TURTLE VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROJECTS

Plan My Gap Year offers a wide range of safe, meaningful, affordable turtle volunteer abroad projects in Greece & Sri Lanka. You don’t need any experience, just 100% commitment to get involved.

PMGY programs start on two dedicated start dates every month throughout the year and participants can join us from 1-24 weeks. Volunteers are provided with an extensive pre-departure support service, airport pick-up, orientation, meals, accommodation, project transportation and local support throughout.

The majority of participants are first-time solo travellers, therefore safety and support is our top priority to ensure you have a positive volunteering experience.

GREECE TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

Protect endangered sea turtles through hands-on fieldwork on the island of Kefalonia. Partake in the ultimate research and conservation project.

FROM 840 USD

2-4 WEEKS

MORE INFO

SRI LANKA TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

Help protect and rehabilitate at-risk sea turtles whilst also taking part in community development projects. Experience a different side of Sri Lanka.

FROM 300 USD

1-24 WEEKS

MORE INFO

@planmygapyearofficial Day in a life as a turtle volunteer!! My name is Malisa and today I’m bringing you with me to show you a typical day at the turtle project here in Sri Lanka🐢☀️🇱🇰 #pmgy #pmgysrilanka #turtle #dayinalife #joinme #volunteer #volunteering #turtle🐢 #srilanka ♬ original sound – Plan My Gap Year


@planmygapyearofficial POV: You went by yourself volunteering and this is what happend 😍 #pmgy #pmgygreece #turtle #sunset #volunteer #volunteerabroad #friends ♬ Riptide – Vance Joy


WHY DO TURTLE VOLUNTEERING ABROAD WITH PMGY?

Most Affordable – PMGY’s programs are accessible to everyone who wants to make a difference, through low fees and high-impact projects.

 

Best Support – Our international and local teams provide extensive around the clock services to assist you every step of your PMGY adventure.

 

Safety Prioritised – With safety a PMGY number-1 priority, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe and structured as possible.

 

Extraordinary Experiences – With PMGY, you have the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in amazing cultural and travel experiences, ensuring you leave with unforgettable memories.

 

Friendships for Life – Your PMGY experience not only opens up a doorway for new experiences and exciting memories, but also life-long friendships when meeting new people from around the world.

TURTLE VOLUNTEERING ABROAD PROJECTS

GREECE TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

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.

 

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 you will be undertaking.

 

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 working 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. 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 local tourists on why sea turtle conservation is so important.

 
 

SRI LANKA TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

You can protect and rehabilitate sea turtles whilst also helping at community development projects as a Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer. Many species of turtles are under threat and at risk of becoming endangered, hence there is a great need for turtle conservation efforts. Raise awareness of plastic pollution, care for injured and disable turtles and release freshly hatched babies back into the wild, safe from natural risks and local poachers.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

Every PMGY Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will spend their days next to the beach caring for the sea turtles that have been rescued and are now living in the project site. Your project will run from Monday-Friday between 9am-12pm. You will get your project usually by tuk-tuk, which takes about 10 minutes. Your typical duties as a volunteer in Sri Lanka will include:

 

• Preparing fresh food and assisting feeding on a daily basis
• Cleaning within the project premises and nearby beach area
• Taking care of the nesting area
• Cleaning and refilling the turtle tanks
• Assisting with medication
• Cleaning the turtles’ shells
• Counting and burying turtle eggs safely
• Designing education boards around the sanctuary
• Painting and drawing for information and animal welfare education
• Releasing hatched baby turtles into the sea

 

Each Sri Lanka marine conservation participant will join with the local staff at the project to get to grips with the daily tasks and what is expected of them. This will include tasks as part of a team as well as individual roles. In addition, our local team regularly arrange a day for the volunteers to engage in a mass beach clean across the Ambalangoda area.

 

You can do your bit to help tackle the global issue of plastic pollution by cleaning the beaches where many turtles lay eggs in the south. Although this may be one of the more mundane aspects of the program, its importance cannot be underestimated. The volunteer’s efforts are recognised positively by the Wildlife Department. It is not uncommon that after one beach clean we have collected up to 20 bags of litter!

 

As a turtle conservation volunteer in Sri Lanka, you may also wish to get involved with community awareness education. The purpose of these sessions is to educate local young Sri Lankans in the local communities about the importance of protecting these endangered species.

 

From factual presentations on sea turtles to information on what the community can do to aid marine conservation, we aim to introduce the concept of conservation on a community level and so bring about long term change. Please note these sessions run on an ad hoc basis. If it is something you are interested in then please speak with our local team, who can help to make the appropriate arrangements.

FLIGHTS & TRAVEL INSURANCE

Flights

 

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.

 

Your arrival airport and date are dependent on the specific destination you are joining us in:

 

🇬🇷 Kefalonia – To join the turtle project on our Greece volunteer program, you should book your flights to Kefalonia International Airport Anna Pollatou on the appropriate Sunday or Tuesday start date. The airport code is EFL. For this program, you are encouraged to arrive before 6pm so that you can partake in the evening orientation on your start date.

 

🇱🇰 Ambalangoda – To join one of the turtle conservation abroad projects on our Sri Lanka volunteer program, you should book your flights to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo on the Saturday start date. The airport code is CMB.

 

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. You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

PRE-DEPARTURE SUPPORT

Our International Team will work hard to provide extensive levels of support in the build-up to your trip. From our online chat service to email support and telephone conversations, our team are always ready to help. All international volunteers with PMGY will receive a Volunteer Handbook. This detailed hand guide will provide you with all you need to know in the build-up to your trip. From visa guidance to suggested packing lists, this will be the ultimate guide, helping you plan for your volunteer trip abroad.

 

We have Facebook groups for each of our volunteer destinations. Here you can find members of our international and local teams, as well as past, present and future volunteers. These pages, therefore, provide a great forum for volunteers to network, share experiences and community updates year-on-year.

 

Sometimes it can be difficult to picture yourself abroad without yet being there. We, therefore, do our best to further manage expectations before you arrive through a variety of informative and action-packed videos on our PMGY YouTube Channel. These clips help provide you with a visual perspective of what you can expect during your time overseas with us. Our webinars are not to be missed either. Running on selected Tuesdays, at 4pm UK time, our International Team provides invaluable advice for your upcoming trip. Each webinar covers something different. Our pre-departure webinar covers all of the essentials you need to know and do before joining us abroad. Our program preparation webinar is more project-specific, with advice and information for the time you will spend on placement. Finally, our safety webinar offers you some top tips on how to manage your safety and wellbeing across the pond. For those who are simply interested in learning more about PMGY, our team also run an introductory webinar. This provides an introduction to the volunteer organisation, our background, goals and volunteer opportunities overseas.

PROJECT LOCATION & DURATION

🇬🇷 Kefalonia – The turtle project on our Greece volunteer program is based in in Kefalonia, a short distance from the island’s main airport and around 6 hours away from Athens in mainland Greece. Considered the gem of the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia is famous for its green mountains, breathtaking beaches and crystal clear waters. Argostoli is the capital town of Kefalonia and our main project location base. It also happens to be one of the most popular towns on the island.

 

🇱🇰 Ambalangoda – Our sea turtle conservation project on the Sri Lanka volunteer program is based in Ambalangoda, on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka. It is approximately 2.5 hours away from Colombo Airport. Ambalangoda is a quaint ocean-side town. It is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks.

PMGY TURTLE VOLUNTEERING ABROAD LOCAL TEAMS

PMGY’s turtle volunteering abroad programs are run by our dedicated and experienced in-country local teams. All staff have been fully vetted by our International Team. The committed local community network provides the structure for your stay with us as a turtle volunteer abroad. Our local team will arrange your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support. Our team provides a great framework for you to enjoy a unique experience with us as a turtle volunteer abroad.

ORIENTATION

When you arrive onto your specific animal conservation program, you will receive an orientation from your in-country team. This day will usually be broken down into two components. The first portion will usually be dedicated to all the theoretical aspects, from ‘dos and don’ts’, to safety aspects, project information and team introductions. The remainder of the day is usually used to introduce you to the local area. The local team will teach you how to locate every essential you may need during your time. They will also be able to help you arrange your money and a local SIM-card. Please note that the exact itinerary of the orientation will vary from country-to-country.

SAFETY

If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect. When anticipating their time overseas, many international volunteers (and their loved ones) are often concerned about safety and security. Although we can never guarantee volunteer experiences to be 100% trouble-free, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe as possible. Every program that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a director of PMGY. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation and worked on the projects. Through our frequent visits and daily communications, we have built strong, trusting relationships with our local staff.

 

In the unlikely event that something was to happen, volunteers have various layers of support available to them:

 

• PMGY Local Team
• Project Staff
• PMGY International Team

 

Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteers’ experiences. With the help of volunteer feedback, we are able to continually improve our placements and volunteer opportunities. Security and safety are frequently assessed as part of this. We ask our participants to raise any concerns with our local or International Team. This ensures that these can be addressed and/or resolved as readily and appropriately as possible.

 

Through pre-departure and in-country guidance, we do our best to prepare our international volunteers for their time abroad. All participants are provided with a comprehensive safety briefing during their orientation period. Our local teams will go through everything from project introductions, to emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. During this period, our team also provide participants with a full list of the important contact numbers.

 

Listed below are some general safety tips:

 

• Be modest with the amount of jewellery worn in public
• Do not drink tap water
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents can occur when is confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night
• Use reputable transport only. Our local staff will be able to recommend some during orientation
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high-risk areas for pickpockets and thieves
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers

TRANSPORT TO PROJECT

🇬🇷 Kefalonia – On the turtle project on our Greece volunteer program, the cost of your project transport is included in your Program Fee. Some of our project settings are within walking distance of the Shared Apartment and some are not. The local team provide you with a bicycle so you can get to and from fieldwork locations projects that are not within walking distance. In addition, where extended travel is required or heavy equipment needed then you may travel by minivan to your fieldwork setting.

 

🇱🇰 Ambalangoda – On the Sri Lanka volunteer program in Ambalangoda, the cost of your project transport is included in your Program Fee. Your turtle project transport will usually be by tuk-tuk, but sometimes by private car. Journeys can usually take anywhere from 10–45 minutes each way. However, this will ultimately depend on which project you join as a volunteer in Sri Lanka.

TURTLE VOLUNTEERING ABROAD REQUIREMENTS

PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 17 and there is no upper age limit. All volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. You do not need to speak the local language. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us will go a long way!

 

All participants must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of their turtle volunteering abroad with us. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation!

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY program, you need to pay your Registration Fee of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date.

 

Please check out our Application Process for more info on how to join on a turtle program with PMGY.