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"My fiance and I had a fantastic time participating in MOm's dolphin research project in the National Marine Park of Alonissos. Every day was filled with a new adventure as we searched for dolphins and whales. In addition to the research there were many unforgettable experiences. Our living accommodations, meals, historic sights, swimming in secluded coves with warm crystal clear water, and expert staff made this an experience we will never forget. Highlights include learning about the various dolphins and whales that inhabit the region, observing bow-riding dolphins while aboard the research vessel and sighting rare and elusive Cuvier's beaked whales. The NADP is a very worthy project and the information they collect will help in the future protection and conservation of the dolphins and whales occurring the region. I give the project my highest recommendation and encourage participation for an extremely rewarding experience. Finally, I want to give special thanks to Niki, the project leader, for her expert guidance in all aspects of the work and to Costas the highly skilled skipper of the research vessel.", Bud Antonellis, Hawaii USA

"My participation in the NADP program was a really challenging task from the beginning as I did my internship there - and I believe I made the best choice. Through this program I felt that I have contributed to the dolphins' better future. I have learnt a lot about those sweet animals, the beautiful area of the marine park and the island of Alonissos. The highlight for me was every first time we spotted an animal, either it was a dolphin or anything else. The enthusiasm was so great from all the people of the group! I was lucky enough to see the world's rarest pinniped, the Mediterranean monk seal, in its natural habitat. And not only that, but we spotted a plenty of other sea animals during our researching trips, such as sea turtles, rare sea birds, tuna fish...it was magical! A few people have such a chance. One of the strongest feelings left in the end is that you have been able to come in touch with the nature and feel part of it...But there was not only the scientific work that I enjoyed but also the communication and the connection with other people of the group, for example while eating all together on the boat. I could go on for hours telling about the beautiful experiences that I have gained, but I believe anyone should just go and live them himself!", Georgia Sarafidou, Greece

"My fiancee and I had an amazing time this past September participating in this program. This was truly a trip of a lifetime and I was unprepared for the richness the program offered us in the week we were there. Our leader was thorough, organized and an excellent communicator and every day was truly a new adventure. The island we stayed on was beautiful and our daily excursions were full of adventure and learning. I highly recommend this if you are looking for a way to learn about wildlife conservation, stay in an awesome place and spend your days as part of a team making a difference in the world.", Deborah Cassity, Hawaii USA

“I didn't want to leave!! I had a wondeful time and I was able to witness the first live sighting of a Cuvier's Beacked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris), of two different animals, in the same day! Every time I think of that moment I still get a chill and a small adrenaline rush.... The whole experience was incredible from the first moment we met the smiley faces of Niki and the other volunteers who made us feel at home until the fare well at the end of this amazing journey! The whole program was very well organized and the research team was very helpful and patient with us newbies. They explained everything in detail so we were able to understand the purpose of this project, what they are looking for, the methods they use and what we were supposed to do! In the mornings we would go out looking for dolphins and in the afternoon we were given presentations and talks. There was also enough time for us to rest, swim, eat, go out at night and discover Allonissos without compromising the project! Thank you MOm and all the people from the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project for this opportunity!” Mirka Koutsouri, Cyprus

“I had a spectacular week with the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project! I had a wonderful group, but it was Niki's passion, hard work and amazing attitude as the group leader that made this week so spectacular! The atmosphere was amazing. We all really enjoyed our time looking for dolphins together with the amazing combination of personalities and the liveliness of Niki and our ship captain Costa. The food was amazing and healthy. And best for last the program itself was fun and engaging! The introduction slideshow was really informative and helped me learn more about dolphins, their anatomy and importantly their fins! The excitement of spotting the first fin in the water is indescribable as is the purely incredible moment on seeing whales and hearing their breath! Back at the base sorting photos to find the individual dolphins was made fun and engaging through our group collaboration and interest and the film The End of the Line was amazing, interesting and inspiring. Thank you for an amazing experience, I highly recommend it and plan on going again!”, Bernadette Walsh, Australia

«Από το μαγικό αυτό ταξίδι με την ομάδα της MOm και με το πρόγραμμα NADP αποκόμισα μοναδικές εμπειρίες. Γνώρισα καινούργια άτομα με προσωπικότητα, από τη Νίκη ως επικεφαλής του προγράμματος μέχρι τη φοβερή προσωπικότητα του καπετάνιου μας...:) Λαμβάνοντας μέρος σε αυτό το πρόγραμμα , χάρις την ευγενή χορηγία του ιδρύματος Κωστοπούλου είχα την ευκαιρία να ανακαλύψω τη μοναδικότητα αυτών των υπέροχων πλασμάτων, των δελφινιών, στο θαλάσσιο πάρκο της Αλοννήσου όπου διαβιούν, να έρθω πιο κοντά τους, να τα δω από κοντά και να θαυμάσω τη γοητεία τους. Για τα δελφίνια , έμαθα διάφορα νέα  στοιχεία όπως για τη ζωή τους και τα είδη τους, καθώς και τις διαφορές τους από τα άλλα θηλαστικά. Η ευκαιρία που είχα να καταφέρω να δω τα δελφίνια να παίζουν μαζί μας στο καΐκι ήταν καταπληκτική. Το ευχαριστώ δε φτάνει για να εκφράσω την ευγνωμοσύνη μου προς το ίδρυμα Κωστοπούλου για την ευκαιρία που μας έδωσε να αποκτήσουμε νέες εμπειρίες και να μάθουμε περισσότερα για τα δελφίνια (ζώα που πραγματικά έχω σε μεγάλη εκτίμηση και αγαπώ). Ελπίζω να συνεχίσει το ίδρυμα να δίνει ευκαιρίες σε νέους ανθρώπους να συνεργάζονται με τη MOm σε τέτοια προγράμματα για την καταγραφή και συλλογή στοιχείων», Μαρία Πανταζή, Ελλάδα

«Εκ βαθέως καρδίας ευχαριστώ πολύ το Κοινωφελές Ίδρυμα Κωστόπουλος, για την οικονομική βοήθεια που μου έδωσε την δυνατότητα να βρεθώ για μια εβδομάδα κοντά σε μια αληθινή ερευνητική ομάδα. Προσκομίζοντας γνώσεις, αξέχαστες εμπειρίες και έντονες συγκινήσεις. Φυσικά θα ήταν άδικο να μην ευχαριστήσω εγκάρδια την επιστημονική υπεύθυνη κύρια Ανδρονίκη Παρδαλού και την επιστημονική της ομάδα! Η κύρια Παρδαλού και η επιστημονική ομάδα που μας υποδέχτηκε, από την πρώτη κιόλας μέρα στο νησί, ήταν μια ζέστη αγκαλιά που την αποτέλεσαν εξαίρετοι επιστήμονες και ξεχωριστά σκεπτόμενα άτομα με κοινωνικό-πολιτιστικες και περιβαλλοντικές γνώσεις και συνάμα ευαισθησίες. Η ομάδα δούλευε σκληρά και αδιάκοπα , ενωμένη ενώ χαρακτηριστικό τους ήταν το ήθος, το μεράκι και η αγάπη τους για αυτή την εργασία κάτω από τις αντίξοες κλιματικές συνθήκες. Η οργάνωση και εκτέλεση της ερευνάς, η φιλοξενία καθώς και η μεταφορά μας στο νησί ήταν σχεδιασμένα και λειτούργησαν άψογα χωρίς την παραμικρή ταλαιπωρία. Τέλος να επισημάνω ότι ο ρόλος του Ιδρύματος Ι.Φ. Κωστοπούλου ως Κοινωφελούς είναι πολύ σημαντικός και αναπόσπαστος γιατί σε διαφορετική περίπτωση αυτούς τους εξαίρετους επιστήμονες και λάμπρους νέους τους χαίρονται συνήθως χώρες του εξωτερικού. Είναι κρίμα να συμβαίνει αυτό τόσο για τους ιδίους όσο και για την Ελληνική Πολιτεία μας που δεν μπορεί να τους στηρίξει.», Καλλιόπη Παπαθανάση, Ελλάδα



“By participating in the dolphin census project in the northern Aegean Sea, I could reconnect with an aspiration I have had since I was a child: marine biology. In a gorgeous setting I had the opportunity to accompany biologists in the field, follow their work methods and feel their passion for their research topic: the beautiful marine fauna of the region. The great professionalism and personal commitment I met at all levels of MOm's work impressed me: at the scientific level (project conception, data collection and processing), in the communication work and the awareness-raising, the inventiveness at fundraising and the conviction of the volunteers from a variety of backgrounds. The fieldwork consisted in systematically sailing around and scanning the horizon to locate dolphins. When we met some of them, their exact positions and the constitution of the group were identified and each individual was photographed, if possible from both flanks. After a few hours at sea, work continued in MOm's office: I helped sort the pictures we made at sea and match the left and right flanks of each individual to begin with the database that would allow getting a precise picture of the mediterranean dolphin populations situation and developing conservation strategies. The combination of fieldwork and data processing gave me a good understanding of MOm's work. Furthermore, I received explanations and got to see movies about the broader ecological conditions and about the socio-economic reasons underlying this situation. Thus a very comprehensive approach. Last but not least: I had a great time discovering not only the beautiful island of Alonissos, with its old village, its beautiful beaches, its breathtaking views and its surroundings, but also a very welcoming, warm-hearted and open people. MOms collaborators, very friendly, showed me around the place and introduced me to the local nightlife and delicious food ;). I even had the chance to discover a little bit of Athens with them. MOm's work and the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project are awesome and I can only encourage you to support them with your participation or a financial support !”, Aline Von Imhoff, Switzerland

“Participating to the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project was an almost religious experience just by thinking that I may belong to the last generation that will be able to see dolphins free in their natural habitat. This was not the first time that I was working with MOm and I knew in advance the quality of their work. For a whole week, we would record various and rare species of animals that shelter around the Marine Park, its islands and islets. During this time I was fortunate to come across with almost every species of dolphins that exist in the Mediterranean Sea. Joining the project was a fantastic experience that I would definitely love to do again.”, Alexandra Pappa, Greece

“This project was great! The staff was helpful with the travel especially since it was my first time in Greece. The island has great beaches and some good tourist areas as well. The actual project work involves photographing dolphins, so hope that the sea isn't too choppy so you can see the fins from a distance. After photographing the pictures have to be matched to see which dolphins are the same to get an accurate count on the number of dolphins in the area. Overall the experience was awesome and I would definitely recommend it.”, Bradford Shieve, USA

"The NADP may be one of the best ways to spend a week of your life. Participants get the chance to experience dolphins in their natural habitat; something extraordinary that can only be gained in a handful of places. It is also a dream trip for wildlife photographers. I personally love taking pictures of animals in their natural habitat and this trip gave me an amazing opportunity to fulfill this dream. And what better time to take this trip than in the summer where not only the weather is wonderful (this is Greece we're talking about) but also dolphins give birth to their young. Last summer I saw not one but two calves riding the waves with their mothers. The setting for the project is also extraordinary. Life on the island of Alonissos is simple and peaceful but that doesn't mean that there isn't something for everyone! The picturesque chora ("the capital") on the top of the island is a must. You can enjoy a delicious Greek or international meal or drink while enjoying one of the most breathtaking views you have ever seen and probably will ever see. This is true for both the daytime and the nighttime. And last but definitely not least, as a participant you get to meet amazing, dedicated people who you can tell just love what they do. They are always there whatever you need them for, from having a casual chat about your life, goals and dreams to scientific reports and documentaries. I would do it over and over again!", Sofia-Stella Christou, Cyprus

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