Protect endangered sea turtles through hands-on fieldwork as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer. Monitor nesting beaches, conduct beach patrol surveys, tag turtles and complete hatching rescues. Enjoy a true research and conservation project adopting an established scientific methodology when you volunteer in Greece.
TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE UN'S DEVELOPMENT GOAL 14 – LIFE BELOW WATER
UNDERTAKE HANDS-ON CONSERVATION WORK ALONGSIDE QUALIFIED FIELD ASSISTANTS
PROTECT THREATENED SEA TURTLES & INCREASE KNOWLEDGE IN CONSERVATION
ENJOY THE ISLAND EXPERIENCE OF KEFALONIA IN YOUR FREE TIME
VOLUNTEER IN A TOP EUROPEAN LOCATION
BACKGROUND TO THE TURTLE CONSERVATION PROGRAM
An array of fauna and endangered species are nestled in the sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Kefalonia. Located on the outskirts of mainland Greece, the loggerhead sea turtle is one of the island’s most interesting endangered species. More specifically, they are the only marine turtle nesting in the whole of the Meditteranean.
As a result, Kefalonia is an important breeding ground for loggerhead sea turtles. Sadly, there are many threats that push the sea turtles of Kefalonia closer to the brink of extinction. Both human and natural threats damage and destroy many of the eggs laid on the island’s sandy beaches.
Furthermore, the turtles themselves are regularly disorientated, injured or killed by a range of hazards. Examples include accidental boat strikes, swallowing plastic, light pollution or getting caught in fishing gear. These threats extend on a global level and endanger all turtle species including green sea turtles and leatherback sea turtles.
The loggerhead turtle can be distinguished by their large heads, reddish-brown shells and yellow/brown skin. In addition, they are considered to be one of the oldest species in the world. Our goal through this sea turtle conservation project is simple. To clarify, it is to study and protect the endangered loggerhead turtles of Kefalonia and their ecosystems.
Every year, sea turtles migrate to Kefalonia to forage and reproduce. Females nest in Kefalonia on average five times in one breeding season. The nesting activity itself mainly occurs at night throughout the summer months. Laying around 100 eggs each time, hatchlings will occur 2 months later and newborn turtles emerge. They will make their way into the sea at night when risks of predators are lower. In the interim, you and your fellow volunteers will work towards a primary goal of protecting sea turtle nests against accidental damage.
Volunteer opportunities provided by PMGY offer a platform to make a positive impact when you’re volunteering with turtles. When working as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. As a sea turtle volunteer, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your conservation work and the impact of your field research through a volunteer experience. Greece is our only European destination where you can embark on a wildlife conservation program project.
TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES
Sea turtles nest along Kefalonia’s southern coast. To maximise the areas in which we can monitor, we have established two field stations at separate locations on the coast. Consequently, your volunteer work in Greece will take place in one of two locations. They are only a short 30 minute ferry ride between each other. Depending on which day you choose to begin the program, will dictate your placement setting as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer.
Argostoli - Your program start date for the Argostoli location is on a Sunday. Regarded as the capital town of Kefalonia, Argostoli is closer to the beach locations and nesting beaches. The town’s coastline is rich with short, narrow beaches and colourful cliffs. Most importantly, the beaches spread across a wide area and represent an important nesting habitat for Kefalonia’s sea turtles.
The field station base at Argostoli stretches over eleven beaches varying from 100 metres to 1 kilometre. We will work in sub-teams to conduct morning beach surveys to ensure all locations are covered. Additionally, the bay of Argostoli blends into the Koutavos Lagoon. The warm waters here become home to a number of sea turtles during the summer season. They will usually congregate in the harbour of Argostoli visible to conservation volunteers and tourists.
Lixouri - Your program start date for the Lixouri location is on a Tuesday. Established as the main town on the peninsula of Paliki, it is lined with long south-facing beaches. Nesting beaches are in abundance. Some have unusual characteristics including red sand and clay cliffs. Each brings its own risks and vulnerability. In short, the warm sandy beaches are a hotspot for loggerhead sea turtles to lay their nests.
On the sea turtle conservation project in Lixouri, you will patrol the nesting beaches for sea turtle tracks on the sand. Such tracks have been left by the female turtles that emerged on the previous night. Assess the tracks, verify the location of eggs and mark the location. Moreover, work with the field assistant to collect scientific data that is most useful for the protection of the nests. During hatching season, check the beach for hatching tracks and conduct nest inventories to assess each hatching success.
In terms of conducting field surveys, there are two main differences that exist between each field station location. In Lixouri, main nesting areas are patrolled through the night. This is done to spot, measure and tag the nesting female turtles. However, this is not the case in Argostoli where night surveys do not exist. For the reason that nesting in Argostoli takes place over a range of small beaches. Consequently, it is difficult to predict where the turtles will nest.
Observation shifts in the harbour of Argostoli focus more on monitoring the feeding and behaviour of the adult turtles. Turtles concentrate here regularly and you can congregate with your fellow volunteers to monitor this endangered species. Whereas, harbour shifts in Lixouri focus simply on spotting turtles in the harbour where they are less common. The number of turtles seen in the Lixouri harbour seems to be increasing every year.
Aside from these differences, your typical daily tasks on the Greece volunteer program will remain similar. Moreover, you can take the short ferry ride between each location in your free time. As a result, you can develop an understanding of the typical environment in each setting.
YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY
When you volunteer in Greece on the sea turtle conservation project, you will be protecting an endangered species. More specifically, you will be preserving the sea turtles of Kefalonia and their ecosystems. Practical measures to do this include surveying nesting beaches and protecting turtles’ nests, This extends to monitoring the population’s health, identifying threats and public awareness campaigns.
You will begin field surveys on the day after your arrival and orientation. Your first few days on the volunteer project will be full of hands-on learning. This will be under the guidance of experienced field assistants. Enjoy training and workshops to get acquainted with all aspects of the fieldwork on the animal volunteering project.
Beach Surveys - A core part of the fieldwork will be patrolling the beaches. That is to say, each morning you will find and protect sea turtle nests. Most importantly, you will walk the sand to look for fresh turtle nests. For the reason that you can then mark and measure the nests that were laid most recently.
As a result, progress can be monitored throughout the incubation to hatching stage and accidental damage can be avoided. Nesting activity typically begins in the middle of May and runs through to late August. Therefore, this is the core period beach patrols take place when volunteering with turtles.
Hatching Rescue & Nest Protection - The nests typically hatch around 2 months after the eggs have been laid. Consequently, the hatching season usually begins in the middle of July and runs through to late October (please do not expect to see any baby turtle hatchings until this point in the season). You will continually monitor the nests to ensure they remain safe and away from danger. As the young turtles hatch, limit obstacles like light pollution and ensure they crawl safely to the sea. Conduct nest inventories to assess the hatching success of each nest.
Light Pollution Surveys - Asides from storms, light pollution represents the next biggest threat to sea turtle nests in Kefalonia. Lights from nearby sources can disorientate the turtles and make them crawl away from the sea rather than towards it. Conduct environmental studies to quantify light pollution and determine its source. Assess the risks to each nest and implement appropriate actions to prevent light pollution factors harming baby turtles. Engagement with locals and public awareness are also key factors.
Turtle Tagging - The mating season for the loggerhead turtles typically runs from April to May. During this time, volunteers usually focus on the tagging process. This is where you will collect measurements of the turtles and assess their overall health. A tag is attached to the turtle so we can track its movement.
Other Activities - There will be many other activities that you are involved in as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer. Conduct harbour monitoring as you observe the behaviour and record activity of sea turtles swimming around the bay. Enjoy a night shift rota as you keep watch through the night over the nests. If you are lucky, assist with a baby sea turtle release if eggs begin to hatch. Support with data entry and educate tourists on why sea turtle conservation is so important.
Field leaders will provide volunteers with a weekly schedule for each project location. As a result, volunteers will have a clear understanding as to what their daily tasks and project shifts are. You will rotate across the tasks to ensure your role is varied. As a result, you will build as much experience in each area of conservation as possible. Furthermore, you will get accustomed to each research method and fieldwork technique that is used.
Most mornings will involve an early start. You will cycle to the nesting beaches to monitor the nests and conduct beach surveys. Afternoons are free to relax, explore the local area or simply take cover from the heat. Conservation work and field research will continue in early evenings with ad-hoc night shifts also a possibility. You will volunteer 5 days per week and you will either cycle or walk to your fieldwork setting each day.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING WITH TURTLES IN GREECE
Project Focus - This program is very much focused on conservation activities rather than a traditional gap year/volunteer travel experience. This involves working a 5 day week with the potential of early morning starts or working on the beach during the night. There is plenty of downtime but the team does expect people to be punctual and join all their assigned shifts. You need to have a big passion for marine conservation and use this as the main motivation for joining the trip. The vast majority of participants have a wonderful experience but a small number of people can find the program to lack the cultural and travel balance that our other destinations offer.
Cycling - The fieldwork covers a range of nesting beaches that spans over a large area. The easiest way for volunteers to get from point to point is by bicycle. This is particularly the case in Lixouri where it is an 8km distance from the main town to the nesting beaches. Therefore, volunteers must be comfortable cycling a bike on hilly terrain and also be able to walk the beaches on hot days. You will always cycle as part of a team leaving at scheduled times. Moreover, you can use your free time to hop on the bike and explore the local area further.
Volunteering with Friends - You are welcome to join the Greece turtle conservation volunteer program with a friend. You can highlight this in the special requirements of the online application. Subsequently, our team can ensure you stay in the same accommodation and project location. Moreover, they will do their best to give you both the same free days each week. However, it is important to note that there is a large range of fieldwork covered each day. Consequently, it is not always possible for our team to place you with your friend in each fieldwork setting.
Days Off - Your project work in Greece runs 5 days a week. This project runs 7 days a week so volunteers are assigned different days off to ensure the project runs at all times. Therefore, it is likely that your days off will vary across the week and not necessarily be consecutive days off. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation on your days off. However, most participants will use this time to travel and explore the island. Check out our Greece Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your free days.
CHOOSING A VOLUNTEER TRIP
Can people from outside of the UK or USA volunteer with PMGY?
Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries volunteers have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.
Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other organisations?
The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.
Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time volunteering. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up & drop-off, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our volunteers really appreciate.
Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.
What are the requirements to volunteer in Greece?
PMGY welcomes Greece turtle conservation volunteers of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 and there is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. Of course, you do not need to speak Greek. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us in Greece will go a long way.
Each Greece turtle conservation volunteer must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.
Volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.
What date should I arrive and leave the Greece volunteer program?
For your volunteer trip to Greece, you should book your flights to Kefalonia International Airport on either your Sunday or Tuesday starting date. The airport code is EFL. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will receive an orientation to the volunteering with turtles program.
The program ends on the Sunday or Tuesday of your final week depending on your placement location. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day.
When is the best time of year to volunteer in Greece?
Feedback from each Greece turtle conservation volunteer often suggests that it is best to join a PMGY project in the European summer months. This is since June-August matches with the nesting season and moves into the hatching season. There will be peak numbers at each of our projects and volunteer accommodations during this time. Conversely, outside of these months, there is typically the greatest opportunity to become fully immersed in the project and within the local community.
Are there any age restrictions to be a volunteer in Greece?
In order to join as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer, you need to be at least 18 on the program start date. Typically in Greece we find 80% of PMGY volunteers are aged between 18-22 years old.
There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome volunteers of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 18-22 age range.
When should I apply to be a Greece turtle conservation volunteer?
For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.
Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 60 days prior to your start date.
What duration would you recommend to volunteering for?
Based on feedback from previous Greece turtle conservation volunteers, we believe that 3-4 weeks is the ideal amount of time to volunteer in Greece. Consequently, this means you have enough time to integrate into the local community and really get involved in a project. For one thing, you will be able to make a positive impact on community development. Additionally, you will have a greater opportunity to explore during your weekends.
For those looking to potentially join us for a longer period, we recommend checking out our Encounter Programs that offer a 2-4 week stay across 3-10 destinations.
Can I volunteer abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?
You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer for the same project. However, please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, volunteer safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our volunteer programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.
The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international volunteers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist volunteers 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.
When you join as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international volunteers to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.
When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general volunteer program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
Although we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.
When do I pay for my volunteer program? Can I pay in instalments?
In order to confirm your place as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer, you need to pay a deposit of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge. If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Payments made in advance of the 60 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.
Can I be a turtle volunteer as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to be a Greece turtle conservation volunteer as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that the Greece turtle conservation volunteer program will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements.
First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after each Greece turtle conservation volunteer has confirmed their place on the program. Additionally, project staff in Greece can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. In the event that your university/college do not accept the paperwork submitted by PMGY, then you will be unable to be refunded for your trip. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.
BEFORE YOU DEPART
Can I fundraise for my trip as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer?
With PMGY, the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive on the Greece volunteer program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups & drop-offs, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.
We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that each Greece turtle conservation volunteer sets up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.
PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for volunteers to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
Can I raise money for the projects?
The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore together, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.
If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For a Greece turtle conservation volunteer looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.
How do I register for your online webinars?
Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide volunteers in Greece with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.
For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.
For a Greece turtle conservation volunteer who has already confirmed their volunteering role on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.
Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.
Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.
Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my volunteer work?
It is possible that as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your volunteer work in Greece. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your volunteer destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights to volunteer in Greece?
When you apply to be a Greece turtle conservation volunteer, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.
After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.
We have partnered up with the insurance company battleface to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.
How do I obtain a background check?
To become a Greece turtle conservation volunteer, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check that must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.
If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.
If you don’t have a valid DBS check, then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a DBS check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer.
For every Greece turtle conservation volunteer from the US, you can apply for a background check through Sentry Link. It costs 19.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.
For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.
When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?
All volunteers in Greece will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.
This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Zoom, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!
ON YOUR TRIP
Can I arrange a private room?
All of our accommodation options on the Greece volunteer program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for each Greece turtle conservation volunteer.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
During your volunteer trip to Greece, meals are not included. However, the Volunteer Houses will be equipped with a kitchen including all the appliances and items needed. As a result, you will be able to prepare your own meals. It is your responsibility to manage your own dietary requirements when doing so.
In general, any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?
We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide volunteers in Greece with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.
What is the dress code at the projects?
Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival in Greece.
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.
How much spending money will I need?
The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 100-150 USD per week a suitable amount.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time! Most of our programs have been designed so that you have weekends off. Therefore, this gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the weekend opportunities and travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures. During your time as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer, you are sure to make some travel buddies along the way!
Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates on either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. However, if you plan to travel extensively, please factor this into your flight itinerary. This is since we only encourage travel during your one day off while you’re volunteering, as you have made a commitment to be a Greece turtle conservation volunteer.
During your time on the Greece volunteer program, you will live in a Volunteer House in Kefalonia. This will be in either Argostoli or Lixouri depending on your project location.
In both cases, the Volunteer Houses will be located near the nesting beaches we monitor. Subsequently, use your free time to swim, sunbathe and relax on the beaches. On a similar note, the team will arrange a social evening at the houses once a week for volunteers to enjoy.
The Volunteer Houses are located a short journey away from each main town, where you can find ATMs, supermarkets and local restaurants. It is usually a short walk from the accommodation in Lixouri to the main square. Alternatively, it will be a short taxi or bike ride in Argostoli. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way!
The accommodation is comfortable and clean, fitting up to 6 people per room in shared bedrooms with bunk beds. All accommodation comes equipped with electricity, basic cooking facilities, fridges, a small communal area and hot water. As the hot water is powered through solar energy, this is usually only available during certain hours of the day. The bathrooms are shared, each with a shower and western style toilet.
There is a washing machine available for when you complete volunteer work in Greece. It costs around 3 Euro per wash and washing lines are also provided. Ceiling fans are provided in each room and the windows are equipt with mosquito nets. In general, the accommodation tends to be quite cool across most parts of the day. Wi-Fi is usually available in communal areas. However, this is limited to support instant messaging and social media and will be quite intermittent. However, you can easily pick up a local SIM card or head to a local cafe to get online.
During the hatching season, you may be required to sleep on the beach in both locations. As a result, you are encouraged to bring a sleeping bag for the two or so times you will do this. Similarly, mosquito nets are optional so you may want to consider bringing one of these.
Field assistants will also live at the houses when you volunteer in Greece. This ensures you have round the clock support and security. You will either cycle or walk to and from your field work setting each day.
During your volunteer trip to Greece, meals are not included. However, the Volunteer Houses will be equipped with basic kitchen facilities so you are able to prepare basic meal plans yourself. There are grocery shops within the local area and they are also able to deliver direct to the volunteer accommodation upon request.
You are more than welcome to arrange your own food plans independently. However, you will need to budget more for this. Volunteers will usually experience the local cuisine once or twice a week at the local restaurants. There are some great cafes, restaurants and cultures to sample in both Argostoli and Lixouri!
* These fees apply to each individual application.
In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated for an admin fee of 60 USD. Please note any changes will be subject to availability.
If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.
OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME - 25 USD
PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in Greece works as follows -
🇰🇪 Kenya - 14 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to Greece and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.
🇮🇳 India - 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don't have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.
🇺🇸 USA - 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.
This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.