Nikos Petrou was born in Athens where he lives and practices. After graduating from the University of Athens Dental School, he completed his postgraduate training in prosthodontics at Emory University Dental School, in the USA.
From a young age he was attracted to nature, especially birds, and he has participated in ringing programmes and other fieldwork, in Greece and other countries. Since 1987 he has been photographing nature and wildlife in Greece, traveling continuously all over the country. His photographs have been published in magazines in Germany and Great Britain and he is a regular contributor to Greek magazines and newspapers like “Kathimerini”. In addition, for many years he has been painting birds; his paintings have illustrated two publications of the Goulandris Museum of Natural History.
Nikos Petrou has worked with many of the environmental NGOs in Greece, including the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, WWF Greece, Arcturos, Archelon and the Hellenic Ornithological Society.
He has been a member of the board of directors of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature for some years and editor of its quarterly publication “I Fysi” (Nature) since 2007. Since February 2009 he is the President of the HSPN.
His published works include the coffee-table books: “Images of Dadia” (1994), “Reflections on Kerkini” (1996) and “Acheloos” (2001). The images and texts of these books are the result of exhaustive research and years of work in the field in those areas.
In 1999 he provided the text and photos for the desktop calendar “The Nature of Thrace”. In 2000 he was commissioned to provide photographs for the book “Milos. Geologic History” by Ian Plimer and, in 2002, for the book “Amvrakikos” by Yannis Raptis and Stamatis Zogaris. In 2000 he published the first in a series of smaller coffee-table books “Mesolongi”, followed in 2003 by “Dadia” and “Kerkini”.
He has published two coffee-table books in cooperation with fellow nature photographer Kostas Vidakis: “The Colours of Water” (2008) and “Colours of the Forest–Rodopi” (2009). In 2009, after more than 15 years of research and fieldwork, his photographs also illustrated the field guide “Orchids of Greece”, written by Maria Petrou and Marios Giannakoulias; the guide includes all 210 taxa occurring in Greece.
In 2010 he published the large folio volume “Greece. Land of Diversity”, a celebration of his country’s rich natural heritage, which includes extensive information on species and habitats, as well as on current environmental issues. Nikos Petrou donated all profits fro the sales of this book to the HSPN.
His latest book, «An expert’s guide to finding the animals in Etosha» about Etosha National Park in Namibia, with texts by Neil MacLeod, was published by Klaus Hess Verlag in 2012
He has also contributed photographs to the books «The Birds of Kuwait» (KUFPEC, 2012) and «Discovering the stream of Pikrodafni » (HSPN, 2012); for the latter he was editor in charge. His books have been listed by the Hellenic Book Centre among the most important books on Greek nature and the newspaper “Ta Nea” referred to him as “…one of the leading wildlife photographers in Greece…”
The Hellenic Post Office has selected his photographs several times for commemorative sets of stamps: in 2001for the series on Greek flora and fauna, in 2003 for the series on Greek islands, in 2005 for the series on Greek wildflowers, and in 2014 for the series on common Greek songbirds.
Since September 2012 he has been Project Coordinator for the LIFE+ project LIFE11/NAT/GR/1014, ForOpenForests, co-funded by the European Commission. This 5-year project is implemented by the HSPN, in cooperation with the University of Athens, the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems, the NGO Arcturos and the Region of Sterea Ellada. The main objective of the project is to design and implement management practices in forests and forest openings for the conservation of biodiversity at species, habitat, and landscape level, in two mountainous Natura 2000 sites of Central Greece, in the Region of Sterea Ellada: “ETHNIKOS DRYMOS OITIS” (GR2440004) and “OROS KALLIDROMO” (GR2440006).