Volunteer Abroad Greece: Sea Turtle Conservation for families
You and your family are fascinated by the natural beauty of Greek islands and are looking for a way together to spend your family holiday contributing to the protection of endangered marine life? Then take part in our research-based sea turtle conservation project on the island of Kefalonia - an experience you won't soon forget.
Start your day with a short presentation about marine life and let the first impressions sink in during a first observatoiry walk at the beach. Then explore the turtle nests and document their behaviour. In the afternoon, a great snorkelling experience awaits you, during which you will also explore the underwater world and note down important findings. End the evening with a beach survey, a "trivia" round with other volunteers or a night on the beach. On night patrols, you will wait for female turtles to come ashore and lay their eggs. The activities are designed to allow you to experience as many different elements of sea turtle conservation as possible together as a family - all against the beautiful backdrop of the Kefalonia coast.
- As a family, support local and international experts in the field of sea turtle conservation
- Learn hands-on research and analysis skills from conservation specialists
- Encourage community awareness of the threatened loggerhead and green turtles
- Experience a night under the stars protecting turtle nests
- Contribute to a growing body of research helping to save the loggerhead from extinction
Plan your trip
Included in the programme fee
- Assistance with travel arrangements
- Assistance with selecting travel insurance
- Assistance with booking flights
- Placement in the programme
- Risk coverage certificate
Meghan, your travel expert for Greece
Don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to learn more about this journey! I answer all of your questions and assist you before, during and after your adventure abroad.
Train and work in threatened species conservation in Greece as a family
Join forces to support those people who have made it their life's work to research and protect loggerhead and green sea turtles. The research you will do together not only raises awareness among the local population, but also contributes to a growing body of knowledge that helps to better understand and protect these endangered species.
Planning and arrival on Kefalonia island
The first option is to fly directly to Kefalonia Airport (EFL). From there, the journey goes by bus directly to the bus station in Argostoli or Lixouri. Alternatively, you can travel via the international airport in Athens, from where you continue your journey to Kefalonia by bus and ferry.
The project always starts on Thursday morning and departs from the bridge in Argostoli.
Your marine conservation activities
During your time on the island of Kefalonia, you will participate together as a family in various practical activities to protect the sea turtles and their habitat: you will contribute to basic research, observe the turtle nests and their behaviour, and at the same time gain valuable knowledge about the marine world. Depending on the season, the focus of the work varies - from the mating season (April to mid-May) to the breeding season (mid-May to the end of July) to the hatching season (end of July to the end of October).
In the morning hours, you patrol the beach looking for turtle nests and fresh turtle tracks. At night, you work together on the beach to look for and document adult turtles coming ashore to nest - an exciting experience for the whole family. Once the turtles have hatched, all volunteers play an important role in ensuring that the baby turtles make it safely to the sea.
Beach clean-ups, tagging sea turtles (especially in Argostoli in April, May, and October), rescuing injured sea turtles, researching turtle behaviour, and monitoring by drone and port checks are all part of your marine conservation duties.
Your two locations: Lixouri and Argostoli
This project has two different research centres: one in Lixouri and one in Argostoli. You organise your own accommodation and meals as a family. Of course, we are happy to help you find accommodation; there is also the rather adventurous option of spending the nights on a campsite.
In Lixouri, you have more possibilities to eat out because of the proximity to the city centre, while in Argostoli, for example, you are mainly dependent on your food.
Your leisure time in Greece
You will have plenty of free time to relax and explore Kefalonia. Visit historical sites, relax on the beach, discover picturesque villages, and experience the local culture.
Every week, our project partner organises optional leisure activities for all volunteers. At campfires, volleyball tournaments, and barbecue or pizza evenings, you are welcome to participate as a family and exchange ideas with the other volunteers.
This is how you get to Argostoli or Lixouri
Start your training in nature conservation
Your stay on Kefalonia: various activities
Time for you to head home?
FAQ – Learn more about this trip
“It was a time I will never forget!”
“Once you see a turtle, you forget you're tired and it's the best thing you've ever seen.”
“The highlight of the project for me was seeing the baby turtles making their way out to the ocean and getting pulled in by the waves.”
“I had hoped that the work would be so much fun that it wouldn't feel like work at all, and that's exactly what happened.”
The Greek island of Kefalonia is a sea turtle paradise at the exit of the Gulf of Patras. The predominantly mountainous island, with altitudes of up to 1,628 m, lies west of the Greek mainland in the Ionian Sea and makes the heart of hiking enthusiasts beat faster. Argostoli, the idyllic island capital, sits on a hill overlooking a small harbour. The underground lake Melissani, charming villages and extensive vineyards provide a stunning setting. The typical rugged, dry landscape is complemented by limestone cliffs along the coast and hidden bays with white sand and pebble beaches. Along the southwest coast, most of the sandy beaches are nesting sites for sea turtles. Often the beaches can only be reached on foot or via serpentines.
Background of the sea turtle conservation project in Greece
Throughout the world, there are seven species of sea turtles. Six of these seven species are classified as “endangered” or “vulnerable”. There are various reasons for this: many are victims of by-catch in fishing, others lose their eggs to poachers, and increasingly, as global temperatures rise, a mismatch of the sexes occurs, resulting in more female young than male.
Although both the loggerhead sea turtle and the green sea turtle can be seen in Greek waters, only the loggerhead sea turtle comes ashore to lay its nests on the beaches. Loggerheads face the risk of extinction, and although they are protected by Greek and European law, there is still much more work to be done. Our partner is committed to protecting these long-distance swimmers and their natural habitat. Passionate volunteers who join us will have the unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience and raise public awareness of this keystone species.
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