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MOm

About

MOm/The Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal is a not-for-profit, non-governmental environmental organization, established in 1988. MOm's mission is "the protection of the marine and coastal environment, focusing on the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal”. In acknowledgment of MOm’s contribution to the conservation of nature, the organization was accepted in 1996 as a member by IUCN. MOm, is also among the acknowledged research institutes and the only acknowledged NGO in Greece, according to the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

Website
www.mom.gr
Founded
1988

Reviews

Hayley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best time of my life!

I joined the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project in July for one week and immediately regretted for not spending more time there! It was probably one of the best time in my life. I came there for my career break, with an exhausted mind and body, and left Alonissos with a refresh mind, totally forgot about whatever I had in Hong Kong, the hastle busy work life.

Kimon has been so helpful in and out of the programme, he made me feel home. As an marine biologist expert, Kimon explained to me issues of dolphins and sea lives. 🏖️🐳🐬We went on boat looking for dolphins, had lunch on the boat and spent the rest of the time swimming at the sea. How amazing life was!!! 😍He showed me around the island. I met a brunch of Greek volunteer young people there and had a wonderful time with them touring around the island of Alonissos. :)

Alonissos is a beautiful heaven on earth with clearest water, nicest people. Small and sweet island life, Kimon said you will be able to recognise most of the people on the island if you are spending like 2 weeks there! Endless to talk about for this programme. 😌 Definitely recommend it to everyone!!!

Graham
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SOMETHING SPECIAL

My brother and I had an amazing time participating in this program.
The people behind the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project are MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal it is a not-for-profit, non-governmental environmental organisation, established in 1988. MOm's mission is "the protection of the marine and coastal environment, focusing on the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal".
Here we go
It was a full week starting from breakfast in the morning with the group then down to the “ Odysseia “ boat and the adventure got under way.

I was planning to write an in-depth review then I thought actions speak louder than words.
WE HAVE BOOKED FOR 2017

Rachael
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Brilliant!!!!!!!

We spent everyday on board of The Odyssey, the research boat, looking out over the waves for the dorsal fins of dolphins. Once found, you get to see how they document the sighting with underwater cameras, drones, and the boat's recording equipment. Then in the evening, it was the interns job to sort out the photos taken, crop them and group them into individuals. On days when we didn't see dolphins, we would go swimming or hiking around the Sporades.The staff are really friendly and full of character, and are very willing to help. Getting to the islands are a bit expensive, but it is definitely worth it, and its wonderful to be able to support MOm!

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Victoria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Northen Aegean Dolphin Project

It was an amazing experience! I loved that we spend so much time on the boat exploring the sea. The programm is very well organised, the people working for it are very friendly and the island of Alonissos is beautiful. It's a great experience for someone who is interested in marine life!

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George
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing, unique experience!

I went to Alonissos in late July 2015 in order to participate for 1 week in the NADP. Overall, the experience was very fulfilling and exceeded my expectations! I would highly recommend the program to anyone and especially to marine biology students! The marine park is wonderful with abundant wildlife; specifically we observed two distinct types of dolphins (several times) and even two cuvier's whales besides numerous species of rare sea birds! The MoM staff are all very nice, experienced, knowledgeable and helpful people, experts in their respective fields and have been instrumental in making this an unforgettable experience for everybody! The island of Alonissos is amazing, green and peaceful, with amazing beaches, delicious food and opportunities for activities such as scuba diving and trekking!

Programs

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Androniki Pardalou

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What position do you hold at MOm? What has been your career path so far?

I am a newcomer at the scientific team of MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal, working as the Coordinator of the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project, a recently launched research program on dolphin population monitoring at the National Marine Park of Alonissos Northern Sporades, Greece (MNPANS).

For the past four years I have been working in various Greek not-for-profit, non-governmental organizations. I find it very fascinating, as it is also hard, trying to influence and educate the public on matters of environmental conservation. When my work involves the sea and marine life, my everyday life becomes even more interesting.

Did YOU volunteer abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

Unfortunately, I have never had the chance to volunteer abroad, since I needed to stay in Greece and work the moment I finished with my studies. Many interesting projects have come to my attention involving volunteer work abroad, either providing humanitarian aid or getting involved with environment-oriented activities, such as field research, environmental education etc.

So, since I could not afford to participate in such a venture abroad I decided to work in one, the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project. It is a project that has been inspired by other successful and interesting volunteer programs both in Greece and abroad, and tries to provide the volunteer with an invaluable experience not only in matters of the actual work on board and back on land, but also regarding the relationships built among participants and the local community and the exchange of notions.

What does the future hold from MOm – any exciting new programs to share?

MOm will continue to have a strong presence in Mediterranean Monk Seal conservation and research. We are currently involved in two EU funded LIFE+ Projects; the “Thalassa” project (means ‘sea’ in Greek), which is an awareness campaign for the conservation of marine mammals in Greece, and the “CYCLADES LIFE” project aiming to establish a model marine Protected Area in the wider area of the Gyaros island (Greece).

At the same time, we have recently launched the “Northern Aegean Dolphin Project”, a work for a cause volunteer project, on dolphin sightings and population monitoring in the National Marine Park of Alonissos Northern Sporades (NMPANS), Greece. Dolphin sightings are common in the NMPANS, however there are no systematic research efforts. People interested in supporting the project, will join MOm’s research team and be actively involved in daily field surveys at sea, collecting important data on dolphin populations.

What about the future of the industry? How do you think volunteer abroad will change over the next 10 years?

There is certainly going to be an accelerated need of people willing to offer their services, and quite often provide economic support, on volunteer projects in general. Many countries, some in the spectrum of the “developed” ones, are in a social turmoil; injustice and impoverishment are intensifying, social health infrastructures are degrading. At the same time environmental conservation in these countries is not only left aside but has been brutally forced many steps backwards. NGO’s, at least here in Greece, are more than ever dependant on people’s support, uniting and raising their voice in favor of both social justice and provision, as well as environmental protection.

Unfortunately, there is a vast pool of issues arising and there are more to come, e.g. privatization of freshwater resources, exclusive management of seeds by corporations etc. So, I guess the bet, in the long-run, is whether this “industry” of volunteer abroad will manage to keep up with the developments and the demands for aid that those arise, in the years to come.

Which volunteer abroad destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

Well, I would say that regarding environmentally oriented projects, the Mediterranean region in general is underrated, since it usually “loses” when compared to more exotic and Hollywood like sceneries. For example, not many people (not even Mediterraneans) are aware that the Mediterranean sea is a biodiversity hot-spot, hosting among others, important species of marine mammals, like Sperm Whales, Common Dolphins, porpoises, the Mediterranean Monk Seal etc.; species threatened with extinction. There are quite a lot of volunteer projects implemented in the region, on sea turtle monitoring, whale-watching, dolphin sightings, environmental education, which should definitely gain more attention.