In the summer of 2012, I'll be taking part in a GVI Volunteer Project in Greece with my little sister Eilidh where we will be participating in daily morning surveys to record nesting activity and protect turtle nests against predation by mammals and inundation by sea water. We will also help provide conservation information to overseas visitors and the local community.
The Bay of Lakonikos in the Peloponnese hosts important nesting sites for loggerhead sea turtles in the Mediterranean. The main threats for these nesting sites are the predation of nests by mammals and the destruction of the natural dune systems. With the completion of a LIFE-NATURE Programme, co-funded by the European Union in 1999, Management Plans were compiled to address these threats, while at the same time promoting a model of sustainable development that will be beneficial to the local economy. The project, active in the area since 1983, has since been working for their implementation in co-operation with the local authorities and the local community.
The Bay of Lakonikos has also been the area where pilot projects, such as dune restoration, were launched. It was also the first area where collaboration with fishermen started in order to reduce turtle mortality as a result of their capture in fishing gear. Volunteers play a key role in the daily routine of the project. Volunteers participating on the project will have a field leader responsible for co-ordinating the work and meeting all requirements for the GVI programme. Volunteers participate in all aspects of the project and initial training is provided by the field leader or experienced project members. General duties include monitoring of nesting activity and nest protection, excavations of nests (from August onwards), providing information to tourists and members of the local community as well as daily chores to ensure the smooth running of the project.