Who we are

Chanel Comis

Chanel Comis

Chanel's deep desire to be an integral part of a team devoted to conservation efforts and scientific research has led her to work with sea turtles for over six years. Her enthusiastic and ambitious attitude, combined with an inherent desire to work with endangered species has inspired her to promote awareness about these species and important environmental issues. Chanel has pursued this passion through working with several environmental conservation organizations, both in America and Greece. She earned her B.S. in Biology and minor in Chemistry with honors from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, NY, while interning at the Bronx Zoo, where she became interested in animal behavior. Chanel graduated from Coastal Carolina University, SC, with a master's degree in Coastal  Marine and Wetland Studies. She conducted her research thesis on loggerhead sea turtle hatchling orientation in Kyparissia, Greece.

Nikos Vallianos

Nikos Vallianos

Nikos' love for the sea was fostered from childhood when he would often spend hours snorkeling to observe the sea bottom and its variety of plants and animals, often freediving at forty or fifty feet to reach them. Later in life, while working as a computer programmer, he volunteered with the Red Cross's Rescue Team in open water lifeguarding and earned a lifesaving instructor certification.

Since first volunteering for sea turtle conservation, Nikos has worked as a field researcher, field leader, and project coordinator for several conservation projects for over eleven years. He completed a BSc in Wildlife Management at the University of Aberdeen, UK, with a dissertation research project investigating the light pollution tolerance of sea turtle hatchlings. He specializes in technical instrumentation for research as well as the investigation and response to violations against wildlife and the natural environment.

 

Annya McKenzie

Annya McKenzie

Annya completed her degree the summer of 2016 from the University of Liverpool, where she received a BSc in Marine Biology. Since childhood, Annya has had a passion for working with and around marine life after growing up in Jamaica.

This will be Annya’s 4th summer working with Wildlife Sense. Initially, she volunteered to gain work experience and more knowledge on sea turtles for her degree but really achieved so much more. She is now sharing her passion for sea turtles to anyone that happy to listen.

Along with Annya's degree and time working with Wildlife Sense she has gained many skills including: leadership, team work, data collection and data entry. Her favourite shift is morning survey, heading to the nesting beaches while the sun rises.

Harry Thomas

Harry Thomas rescuing hatchlings

Harry graduated from the University of Cumbria in 2011 with a BA in Wildlife and Media and as part of his course undertook many exciting projects from photographing Tigers in India to filming Red Deer on the Isle of Rum.

His professional background has been in sports and education, initially as a gymnastics coach and then working as a teaching assistant, sports coach and class supervisor in schools. In recent years he has taken up photography and been fortunate enough to have some work published.

He has always had a lifelong affinity with wildlife and the natural word which led him to volunteer with Wildlife Sense for the first time in 2015. He returned as field leader for Lixouri the following year and will be using all the experience gained from 2016 to once again take up the position on the Paliki peninsula for 2017. Whilst relishing all the challenges a standard season in turtle conservation can throw up he is particularly excited by the adrenaline of night time tagging!

Easy to talk to and a big time team player Harry loves to learn and help others learn too. With a tendency to sing like no one is listening and dance on shifts, working with a smile is the aim of his game!

Laura Devine

Laura Devine on the beach

Laura graduated from UEA with a degree in Biological Sciences and is passionate about wildlife conservation. She hopes to pursue this career by working in the field and through studying for a Master’s degree over the next couple of years.

Laura first came to Kefalonia in 2015 when she volunteered for a month, overlapping both nesting and hatching seasons. The experience led her to return in 2016 as a field assistant, spending three months developing and sharing her passion for wildlife conservation with volunteers and members of the public alike. 

She is organised and hard-working, with a bubbly personality and is always keen to share her interest and enthusiasm for Kefalonia’s sea turtles!