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Archipelagos blog

Although the revitalization and redesign of Archipelagos website hasn’t finished there is a new section of the website that is gaining momentum. Let’s call it beta stage blog. Not all the kinks have been ironed out, there are likely to be some changes as things develop and more content finds its way online but I guess it’s far enough to make it public.

The way it works is that each member of the team is supposed to write a short summary of their work in the past week. Since we already have internal weekly presentations at the terrestrial base this isn’t much of a stretch or bother (might be more so for the marine team) and will hopefuly do a better job of informing the general public of the work being done than the old website. From what I’ve discussed and learned in the past months it became clear that most locals are aware of the organisation but in general have no idea what’s going on up here.

Bee interviews

bee interviews Yorgos & Yannis, copyright Archipelagos/Jernej Burkeljca

I wish I had more time to take this project further towards something similar we did with the goats but since I’m leaving the island in a few days it’s unlikely I’ll take more than a few portraits.

Some background might be in order… Ewa is doing a project researching possible presence of Colony Collapse Dissorder (or something like that) and we had our first interview some days ago with Yorgos, a beekeeper from Christos. Yannis was our translator for the evening and Yorgos likes to talk. A lot. At least it was over dinner. The interview ended at about 2am I believe… There are going to be some very late nights if the trend continues with other beekeepers ;)

bee interviews 2 Yorgos & Ewa, copyright Archipelagos/Jernej Burkeljca

The Poo Collectors

I guess it’s about time I explain why and how all the poo collecting photos end up in the gallery. See… everything around here at Archipelagos revolves around poo. Be it the mythical otter poo (Jude and Johanna’s territory) or goat poo (now departed team of 7 students from Agrocampus Rennes) among other projects.

Otter poo is more than likely a myth (not one for the mythbusters I’m affraid) but that is hardly an issue for Archipelagos. Decision was made that otters are to be found on the island so we go out there and look for them tirelessly. The problem is that we don’t find any otter poo or prints in the sand (actually seeing an otter is highly unlikely) but large numbers of other poo varieties. Examining it closely is, of course, half the fun.

The french team was dealing with poo on an entirely different scale though. With goats far outnumbering human residents on the island (think somewhere along the lines of 30.000-35.000 animals vs. about 5.000 humans) it’s hard not to find any evidence of their existence. Their research was focused on effects of goat breeding on the forest of Radi (one of last remaining mediterranean forests of Quercus Ilex or so I’ve been told), so poo collecting was one of the things needed to be done in order to determine something or other of significance.
Coming from a country with more than 50% of it covered with trees I wasn’t all that impressed walking around Radi, as perhaps I should have been, but apparently it really is a big deal. It definitely is a nice forest (if somewhat small in scale) with some rather old trees and that’s why they want to protect it. Goats are just one of the problems in this story…

shepherd in Petropouli
shepherd in Petropouli, photo copyright: Archipelagos/Jernej Burkeljca

On site examination of the forest was one aspect of their research so while half the team got to do some measurements and stuff, others were driving around the island interviewing people from every background imaginable. We had interviews with shepherds, farmers, agropolice, forest rangers, mayors & other politicians… damn near half the population.

Postmaster from Evdilos, photo copyright: Archipelagos/Jernej Burkeljca

Definitely a very memorable experience getting to meet such a diverse group of people, hearing their opinions on the forest and more importanly – enjoying their hospitality and eating a lot of great food. I’d certainly like to do more in the future. But I have to edit the movie first…

Photos from the interview are in their own album.

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