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Gerakas Beach
One of the most beautiful beaches in Zante, Zakynthos Greek islands, is Gerakas beach in Vasilikos. Due to the efforts of the National marine Park of Zakynthos Gerakas beach is really untouched, without many sunbeds or any beach bars.

Gerakas beach in Zakynthos is one of the main nesting grounds for caretta caretta loggerhead sea turtles in Zante.

Sunset at gerakas beach in Zante Zakynthos is always specatacular

Gerakas Beach
 While you are at Gerakas beach be sure to visit the Earth Sea and Sky Eco Centre, alkso known as the Earth Sea and Sky Turtle Rescue Centre, located about 100 meters up from the beach on the right hand side of the road.

Visit the Earth Sea and Sky Turtle Rescue Centre in Zante Zakynmthos Greek islands or become a Volunteer in Gerakas i the summer for Earth Sea and Sky.

This Eco Centre in Gerakas is one of the only Wildlife information Centres in Zakynthos. Volunteers at the Eco Centre will help to inform you about the natural wildlife on the island of Zanmte.

During your holiday in Zante, you can support the SOS Turtle Appeal from the Eco Centre. They are currently involved in raising funds to build the first Sea Turtle rescue station in Zakynthos and will help a great deal with injured and sick turtles in Zante.

 

 

ZANTE BEACHes - GERAKAS

Zante South Coast beaches Argassi Kaminia Daphni Porto Zorro Azzuro beach Club Ionion Banana Plaka St Nicholas Ammos beach Club Porto Roma Gerakas

gerekas beach in vasilikos zante

Zante Beaches Watersports Scuba Diving Beach Clubs Zante South Coast beachesSouth West Coast beachesWest Coast beaches East Coast Beaches Far North beaches Zante Town Beaches

Gerakas beach is one of our favorite beaches during the summer in Zante, Zakynthos Greek islands. Gerakas is located at the most southern end of the island of Zakynthos, forming a link in the beautiful bay of Laganas. Gerakas beach is spectacular, with jagged orange and white cliffs framing the horizon.

 

The National Marine Park of Zakynthos closely monitors this beach to ensure that the turtles that lay their nests here are well protected. One of the benefits of this for humans is that the beach is always clean and tidy, even in the busiest month of August.

There are a limited number of sun beds and umbrellas at Gerakas beach, and no development or buildings along the shoreline is enabled, again to protect the Caretta Caretta turtles. This helps to ensure that Gerakas maintains a really natural and untouched feel.

Gerakas beach in Zante is located just five minutes’ drive around the coast from St Nicholas, the last beach on the South coast of Zakynthos. The region of Gerakas is natural, with a few stone villas dotted around and one snack bar close to the Eco Centre.

Gerakas beach in Zante is one of the most important beaches within the National Marine Park of Zakynthos as it is very popular with the native Loggerhead turtles who choose to lay their eggs here year after year. Access to the beach is forbidden between sunset and sunrise - the time of day that the turtles nest and later that the baby hatchlings emerge from their nests and make their way to the sea.

Earth Sea & Sky Volunteers on holiday helping in conservation projects gerakas zante Zakynthos

gerekas beach in vasilikos zante

Island-based Wildlife Research, Conservation and Tourist Awareness work

www.earthseasky.org/volunteer.htm

The aim of this volunteering programme in Zante Zakynthos int eh Greek islands is to show how conservation and sustainable tourism can work together to benefit tourists, the locals and wildlife alike. When you come to do voluntary work on Zakynthos, you will be part of a small team to research and record the affects of tourism on the local environment, provide information on the local flora and fauna to visitors, rescue injured animals and participate in beach and forest cleans. This warm and lush island is a haven for all sorts of wildlife, the forests a stopover for migrating birds, the beaches a favoured nesting destination of the Loggerhead sea turtle, and the home of over 6,000 species of rare and delicate flowers.

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES THIS CONSERVATION PROJECT MAKE IN ZANTE?
 

The scenic island of Zakynthos has attracted numerous package tourists and is battling to cope with the huge summer influx of bodies, waste, traffic, noise, litter and pollution. Tourism is fast taking over from other more traditional industries such as the production of raisins and olive oil. The tourist industry provides a far more lucrative way of life to the locals yet its exploitation is to the detriment of wildlife and countryside.

Eco-Tourism is the best way to encourage locals and tourists alike to change their attitudes and habits. Promoting tourism year round, informing the public, encouraging ethical conduct, and lobbying for the Greek government to act on these important issues will help immobilize this limitless destruction.


FIELD & LIVING CONDITIONS

The accommodation in Zakynthos Zante is in a group of 5 small, freestanding cottages situated amongst an olive grove in Gerakas, each sleeping 3 people. There is only a short walk to Gerakas beach and the Rescue Station, where volunteers will be spending the majority of allocated shifts. Despite the popularity of the south of the island, the area is delightfully peaceful. Each cottage is fully equipped with kitchenette, separate bathroom and combined living/dining area. There is one bedroom per cottage which is shared and fitted with bunk beds and mosquito nets, sleeping max 3 people. There is access to a washing machine and BBQ on site.

Volunteers are required to keep their accommodation clean, and share shopping and cooking duties. Please note: Food and a Cook are NOT included!! Volunteers are responsible for budgeting and preparing their own food – we estimate you consider €5 to €15 per day, more if you intend to eat out regularly. Shopping and food prep can be done individually however, we recommend sharing and working in one large or smaller teams to make the best use of your shopping budget. A car and driver will be provided once a week to take elected volunteer shoppers to the large supermarket in Town, good organisation is a must! Advice and guidance to organise and plan will be provided by the Project Leader.

Volunteers get a free day for every 10 worked. A fortnightly barbeque party will be organised and prepared for the volunteers by the Project Leaders. During free time, activities available to volunteers include walking, swimming, horse riding and diving. A visit into Zakynthos Town is a must. There will be plenty of time to relax on the beach and enjoy the local surroundings.

SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

No previous qualifications or experience is required. Training is provided on site with the majority of participants able to undertake most duties with minimum supervision within a week.

A driver’s license is desirable although not essential. However, preference will be given to applicants holding a manual driver’s license, and have been driving for at least 1 year. Additional languages are particularly useful for communicating with tourists at the Rescue Station and during workshops and excursions.

If you have specific training in any field, work or study; or are confident with or have a particular hobby or interest i.e.: handyperson skills, writing, photography) then please let us know.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Applicants are required to be 18 years or over at the time of their placement.
  • Enthusiasm and commitment for the protection of the natural environment is necessary.
  • A good understanding of English is essential, and potential volunteers will only be considered for participation if able to communicate in English on at least an intermediate level.
  • Applicants must carry a valid health insurance policy, or equivalent, for the duration of their placement. Proof of cover must be provided.
  • Minimum period of project placement is 2 weeks, however longer term participation is highly encouraged.
  • Participants must be prepared to work under hot summer conditions on a daily basis.
  • Flexibility is a must, as conditions or required tasks and shifts can change at short notice.
  • Volunteers are selected on an individual basis. Groups of more than two persons are not accepted for the project in the same period of time.
  • Volunteers must be prepared to experience communal life, of living and working in a shared house, and operate as members of a small team.
  • The ability to live and co-operate with people of different cultures and backgrounds is essential.
  • Volunteers are trained and supervised by Project Leaders and experienced members. They must be prepared to participate in every aspect of the work. Duties are allocated on a weekly rota and may include working throughout the night or long hours during the day
  • Volunteers are expected to behave in a civil and responsible manner at all times, whether on or off duty. Unsociable, inappropriate or risky behaviour, or failing to follow the Coordinators instructions, will not be tolerated and may result in expulsion from the project.


VOLUNTEERING ROLES ION ZANTE & PROJECT LIFE


The project is currently open from April to October; due to extend over the whole year once the Rescue Station is completed. Volunteers will be required to work between 6 and 8 hours per day - split into either 2 or 4 hour shifts. These shifts include very early mornings and/or late nights. Allocation and frequency of shifts are dependent on time of year and number of available volunteers.

All volunteers carrying a license will be required to share driving duties, which will involve driving to and from research areas several times a day. TASKS & RESPONSIBILITIES – ALL YEAR ROUND. Volunteers will be involved in the cleaning and upkeep of tanks and enclosures, as well as the basic care of aquatic and land animals including: fish, terrapins, snakes and birds.

  • General maintenance and handyperson work at the Rescue Station and volunteer accommodation requiring low to medium skill sets.
  • Throughout the season, volunteers will be actively involved in visitor and tourist education, through information sessions, of the issues facing the animals and habitats of the Zakynthos National Marine Park.
  • Rescuing any injured wildlife, providing basic medical assistance if necessary, and reporting injuries or fatalities to the Coordinator.
  • Specialised technical support with a focus on providing maintenance duties, like painting, basic carpenter work, operating the water-supply system, etc. These volunteers will need to have previous experience in technical or tradesman work.
  • Writing of reports, articles and copy for publication on websites and submission to various wildlife protection organisations and management bodies.
  • Research, collection and collation of data on the endangered flora and fauna species of the Ionian Islands. Entering that data and findings into databases.
  • As well as all this, the team will help with the fundraising for the Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Station and are encouraged to create and suggest ideas to raise money.


In addition to the above, seasonal based tasks will include:


EARLY SEASON (APR-MAY)

Island surveys, beach and forest walks to assess damage on wildlife habitats from: dune destruction, illegal development, pollution, hunting. Regular forest and beach cleans. Public awareness and Rescue Station duty.

HIGH SEASON (JUNE, JULY, AUGUST)

  • Public awareness and Rescue Station duty - involves acquainting tourists with our conservation work, providing information on the many unique species of flora and fauna of the Ionian, how they can contribute to our protection efforts, and selling merchandise to raise funds for the project.
  • Habitat and population assessment of the Loggerhead sea turtle and the Mediterranean Monk Seal to assess damage and pressures of tourism activities.
  • Volunteers may also accompany tourists on catamaran sailing trips, island tours and nature walks, providing them with vital sea turtle, monk seal and wildlife conservation guidelines.
  • Regular beach and marine cleans, as part of the PADI Aware International Cleanup Event – includes skin diving and snorkelling.

LATE SEASON (SEPT-OCT)
  • Public awareness and Rescue Station duty.
  • Migrating bird species population assessment – early mornings and evenings.
  • Identify and report areas that have been affected by human presence – pollution, light and sound disturbances.
  • Beach and forest rubbish clean-ups, to tidy up after tourism madness.
  • Island surveys, beach and forest walks, to assess damage on wildlife habitats: dune destruction, pollution, hunting.

WINTER MONTHS (NOV-FEB)

  • After completion of the Rescue Station in spring 2012, on-going maintenance, handyperson and technical support work will be required.
  • If there are injured sea turtles is care, tasks include preparation and administration of food, operation of the sea water supply systems, carrying and cleaning the animals, as well as cleaning the facilities and equipment.
  • Public awareness activities include the running of exhibition area and providing information.
  • Island surveys, beach and forest walks to assess damage on wildlife habitats from dune destruction, illegal developments, pollution, hunting.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

It is essential that you accurately evaluate your own ability to meet the conditions detailed below in order to safeguard your health and safety, and ensure that you can participate fully and effectively. Following is a list of conditions you need to be aware of and to consider before committing to the project:
  • While there are no extreme physical conditions or psychological demands, you should be fit and confident enough to walk at least 3-5 km (2-3 miles) of beach and/or uneven forest trails for up to 3 hours at a moderate pace.
  • You must have good night vision; you will be walking with very limited light and/or a red light, during night time patrols.
  • You must be able to wake up early and carry about a 2.5 kg (5 lb) pack - backpacks are used to carry the team’s field equipment - while walking on sand and forest paths.
  • Walking on uneven ground is difficult and not recommended for people with heart conditions, prosthetic limbs, or limited mobility.
  • Phobias to snakes and insects will pose a problem, although encounters with snakes in the wild are unlikely.
  • If you are allergic to insect bites, bees or wasps please come prepared with appropriate medication or epi-kit.
  • To avoid dehydration and other heat related conditions, you are advised to bring a reusable water bottle in order to stay hydrated during field activities.
  • Minor injuries or scrapes due to falls or tripping over obstacles on unsealed paths can occur while working.
  • Allergies or phobias to domestic pets will be problematic. There are resident domestic and farm animals living in and around the volunteer accommodation.
  • Volunteers will spend a considerable amount of time outdoors, often exposed to the elements. Appropriate skin and sun protection is highly recommended.
  • Temperatures in the height of summer - July and August - can go beyond the average highs of 40°C (104°F). If you are sensitive to heat or strong sun, consider participating on the project outside of peak season.
  • Submission of a Medical Clearance Form is required from all volunteers wishing to participate on the project.

FURTHER INFORMATION FOR VOLUNTEER CONSERVATION PROJECTS IN ZANTE ZAKYNTHOS

The main aim of the project is to protect the local flora and fauna and promote sustainable tourism. The Wildlife Information Centre was built in 1996 - the only one on the island - 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. Gerakas is one of the beaches from where the volunteers operate providing important information to the many people who visit each year, as well as doing research and monitoring work, and providing first aid should any of the creatures need it.

One way to try and persuade locals that conservation and eco holidays are beneficial to them is to promote Zakynthos as a great destination at any time, not just in the summer during the turtle season. Winter is just as amazing when wildflowers proliferate, birds are in abundance and Monk Seals are breeding. Another project the NGOs are concentrating on is to ensure illegal hunting is well and truly banned. Some people in Greece love shooting birds of any size and species, and do so indiscriminately, totally ignoring the illegality of it or whether the species is protected or not. One of the best ways to oppose the hunting is to extend the tourist season and promote bird watching and rambling activities throughout the Ionian, and cleaning up the countryside from the litter and shells left by the hunters. Sustainable tourism such as this would create jobs off-season and provide an alternative to the uncontrolled hunting. The publicity will also hopefully persuade the Greek government to enforce this European directive.

PROJECT FEES

Participation fees include administration and training costs; accommodation; bed linen and towels; project enrolment and donation; information pack, and a 1 year individual membership to Earth, Sea & Sky.

Earth, Sea & Sky is not in a position to offer financial assistance or give refunds. Participants cover all their travel, food and insurance expenses.

Duration Cost
2 weeks £380
3 weeks £515
4 weeks £640
5 weeks £760
6 weeks £880
7 weeks £995
8 weeks £1,115
9 weeks £1,240
10 weeks £1,365
11 weeks £1,485
12 weeks £1,600

www.earthseasky.org/volunteer.htm

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