Do you belong to the growing crowd of concerned citizens that actually want to ACT and give back to nature what humanity has been taking away for decades? Likely your New Year’s Resolution for 2018 contain lifestyle changes like less use of plastic bags, buying carbon off-sets and switching to green energy. Yes, right. Not very exciting perhaps. Going on an eco-holiday however sounds like doing good and fun at the same time.
Think about it. To observe and conserve wildlife, or actually assist conservation research as a volunteer, getting some environmental education for you and your loved ones on the way. Stepping off the tourist trail, enjoying stunning scenery and actually communicate, share and eat with helpful and friendly locals. Reconnect with your travel companions, local guides and …yourself!
Greece, as a prime tourist destination and biodiversity hotspot in need of a little help (no, that economic crisis is not yet over and affecting nature conservation and environmental management in many negative ways) poses the ideal background for eco-holidays. Here are 5 New Year’s Resolution ideas where you could step in:
1: Volunteering with sea-turtles
Along its impressive coastline the Greek Islands and the shores of mainland Greece 4 types of sea-turtles can be found. The only one species breeding here is the Leatherback turtle or Caretta caretta. You can join the hundreds of volunteers of Sea Turtle Protection Society Archelon that protect the nests and hatchlings each Summer. Volunteers as young as 8 years-old are welcome! For short term-volunteering (1-week duration) contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out the program here. Long-term volunteers better check out www.archelon.gr. Period: June-September but year-round volunteering at the Sea Turtle Rescue Center in the coastal Athens region!
2: Dolphin conservation efforts on a Greek Island
For an unforgettable dolphin expedition week you head to the Greek Island of Alonissos, a National Marine Park. You may never have heard of it but you might remember the lush green scenery of this Sporades Island group from the Mama Mia! Movie. And oh yes, Pierce Brosnan singing was unforgettable too:-) Weekly departures June-September are organized by MOm/The Hellenic Society for the protection of the Mediterranean Monk Seal & Natural Greece. Assist the researchers on daily expeditions on a vessel equipped for registration of cetaceans. Bring a good camera along if you have that, for the dolphin fin identification! Teenager and student discount available. Kids as young as 11-years old can volunteer. Check out the program here. To enquire write us at email@example.com.
3: Bear conservation in the mountains of Northern Greece
And Now for Something Completely Different: European brown bear tracking in the wilderness of Northern Pindos. Learn fascinating facts on bears and bear conservation from a local expert of wildlife charity CALLISTO, while tracking and tracing those bears. When lucky you may spot one. But because the trips are organized with total respect for those furry giants there are no baiting and feeding practices. No bear-sighting guarantee either as a result. Bears may be GPS-tracked when they wear a collar for research purpose (it is never done to please travelers!). Everyone able to walk a few hours in rough terrain can come. For years now, each traveler has been supporting the bear conservation projects of CALLISTO with a donation. There are 5-day and 8-day holidays available. Enquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
4: Eco-Volunteering Holiday in Greece
This exclusive 8-day journey offers the chance for the discerning traveler to engage in eco-volunteering actions with a group of like-minded travelers. During the first half you volunteer with sea turtles in the rescue center in the coastal Athens region, discovering the highlights of breath-taking Athens and relaxing by the pool and beach when the hard work is done. The second half takes place on gorgeous Poros Island. Each morning you work on the historical footpaths of this island, under expert supervision of the Paths of Greece organization. A beach clean-up with the locals is meant to raise awareness and help local wildlife. Enquire at email@example.com
5: Volunteering opportunities at Antikythera Island: bird-ringing and monitoring bird migration
The birdwatchers that have joined the project of the Antikythera Bird Observatory tend to be wildly enthusiastic. Antikythera is a rather remote island located in between the Peloponnese and Crete. It has few inhabitants and many migrating birds, being on a main bird migration route. The team of Greek Birdlife/Hellenic Ornithological Society currently accepts volunteers for raptor monitoring and bird-ringing, for spring 2018! Birdwatching skills are desirable. Contact the team here.