Are you looking to travel and volunteer a little closer to home? Hear all about my time helping on the marine conservation project in Kefalonia
Seagrass? I sure hope we do! Marine and Coastal Conservation program in Greece I spent two weeks on Kefalonia, a greek island in the ionian sea, where I have learned a lot about marine conservation, made amazing friends and saw some baby turtles hatch and find their way to the sea.
"I would absolutely take part in this project again if I had the chance, so if you’re thinking about it, you should definitely go for it!"
Even before my departure, the TMR team has been incredibly helpful with all my questions and was always very fast to answer (thanks again for that!).After I arrived in Kefalonia, I was picked up together with a few other volunteers which had arrived around the same time, and a member of the local team drove us to our accommodation for the next two weeks.
The accommodation was an apartment style villa, rooms were shared between two to four volunteers. When we arrived there, we met the rest of the volunteers and had an orientation session, where we were introduced to the posidonia seagrass and the ecosystem of the sand dunes. Starting on the next day, we went right into it and carried out different types of surveys each day: the posidonia surveys in the water, sand dune surveys, sand shifting, where we looked for microplastics on the beach and litter picking, also on the beach. There were also a data entry shifts, to enter the data collected in the morning into a system. The evenings were often spend together as a group, with activities such as movie nights or playing card games.
Everyone had between one to three shifts per day, with sufficient free time in between, great for relaxing and going down to the beach, which was only a fifteen minute walk away. Since the water was incredibly clear, I went snorkeling a lot and I got to see wildlife such as octopuses, sea stars, jellyfish and of course many, many fish. On our off days, we were able to discover more of the island - on a coach tour, by foot or by boat: there are so many opportunities and you can see the most amazing things!
And speaking of amazing things: another part of our duties was hatchling rescue, here we drove to a nearby beach and monitored turtle nests, did inventories and even saw a couple little turtles hatch, which we then made sure that they would find their way safely to the sea.
Being part of this research team was amazing and I learned so much about marine conservation and wildlife. It made me more aware of the importance of seagrass for our ecosystem and I also really got to appreciate the beauty of the sand dunes, which are often overlooked. I would absolutely take part in this project again if I had the chance, so if you’re thinking about it, you should definitely go for it!