About Us

Yannis Vardakastani and Earth, Sea & Sky Global

Earth, Sea & Sky was established in Zakynthos, Greece in 1993 by Yannis Vardakastanis. Yannis became a full-time conservationist in 1991 and has been steadily working to protect the Caretta Caretta Turtles and marine life in and around the island of Zakynthos, also known as Zante, in the Ionian Islands.

Earth, Sea & Sky Global, with Yannis’ leadership, has recently finished construction of a new Turtle Hospital in Gerakas with assistance from the Sea Life Centre

Yannis efforts are focused on the village region of Gerakas, where he grew up, in the southern tip of Zakynthos. Gerakas is at the heart of the Caretta Caretta nesting ground and Yannis is working to stave off from damaging tourist development to ensure that progress is made with marine life in mind.

Since 1993 Yannis has directed his energy into bringing conservation and sustainable tourism together in his corner of Greece. Together with Earth, Sea & Sky, Ionian Eco Villages and Nature World Travel – Yannis’ green tourism companies – have been actively involved in conservation work on the island of Zakynthos.

Yannis Vardakastani wins Virgin Holiday Responsible Tourism Award

Earth, Sea & Sky Global is an extension of this work – with the aim of building a global volunteer network to support the important work taking place in Gerakas to save the turtles, as well as to co-operate with other volunteer needs further afield.

The progress of Earth, Sea & Sky in Zakynthos, Greece

In 1996 Earth, Sea & Sky funded and built the Sea Turtle & Wildlife Information Centre at Gerakas – the only one on the island now – to encourage visitors to take a closer look at the rich heritage, natural beauty, wildlife and culture of Zakynthos, and to promote the need for sustainable tourism.

“We’re guarding this place for those who have not yet been born” Yannis Vardakastani

A Caretta Caretta hatchling makes its way on its first voyage into the sea in Zakynthos, Zante

Volunteers Our Earth, Sea & Sky Global Volunteer programme plays an important part in helping to safeguard teh future of the Caretta Caretta Turtles in Zakynthos, Greece. Volunteers from all over the world have joined ESS Global to work in Gerakas helping to protect the turtles and inform the public. Many of our successes have been down to the hard work and efforts of our international volunteers.

Gerakas Beach

As a direct result of the Information Centre and the increasing pressure exerted on local government by European laws, Gerakas beach has now reduced the number of sunbeds from approximately 180 to 100. Every little helps to maintain this precious nesting spot for the Caretta Caretta turtles in Zante. In addition, all pedalos and boating activities have been successfully banned from the area.

Gerakas beach in Zakynthos at its best, waiting for the arrival of the Caretta Caretta Turtles nesting season

Turtle Rescue

In July 2000 Earth, Sea & Sky played a crucial role in the successful airlift and relocation of three injured loggerhead sea turtles from Greece, bound for the Sea Life Bioservices Centre in Weymouth.

Coastal Clean Up

Our Coastal Clean up Campaign in the Summer of 2000 actively involved tourists in conservation work whilst promoting the importance of the newly designated National Marine Park on Zakynthos.

The Laganas bay beaches are under immense pressure from tourists, who use the beaches in the daytime. A team of volunteers protected these sites for the turtles, which only come ashore after dark to lay their eggs, by stacking sun beds and clearing away litter and larger debris each evening. Years of neglect had taken their toll on several almost inaccessible sites such as Vrodonero, where steep cliffs provide an ideal walled sanctuary for endangered sea birds, turtles and Monk seals. Our team of volunteers cleared them of decades of drift waste. A long term habitat improvement for wildlife.

Volunteers in Greece cleaning the beaches in Zante

Ongoing Efforts in Zante for the Caretta Caretta Turtle

In recent years, with the help and support of the Sea Life Centres, Earth, Sea & Sky have built a new Turtle Hospital and Aquarium for the rehabilitation of injured turtles on the island of Zante. With the help of kind donations from visitors to Sea Life Centres All over Europe we will soon be able to treat injured turtles quickly and effectively in Zante, a huge step forward in the protection of the Caretta Caretta turtles in the Ionian Islands.

Building the new Turtle Rescue Centre in Zakynthos, Greece


June 2015
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Earth, Sea & Sky Global

We aim to raise awareness of Marine Life plights in Zakynthos, particularly the endangered Caretta Caretta Turtle. If you are interested in our Volunteer Programme please send us an email or give us a call, we are in Zakynthos throughout the year so please drop by the Turtle Rescue Centre to browse our turtle information and fundraising efforts.