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 eight 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 thirteen 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 Wildlife Sense Photo

From a young age, Annya has always had a passion for the environment, in particular, the marine environment. Annya grew up in Jamaica and would spend hours a day in the sea looking for new fascinating organisms.

Annya’s love for marine life only thrived as she got older leading her to the University of Liverpool, where she studied Marine Biology and graduated in 2016. During her time at university, her love for sea turtles was discovered. Now, 6 years later, she still works with Wildlife Sense and loves to spread her knowledge on sea turtles with others.

You’ll often find Annya on the beaches finding sea turtle nests or along the harbour wall coordinating a tagging event. Her favourite thing during these events is measuring turtles’ plastrons.

Francesca Fearnley

Francesca Fearnley

Having grown up in the middle of the English countryside, trips to the Welsh coast to visit her grandparents during her childhood provided Chess with hours of excitement and adventure (and the opportunity to present her own nature documentaries to an imaginary audience!). A few years later, whilst studying Geography at University, Chess developed a comprehensive understanding of the key issues facing the planet today. It was during this time that Chess learnt of Wildlife Sense and the vital work they do in protecting endangered sea turtles and their habitats from the many human induced threats they face. Chess couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a positive impact, so volunteered herself in the summer of 2016, returning later in 2018 as a Field Assistant. Her time with the project inspired her to launch several projects back in the UK, including leading a plastic free movement supporting her town become a plastic Free Community. 

Sophia Coveney

Sophia has always loved travelling, exploring new places, and chasing adventures. She has a passion for the marine environment which was fuelled by going off and scuba diving on family holidays whenever she could.

Sophia Coveney Field Leader

Having done turtle conservation work previously in Mexico, she decided to spend two weeks with Wildlife Sense in 2018. Biological sciences have always been her subject of interest, but due to course structures at university she was never able to do modules specifically in environmental or marine science, and so working with Wildlife Sense allowed her to get in touch with this again and reminded her of how much she wanted to make a difference in these areas.

After graduating from Durham University in Biology and Psychology in 2019, she left for Kefalonia to be a Wildlife Sense field assistant, and fell in love with the turtles, the island and the hectic lifestyle, spending as long as possible there before heading back.

Katiana Vlachopoulou

Katiana Vlachopoulou Field Leader

As a child, Katiana lived near the sea and one of her favourie activities during the summer was snorkelling. She was always amazed by the organisms she found and this is how she begun to admire wildlife.

She volunteered with animals for the first time in high school and this is when she fully comprehended the negative impact humans have on the environment and wildlife. In 2019 Katiana volunteered with Wildlife Sense for the first time. Her enthusiasm and passion for the project’s purpose and work led her to stay for 2.5 months experiencing both nesting and hatching season. In 2020 she’s returning as a Field Leader and plans to start studying Conservation Biology at the University of Aberdeen in January 2021.

Katiana likes going on morning surveys in the Avithos area, inventories and gets overexcited about tagging events. You’ll often find her tidying up or on the beach.

Harry Thomas

Harry Thomas rescuing hatchlings

Harry graduated from the University of Cumbria in 2011 with a BA in wildlife and media but initially began working as a gymnastics coaching and teaching assistant. He first discovered Wildlife Sense whilst on holiday in 2014 when he spotted a person wearing a blue t-shirt, holding a stopwatch and clipboard walking along Argostoli harbour (on their harbour shift!). An enthusiastic conversation ensued and ever since he has had Kefalonia, it’s beaches, people and of course it’s turtles embedded in his heart! He volunteered the following year and from 2016 to 2018 led the Lixouri field station.

Since the beginning Harry has grown huge enthusiasm for learning to recognise individual turtles that visit the island whether they be mating, nesting, foraging or just passing through. His favourite elements of sea turtle conservation are night survey and photo identification of the harbour turtles. While he may not be around for the entire season, he does come when he can to help a species close to his heart.


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