Tales from the volunteers

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Lewis’ VET project in Greece

lewisnews

My name is Lewis Jones. I am currently taking part on a VET project with Archelon the sea turtle protection society of Greece at their rescue centre in Athens.

 

Archelon has three main objectives:

1 – To study the nesting habits of the sea turtle Caretta Caretta, looking at how best to conserve them.

2- To rescue and re-habilitate any injured or sick turtles found in and around Greece, through the use of the rescue centre.

3 – To educate the public on what dangers these creatures face and what they can do to help them.

 

I have had a very hands-on experience with the turtles and have been conducting the following.

- Cleaning both the tanks and the turtles.

- Conducting basic treatment of injuries, such as treatment to head injuries and missing limbs as well as the administration of drips.

- I have also conducted emergency first aid to turtles, especially when I have conducted a pick-up of a turtle. I have picked up two turtles, one is called Ariadni and Kornilllia, we hope that Ariadni will be released later in the year.

- I have also been conducting emergency procedures, most recently with the turtle Alkioni who came in with pneumonia.

- I have been conducting tube feeding, unfortunately a necessary procedure for many of the turtles that come through our doors.

- I have learnt a great deal about project co-ordination and how best to conduct all our activities while causing minimal stress to the turtles in our care.

 

In the next few weeks I will be helping with the final preparations for turtle releases. This requires me to work one on one with my manager Eirini as we conduct the final measurements and tagging of any turtles that will be due to be released, one of whom Ariadni is a turtle I have a very close bond with.

As it gets closer to summer and more turtles return to the Greek waters, more turtles will be arriving at the rescue centre with an ever-increasing workload.

 

I have learnt a great deal professionally since I have first arrived here, so much so that it has caused me to change the direction in which I want to take my professional career. Through this project I have learnt more about turtle ecology and turtle biology (especially while observing the necropsy of a four kilogram turtle who had died due to a hook trapped in his throat) and the risks that turtles face than I could ever have done in any lecture hall. The difference a place like this teaches you, in comparison to a classroom, is the difference between knowledge and comprehension. Through the care in which I have been conducting I have been able to learn in-depth about these creatures and why they have not had to adapt for thousands of years and how they are now adapting to the ever-changing environment that humans have created.

 

As you probably know, Marine biology is a highly competitive field. I have looked at several jobs as well as more advanced projects that require experience in many of the elements that I am receiving here. I was unfortunately unsuccessful for a job in the Seychelles on a private island, having got to the interview stage, simply because I did not have experience in turtle tagging. I was able to take this information to my manager Eirini who assured me that I will take part in turtle tagging to prevent a situation like this from happening again. Due to the length of my time here, it will give me a competitive edge for any jobs, projects or degree that require me to work with turtles in the future.

 

On a more personal note I have learnt a lot about other cultures. Due to the multi-cultural factor of the project I am regularly the only British person on the project. This has exposed me to many different cultures and the differences between these. For example, how people speak, the differences in mannerisms and what is acceptable in one culture but not another. There could be as many as 12 volunteers, but each person is from a different country. It teaches you how best to communicate with people when there is a language barrier and how to get the best out of each individual. We are also living in very close proximity to each other, now more than ever, therefore you learn many personal skills which would normally take years to master. Now, though, there are fewer volunteers, but it still blows my mind that I can be at a table of six volunteers/trainees and two members of staff, all speaking English, yet be the only English person at the table.

 

In our spare time we spend a great deal of time being common tourists, discovering the many hidden secrets of this ancient city of Athens as well as the major features. For example, the Acropolis (though in my opinion the many alley ways and houses around the Acropolis are the true stars of the city) and the old Olympic stadium which is truly beautiful. We have close ties with many people in the local community from the head waitress in our favourite restaurant to the part-time Greek volunteers who invite us to meet their families. It is not uncommon however for volunteers to come in on their days off especially as the work has increased, and after a hard days work there is nothing better than watching the sunset from the Rescue Centre decking (which in my honest opinion are some of the best sunsets I have ever seen).

 

As the virus has hit, the work that I have been conducting here has become even more important, as fewer volunteers can now arrive. Those who are still here are having to work even harder. There is no doubt in my mind that the best place for me is here, working with this team and helping to save the lives of these endangered turtles.

 

I hope that you take this testimonial as proof that this is the best place for me as a professional and as an individual.

 

______________________

 

Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

 

CH Banner Archelon

felix news

My project involves me working as a trainee mechanic for De Palm Tours here in Aruba and I work day and night shifts on alternate weeks. As part of this, I repair and service their fleet of UTVs, jeeps and buses on a daily basis and assist on engine maintenance for their De Palm Island ferries, small dinghies and 80ft catamaran. In the following months I will be helping with refitting and repainting a boat and constructing the new adult water park on De Palm Island. Also day shifts involve being sent out on road call to deliver replacement UTVs to meet the tourist groups at various sites across the island.

Overall I think I am most surprised that there is no fresh produce on the island, not even tropical fruit as it is all imported from overseas by plane or ship, which does make food shopping an expensive event.

I feel I have gained many skills already from this amazing project including learning how to weld (arc welding, MIG and oxy-fuel) and off-road driving, plus I have improved my cooking skills and qualified as a PADI Open Water scuba diver.

 

Felix Baines
____________________________________

Vocational Educational Training (VET) project part of ‘Discovering More’, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Emma news

I am Emma and I am currently taking part in the veterinary project in Aruba as well as working one day at the donkey sanctuary. I wanted to do this project as it offered experience I would not get elsewhere. The vets help me take part in all situations including surgery. The activities involved are day to day care for the animals which includes giving medicine and cleaning wounds. I spend most of my time in surgery as an assistant which includes opening sterile equipment for the surgeons, controlling the anaesthetic, checking heart rates, cauterising wounds, preparing animals for surgery, waking animals up after surgery. At the donkey sanctuary I help feed the donkeys, treat wounds and help in the shop.

The cultural shock I have had is the language, I have sometimes struggled at the vets with the language barrier but I am starting to now understand certain words and phrases which is making it easier.

I have learnt a lot so far, I have learnt a lot about the different surgeries. I have castrated cats myself and can do injections too and I have more responsibility now. I have also learnt to be more independent in every day life.

____________________________________

Vocational Educational Training (VET) project part of ‘Discovering More’, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

10 Croatia Tom Smith-1

My name is Tom from Leeds and I have just completed my foundation degree.
During my project in Croatia at a bear refuge, I carried out different DIY tasks such as building furniture, creating enrichment for the bears and working on a carpark for coaches for the refuge.
In my free time, I spent time chatting with other members on the project, observing bear behaviour, went on a hike up a mountain to camp and learnt other skills such as fire making.
Thanks to this project, professionally I learned how to live and work with others.  The project taught me also how to lead if needed.  I have improved my knowledge of the use of tools and bear enrichment.
Personally, I have learnt that I am more capable to complete tasks that are practical.  I met a lot of new friends on this experience.
Tom Smith

__________________________

croatia esc logos

Project organised by Everything is Possible and co-funded by the European Solidarity Corps programme of the European Union. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

09 Croatia Skye Webster-1

My name is Skye, I am a 19 year old college student.
During my project in Croatia, my group fed and observed bears, built and fixed things, had amazing lectures from a wild carnivore vet, made enrichment items for the bears and so much more.  I even managed to build a chair, stool and coffee table!
In my free time, we went hiking, camping, and watching the bears.
Thanks to this project, professionally I learned how to cook using limited ingredients.  I have developed my tool skills and have created things I didn’t think I could do. I have also developed my teamwork skills and have made some fantastic new friends.
Personally, I have learned that I can do things if I believe in myself. I have learned that if I push myself I can go a lot further.
Skye Webster

__________________________

croatia esc logos

Project organised by Everything is Possible and co-funded by the European Solidarity Corps programme of the European Union. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

08 Croatia Rebecca Taberner-1

My name is Rebecca, I am 22 and have just finished my FdSc Management of Animal Collections with Conservation degree
During my project in Croatia, I learnt to craft using wood, nails and other tools. I constructed signs for the refuge and fixed and painted fences. We also used tools to make enrichment for the bears.
In my free time, I used a burning tool to make souvenirs to take home. I also made a dream catcher out of scrap items.
Thanks to this project, professionally I learned more about bear behaviour when releasing them into new environments.  I have also massively improved my DIY skills.
Personally, I can overcome a wide variety of challenges both with myself and working with other people.
Rebecca Taberner

__________________________

croatia esc logos

Project organised by Everything is Possible and co-funded by the European Solidarity Corps programme of the European Union. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

07 Croatia Rebecca Hoyle-1

My name is Rebecca, I am 22 and have just finished my degree at Askham Bryan.
During my project in Croatia, I made signs for various things out of wood.  We cut up fruit and vegetables to make into ice-lollies for the bears and made bins from scrap wood.
In my free time, I did baking which included brownies and cake as well as trying out new savoury dishes like falafel.  I helped make a totem and camped out under the stars.
Thanks to this project, professionally I learned how to work within a large group of people.  I developed my skills in woodwork and building new things.  I have also learnt some basic Croatian.
Personally, I have gained more confidence and I have also learnt that I am quite good at cooking and developed my cooking skills.
Rebecca Hoyle

__________________________

croatia esc logos

Project organised by Everything is Possible and co-funded by the European Solidarity Corps programme of the European Union. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

06 Croatia Olivia Allman-1

My name is Olivia, I am 18 from York and a student at Askham Bryan College.
During my project in Croatia, I worked as part of a team making enrichment for the bears such as cutting up fruit and making ice-lollies. I brought broken fences back to life and refurbished old pieces of wood into colourful information signs.
In my free time, I baked flapjack, camped, watched and recorded bear behaviour and a professor in wild cats taught us how to track animals.
Thanks to this project, professionally I learned how to use and maintain tools to build enrichment, fences and signs.  I have developed my cooking skills and know how to work successfully in a group.
Personally, I have gained much more confidence around people and part of a group. I have also massively improved my DIY skills.
Olivia Allman

__________________________

croatia esc logos

Project organised by Everything is Possible and co-funded by the European Solidarity Corps programme of the European Union. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

56 Martinique Ellie Barrow-1

I am Ellie and I am 18 years old. My project is in Martinique with youth in the town.
My favourite experience on this project is Gymnastics. I enjoyed this project as I got to see how the parents got involved with the activity and working with different ages. What I learn from this session was new french phrases and how there might be a language barrier, however, we can still complete the same activity through physical actions and the importance of demonstration. This experience has showed me how I can communicate through demonstrations and actions, something that will help me.
I have found that this experience has made me more independent as we have been cooking and cleaning for ourself. I will take this skills home with me and they will help me in life.
Ellie Barrow

 
____________________________________

Vocational Educational Training (VET) project part of ‘Discovering More’, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
DM Banner Askham YITT LQ
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

05 Croatia Molly Gannon-1

My name is Molly from Askham Bryan College studying Anima Science.
During my project in Kuterevo, Croatia, I worked on a number of activities including making enrichment for the bears, which were stuffed with food, carrying out maintenance, making bins and doing up a new campsite.
In my free time,  we made a campfire, we also hiked up a mountain.
Thanks to this project, professionally I learned more about bears and their requirements.  I also learnt that teamwork is the biggest part of completing a project successfully, as everyone has their strengths and we are able to help one another improve on our weaknesses.
Personally, I learnt that I am much stronger than I thought, and that it is important to believe in yourself.
Molly Gannon

__________________________

croatia esc logos

Project organised by Everything is Possible and co-funded by the European Solidarity Corps programme of the European Union. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Recieve Our Newsletter

  • © Everything Is Possible 2016
  • Everything Is Possible, 81 Station Road, Upper Poppleton, York, YO26 6PZ, United Kingdom