, has basic groceries and you will also be able to shop in the town of Argostoli when on harbour shifts.
We also offer a pre-order option so that basic “starter kit” of groceries is there for you on your arrival.
If you select the Lixouri location, there is a grocery store just 200m away from the Field Station. The town square is just 600m away, where there are several restaurants, bakeries and cafes. The team may have some outings to this quaint town square where you can taste the local cuisine, and on occasion, experience some Greek music and dancing.
⦁ For 2 weeks
⦁ 4 weeks: 1490€
⦁ 24-hour airport pickup
⦁ The training by the local team
⦁ Association’s membership fees.