Chios post fire - Getting a Van to a Man that Can

To help turn the fire-damaged hillsides of Chios green again, we will buy a multi-purpose vehicle for the fabulous, local, reafforestation volunteers.
Anna Stamatiou
United Kingdom
5 Team Members


This campaign is about working to protect and restore the forests of Chios that were destroyed by fire last August, 2012.  You have supported it by helping us fund the purchase of a multi-purpose vehicle for TEAM OMIKRON so that it can get its people and equipment to where they are needed.  

Η προσπάθεια αυτή είναι για την προστασία και αποκατάσταση των δασικών εκτάσεων της Χίου που κάηκαν τον περασμένο Αύγουστο.  Ολοί όσοι συνέβαλλαν βοήθησαν να πάρουμε στην ΟΜΑΔΑ ΟΜΙΚΡΟΝ ένα όχημα πολλαπλών χρήσεων ώστε να μεταφέρουν ό,τι χρειάζεται (κόσμο / εργαλεία κλπ) στα σημεία δράσης.



Chios Nature - our official logo

CHIOS NATURE is a not-for-profit company founded in London in 2005.  We have been working since then to protect and preserve the wildlife of the Greek islands of Chios, Oinousses and Psara.

We produce high-quality educational materials for local schools, and run an annual Wildlife Photography Competition that promotes awareness of the natural riches of the islands.  We also campaign on specific issues (e.g. for the protection of wild orchids; against environmentally damaging developments etc.) on a case-by-case basis, as the need arises. 

We keep over 1,000 supporters updated about environmental issues that affect "our" islands through regular posts on our Facebook page, and offer a wealth of wildlife images and information on our website, in both Greek and English...



On the 18th of August 2012, a small fire started in the mountains near the centre of Chios.  The fierce northerly winds blowing that night whipped the flames into an inferno that raged out of control for six days.  By the time it was finally extinguished, the fire had destroyed 36,000 acres of forest and farmland.   Many hundreds of the island's unique mastic bushes were lost, along with scrubland, olive groves, vineyards, crops, farm animals and wildlife.  In all, about one-fifth of the island turned to ash.  The scenes in our video were shot while the fire was still burning and in the days immediately following. Luckily, nobody was killed, but thousands of dead pine trees now stand like grey guardians of the blackened slopes. 


New seedling, ready for planting

Here's how...

Since the fire, Chios Nature has received many messages from people that love the island asking what they can do to support restoration work.  We were already investigating opportunities.  Since we have very little money ourselves, and neither equipment nor personnel, it initially appeared we might be powerless to help.  But thankfully, there are...

...the brilliant VOLUNTEERS!


Omikron logo


Specifically, TEAM OMIKRON - a group of committed local people, now about 100 strong - is ready, willing and able.  It has been running successful fire-spotting, fire-fighting, clearing and reafforestation programmes all over Chios since 1999.  Highly motivated, well-managed and admired by both the Forestry Service and the professional Fire Brigade, this group is greatly valued by the local authorities because of its proven track record.  But it, too, is chronically short of funds. This means the team is constantly struggling to work at its full potential.  One of the greatest challenges it faces is in the transportation of its people and gear.

OMIKRON volunteers prepare the ground and select site-appropriate species

That's why CHIOS NATURE launched this campaign and asked its friends and supporters to join us in helping TEAM OMIKRON to get a vital piece of equipment - A MULTI-PURPOSE VEHICLE.  (In England we call it a "van").


At CHIOS NATURE we believe in reinforcing success.  We also think that we should not try to reinvent the wheel.  So we're not setting up yet another new group to do reafforestation work - we already know "a man that can"  (and lots of women too).  And WITH YOUR SUPPORT we are going to help them do it even more effectively.  Here's the plan:


                                ... AND THEY GET THE JOB DONE

The group's volunteers will use the new van this campaign will provide, to transport what they need, to where they need it:  tools & equipment, personnel, seedlings, even a tank full of water will be able to be delivered to any location on the island that can be reached by road.  The people of OMIKRON will be our hands on the ground, greening the hillsides again.

Under the guidance of the Forestry Service, OMIKRON have already collected seeds that they will be planting this Spring to produce the saplings that, in a year or two, they will use to create new plantations of pines and other native species. Once the volunteers have planted the young trees, they will protect them (by fencing) from grazing herds, water and care for them until they become established.

In the meantime, they are pruning and clearing dry undergrowth from surviving forests, to stop future fires from being able to spread quickly, and supporting the work that has already begun to prevent the soil erosion that so often follows an intense fire. 

In a natural process that may seem less dramatic than the fire itself, but is no less damaging, precious soil gets washed down into the sea when it rains, carrying with it vital nutrients and any viable seeds that might have survived the flames.  

Precious soil washes down to the sea when it rains

Anti-erosion measures are a top priority...  New trees must have soil to grow in!  Some work is already underway, as you can see from the image below - but the scale of the task is simply huge.  So OMIKRON need all the help we can give them.

In an intelligent use of dead wood, burned trunks are split and laid so that they stop soil and seeds washing down the damaged hillsides when it rains.


OMIKRON have identified a number of pre-owned vans that would suit their needs.  The amount (16,500 euro) we are aiming to collect, will cover the cost of buying one of these on the Greek mainland and transporting it by ferry to Chios.

CHIOS NATURE is acting as coordinator of this effort, but none of the funds you pledge will be retained by us - they will all be channelled to TEAM OMIKRON. 

If there is any money left over from the purchase of the van, we will use it to buy as much additional equipment as we can.  That means things like: chain saws, gloves, protective work gear etc. and give that to the volunteers as well. (They'll even have something to carry it all around in)!

For the lovely people that decide to pledge funds to this project we have put together a range of "goodies" that we will send you, according to the level of your contribution.  If you have chosen a "perk" make sure we also have a postal address for you!

When you've got one of these, you're truly a member of TEAM OMIKRON

Goodies for our brilliant supporters

We also plan to make a short film about the work of OMIKRON, so that you will be able to see not only the mighty van itself in action, but also the many facets of the work that the team does to protect and restore the landscapes of Chios.  We have started collecting footage for this, even though the van has not yet been bought.





Find This Campaign On
raised by 101 people in 1 month
121% funded
0 time left
€16,500 EUR goal
Fixed Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on March 1, 2013
Select a Perk
  • €10EUR

    We will create a page on the Chios Nature website that describes what this campaign was all about, and lists the names of all those that contributed. Provided you want it to be, yours will be on it! We will also send you, by email, a link to the film we will make of the work of TEAM OMIKRON. It will take longer than other perks to arrive... as we haven't made it yet!

    20 claimed

    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • €25EUR
    Chian mastiha gum

    The above perk PLUS two packets of the unique chewing gum made in Chios with mastiha. This one is and scented with mandarin and lemon essential oils. We will send you one of each flavour to try.

    9 out of 50 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • €50EUR
    400g box of Turkish delight

    The above two perks PLUS a box of Turkish delight, flavoured with mastiha oil and made in the village of Kallimasia.

    5 out of 30 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • €100EUR
    OMIKRON baseball cap

    The three perks above, PLUS a genuine TEAM OMIKRON baseball cap. One size fits all because they are adjustable. Wear with immense pride, because at this level you are MEMBER OF THE TEAM!

    9 out of 50 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • €200EUR
    Scented soaps

    The four perks above, PLUS a set of three individually boxed mastiha oil soaps made in Kallimasia, Chios, each with one of these three added scents: lavender & sandalwood / honey / rosemary.

    4 out of 50 claimed

    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • €500EUR
    Your name on THE VAN

    All the above perks PLUS your name on the van. We will create a plaque that will be permanently displayed on the new TEAM OMIKRON van. This will list the names of the project's Principal Supporters. Provided you so desire, yours will be among them.

    8 claimed

    Estimated delivery: June 2013
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