The Argosaronic Environment Foundation (AEF) was founded in 2021 to encourage local communities to preserve and regenerate the region’s exceptional marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Ultimately, we seek to improve the relationship between humans and nature.

The first two years of activity primarily focused on fostering sustainability initiatives for the islands and mainland coastline of the Argolic Gulf. Today, our work extends to the coasts of Attica and the islands of the Saronic Gulf, which share a rich natural heritage and maritime tradition.

We support local communities leading conservation initiatives for the Argosaronic species and ecosystems and fostering sustainable development in the region.

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Our people

A Steering Committee (SC), composed of founding and actively involved donors, directs the strategy. They analyse and approve grants and use their personal networks to broaden the base of supporters. The SC members have a wide array of backgrounds and interests, but all share a passion for protecting the Argosaronic’s outstanding natural beauty.

Our local team consists of one person as the local Executive Director in charge of day-to-day management and coordination work on the ground, assisted by advisors and the SC.


  • Daphne Mantziou

    Executive Director

    Daphne joined as the AEF Executive Director in March 24 embracing the amazing challenge of expanding the Foundation’s geographical outreach.

    With over 20 years of hands-on experience in nature conservation and sustainable development within the non-profit and corporate sectors, she brings a wealth of expertise and passion to the Foundation’s multifaceted work. She has an interdisciplinary background in environmental and business studies and her focus has primarily revolved around community-based initiatives in the areas of local engagement, advocacy, capacity-building and campaigning in Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean region.

    Engaged in diverse projects and numerous regional and European partnerships, Daphne has substantially contributed to cross-border collaboration networks delivering positive environmental and social impacts on the ground. A notable achievement includes leading the transformation of the Mediterranean island of Tilos into a model zero-waste community, showcasing the potential for local behavioural change towards sustainable living.

    Mission-driven to incite positive change to a rapidly changing global environment, she values local knowledge and the agency of people to join forces towards communal challenges when empowered to take ownership of their communities.

    She is excited to be part of an enthusiastic, diverse like-minded community, to pursue networking with passionate people and to mobilise action for impactful grassroots nature conservation initiatives in the Argosaronic region.


  • Nancy Burrell


    In her third year as a DPhil candidate in biology at the University of Oxford, Nancy Burrell explores the carbon storage potential within rewilding ecosystems. She is driven by a desire to reveal the societal benefits of rewilding, focusing on natural capital and the various ecosystem services these natural processes can provide. Nancy’s deep-seated fascination with rewilding as a conservation strategy began in her childhood, spent at Knepp. This interest evolved into a conviction that nature holds powerful solutions to current global issues, including climate change, soil degradation, and human health.

    Before starting her doctoral research, Nancy achieved an MSci in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton in 2018. Her master’s project took her to the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and Bergen University, investigating the influence of megafauna on post-glacial landscapes.

    In addition to her ongoing research at Oxford, Nancy is an avid scuba diver and has served as a divemaster on research expeditions across the globe – notably in Cuba, Honduras, and Costa Rica. These experiences have deepened her appreciation for fully functioning, dynamic ecosystems and the ways biodiversity contributes to ecosystem function and resilience. Above all, her global explorations have reinforced the importance of observing nature with a sense of humility.


How we work

The AEF seeks to catalyse the preservation of the Argosaronic natural resources through fundraising and channeling of funds to local conservation initiatives that provide solutions to critical environmental problems in the Argosaronic.

We identify the core conservation issues in the Argosaronic islands, mainland coastline and sea and chose to focus on main areas of interest

We network with and reach out businesses and philanthropists to raise funds for the support of local action with positive environmental impact

We seek to identify sustainable local conservation initiatives and grassroots projects and assist them financially and practically to scale their impact

We actively listen to communities’ concerns and make connections between their needs and the conservation issues to be addressed

We are transparent, consistent, reliable and respectful

We seek to build local coalitions and broader networks that catalyse systemic change

We empower local actors through the provision of expertise, resources, capacity building and connections

We support businesses and consumers to act more sustainably

We encourage innovation, promote collective action and building of partnerships

We showcase the achievements of community-based initiatives to attract additional sources of environmental funding

  • We pool funds and create leverage for each donor to share in the successes generated by total AEF funds raised
  • We strive to create a harmonious balance between human activities and the natural world.

We strongly believe that supporting local environmental groups can make a positive impact and bring about long-lasting change.

Join us in our commitment to ensuring a sustainable future for the Argosaronic region and beyond.