BECOME A VOLUNTEER

The Peloponnese - Koroni

 

Since 1995, ARCHELON has been conducting a field project in the Koroni area involving the recording and protection of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) nesting activity. The conservation program covers nesting beaches located west of the town of Koroni, where every year an average of 50 loggerhead nests are recorded.

Koroni is a beautiful coastal town in the province of Messinia, located at the southwestern tip of the Greek mainland. It is about 50 km away from Kalamata, the regional capital, andit is one of the major tourist destinations in Messinia. Koroni is famous for the Venetian castle which looms over the city, its unique geographical position, its architecture, and the golden beaches that surround the town.

From June to Septemberevery year, volunteers of all ages and backgrounds from all over the world participate in ARCHELON’s sea turtle conservation program in Koroni. The activities vary depending on the season (nesting season: mid-June through mid-August, hatching season: mid-July through mid-September) and include the following:

  • ‘Patrolling’ the beaches every day (Morning observation), during which loggerhead reproductive activity is recorded.
  • Protecting the nests in situ (with ‘fencing’) from both human activity and/or animal predation, and relocation of nests, when necessary.
  • Constructing special ‘shading’ structures to guide hatchlings to the sea in areas where artificial light (from roads, shops, etc) may disorient the hatchlings when they emerge from the nest.
  • Excavating nests after the hatchlings have emerged, in order to estimate the hatching success.
  • Increasing public awareness of both tourists and local residents by operating a seasonal information station in the port city of Koroni, manning information tables, and organizing presentations in hotels and on tour boats.
  • ‘Patrolling’ the beaches during the day to raise bathers’ awareness of the importance of the nesting beaches.
  • Driving, maintaining equipment, maintaining the camp and its facilities (i.e. cleaning, etc.) and various jobs such as painting and carpentry. Artistic skills such as drawing and photography can also be quite useful.
  • Following the protocol for dealing with injured or dead sea turtles, if necessary.

In your free time, there are plenty of things to discover inside and around the town! In Koroni, you can attend cultural events that take place daily, wander through the quaint cobblestone streets with their unique houses, and explore the breathtakingly beautiful castle. You can also visit the beautiful neighbouring cities (Methoni, Pylos, Gialova), where history and ancient monuments accentuate the natural beauty of the area. Kalamata, which can be reached within an hour’s drive from Koroni, is a major city that has much to offer visitors (e.g. museums, shops, festivals etc). The Polylimnio Waterfalls, on the way to Kalamata, offer something different from Messenia's usual beaches. Visitors are charmed by the scene of green vegetation, waterfalls, and blue-green freshwater lakes, perfect for a relaxing dip.

Volunteers will live in the campground designated by ARCHELON for the duration of their participation in the project. The ARCHELON Research Field Station in Koroni is based at a modern, well-organized camping next to the beach. The site is located at the entrance to the cityand just a five-minute walk to the city centre.

  • Accommodation costs are included in the Participation Fee, as described in the section below.
  • Volunteers must be prepared to take part in a communal life, and to live and work in both populated and secluded areas, often as members of small teams and usually under harsh conditions. Although relevant experience is not necessary, the ability to live and co-operate with people of different cultures and backgrounds is essential.

Within the campground, there is an area that is used exclusively by the ARCHELON volunteers and contains all the equipment and facilities needed for daily life.

Campground facilities:

  • WC
  • shower with hot water
  • kitchen with basic equipment
  • washing machine
  • Wi-Fi (you need to have your own laptop)
  • a taverna (restaurant)
  • cafeteria
  • swimming pool
  • sports facilities
  • a very warm and friendly atmosphere.

Sea turtles come into the bay to nest in early May, together with the first tourists. The first team will be expected to kick off the project and the ARCHELON Field Station around the 8th of May. Monitoring, nest protection and public awareness activity will get busier every day up to mid-June.

From mid-June to about mid-August, everything escalates: final number of nests is reached, numbers of visitors on the beaches go up fast and reach their peak, and first hatchlings are out. Volunteer numbers need to be reinforced for this very busy period.

From mid-August to end of September hundreds of hatchlings reach to the sea with the help of volunteers and this an excellent time for public awareness and conservation work combined. The Field Station and the project are closed on 25th of September.

Participation is arranged in full weeks, each to be calculated as 7 days from the date of taking up duties (e.g. if starting on a Tuesday, last day of duties will be Monday). The arrival date to the project site is the day before taking up duties. The departure day from the project site is one day after the last day of duties.

Once approved, successful applicants will need to pay their volunteer participation fee depending on the dates of participation, as shown in the table below:

  Participation start dates 4 weeks 5 weeks 6 weeks 7 weeks 8 weeks 9-11
weeks
12
weeks
more than
12 weeks
Fulltime volunteers 8 June - 15 June 350 € 370 € 390 € 420 € 450 € 450€+20€/w 510 € 510€+20€/w
16 June -20 August 400 € 420 € 440 € 470 € 500 € 500€+20€/w 560 € 560€+20€/w
Internships   400 € 420 € 440 € 470 € 500 € 500€+20€/w    
Returning fulltime volunteers 8 June - 15 June 270 € 290 € 310 € 390 € 420 € 370€+20€/w 430 € 430€+20€/w
16 June- 20 August 320 € 340 € 360 390 € 420 € 420€+20€/w 480 € 480€+20€/w

Volunteer participation fees cover the cost of accommodation, administration, training and accident insurance coverage (up to a limit) as well as the annual subscription to ARCHELON.

The participation fee is paid once (in a single payment i.e. no partial payments are accepted) and proof of payment needs to be sent to ARCHELON before the volunteer status is confirmed.

Our cancellation policy:

A-Prior to 12 weeks from the confirmed date of participation: a full refund minus banking costs

B-Prior to 8 weeks from the confirmed date of participation: a cancellation fee of 10% on the amount paid will be applied to refunding

C-Prior to 4 weeks from the confirmed date of participation: we will refund 20% of the amount paid

D-Later than 4 weeks from the confirmed date of participation, cases of no show or early departure: there will be no refund of the amount paid.

A minor change of participation dates is allowed ONCE free of charge, before the payment of fees. If a significant change of dates is requested after the payment of fees, the terms of cancellation policy will be applied as appropriate.

Please note

  • Greek speakers are welcome and a specific number of them will be accepted with a reduced volunteer participation fee under the same rules & cancelation policy, see link.
  • Families are welcome to join: participation fees for 3 days or 1 week are 50€/parent, 20€/child. The fees do not include accommodation, we recommend to book and pay privately in the same camp site with the ARCHELON Field Station. See more.
  • You will need to be in the project one day before your first day of participation and you can stay one day after the last day of participation in the project.
  • The time of arrival needs to be sent by e-mail to the Volunteers Officer at least 5 working days before a volunteer arrives to take up duties.
  • Each volunteer gets an exclusive ARCHELON “volunteer” T-shirt upon arrival.
  • ARCHELON is not in a position to offer financial assistance. Volunteers are expected to cover their travel and personal costs along with their food expenses.
  • Because of the communal lifestyle, volunteers usually share living expenses, estimated at around €25-€30 per week. Anyone who does not wish to participate in the communal arrangement can estimate their expenses at about €15 per day.
  • In case of an internship, after submitting your on-line application, please inform the Volunteers Officer (volunteers@archelon.gr) of the requirements of the University well in advance and preferably before the end of February 2019. Please also note that no scientific data from this project can be used for any report you may have to write.

The project was fantastic and our leader made us feel so welcome. The team in Koroni is smaller than some of the other projects but the friendships you create are so strong. Koroni is a lovely town to be living in, the campsite is really nice and there is a beach only 200m away for when you’re off duty. The volunteering was fantastic, it really felt as if we were making a difference (I have done other marine conservation projects where this isn’t the case). The only thing I would change about my time volunteering is I wish I could have stayed for longer!

Madeline Dumbreck

Participating in ARCHELON was the best decision. It was a unique experience with something new happening every day and it left me with many amazing memories and valuable experience. I learned a lot about the sea turtles and their protection methods and I also loved spreading public awareness while talking to many people. I am glad that I chose the Koroni project - we were working in a small group so we had the chance to become very close to each other. Not to mention, the town of Koroni is absolutely charming.

Laura Stukonyte


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