Each year, ARCHELON's summer field programs commence, following the completion of the Field Leaders Training Seminar, who are ready for action, traveling to Caretta caretta sea turtle’s most important reproductive habitats of our country for the purpose of studying and protecting them.
Once again this year, the ARCHELON Field Leaders Training Seminar took place as new scientists and nature lovers from Greece and abroad attended, who each year take on specialized areas of each region in Greece and are ethically bound to stay for 5 whole months on nesting beaches.
In 2016, with the help of Field Leaders and 529 volunteers, monitoring and protection programs were carried out in Zakynthos, Kyparissiakos Gulf, Koroni, Laconian Gulf, Romanos, Rethymno, Chania and Messara Bay.
In these areas, it is estimated that over 5,400 nests (on about 75 km of beach) have been created and special conservation measures have been applied to about 4,000 nests. During night patrol, over 850 adult turtles were observed.
Thanks to the efforts of the ARCHELON volunteers, over 196,000 turtles (of about 280,000 hatched eggs) have been “saved”, reaching the open sea in safety.
This year was the 12th time that this seminar was organized and gave the opportunity to Field Leaders and the staff of the Society to exchange views and knowledge. This year's Field Leaders are experienced volunteers from England, Austria, Germany, Greece, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Sweden. The seminar’s facilitators were Panagiota Theodorou and Regina Stefanatou, who also conducted the three-day seminar.
The Training Seminar for Field Leaders aims to share with them, the history, the political and the ideological basis of the Association, which they will be called to represent under difficult conditions. All this information may be theoretical, but in essence, it has a practical effect on their work, since it provides them the overall image of the Association, something that they do not have the opportunity to experience during the summer. In addition, the main objective of the seminar is the transfer of practical knowledge that is completed in the form of workshops, so that the leaders can be trained on various issues they are going to face in the field (e.g. conservation issues, correct collection and maintenance of scientific data, program specifics, volunteers, environmental education, communication, car management, safety, etc. ...).
Particularly important was the interaction and communication with the members of the ARCHELON Board of Directors, who attended the seminar. Among them were founding members of the Association, such as Anna Margaritoulis and Thomas Arapis, who started the Sea Turtle Protection Society 34 years ago, setting the basis for the largest environmental voluntary program in Greece, something that constitutes a source of inspiration and pride.
Congratulations to all people who helped organize a great seminar which has progressed over the years and included new presentations by experienced rapporteurs and friends of the Association (Kostas Grivas, Dionysis Arvanitakis, Gonçalo Lourenço), more time available for monitoring training and workshops, training on fundraising and public awareness methods.
May you all have immense success in the Field and a good start at the program!
(translation: Aggeliki Antonopoulou)