Earth, Sea & Sky is an NGO established in Zakynthos, Greece in 1993 by Yannis Vardakastanis. Yannis became a full-time conservationist in 1991 and since then has been steadily working to protect Caretta caretta (Loggerhead Sea Turtles) and other marine life in and around the island of Zakynthos. Yannis’ efforts are focused on the village region of Gerakas, where he grew up, on the southern tip of the island. Gerakas is at the heart of the Caretta caretta nesting ground, and Yannis is working to stave off damaging tourist development in the area to ensure that this endangered species is not overlooked.
In 2011 Earth, Sea & Sky funded and started to build the Sea Turtle Rescue & Information Centre in Gerakas. It opened to the public in 2012, and has since encouraged visitors to take a closer look at the natural beauty, wildlife, and rich heritage of Zakynthos, and promoted the importance of sustainable tourism. We attract an estimated 15,000 tourists from across the globe every year!
“We’re guarding this place for those who have not yet been born” – Yannis Vardakastani
We are currently in the process of completing our rescue facility, but it takes time and money to create a functioning sea turtle rescue centre. Once we are up and running, we will be able to receive injured sea turtles and rehabilitate them before releasing them back into the wild. When our rescue centre is completed, visitors will be able to observe the day-to-day care of our sea turtles, and learn more about the causes of their injuries, and the dangers that they face.
Volunteers on our Earth, Sea & Sky Global Volunteer programme play an integral role in helping to safeguard the future of Caretta caretta in Zakynthos. Volunteers from all over the world have joined us in Gerakas to work on helping to protect the turtles and inform the public of their plight. Our many successes are down to the hard work and efforts of our dedicated, passionate international volunteers.
In the future, Earth, Sea & Sky Global aims to build a worldwide volunteer network to support the important work taking place in Gerakas. If you are interested in volunteering with us to protect sea turtles on the Greek island of Zakynthos, you can find out more about out volunteer program here.