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corfu butterfly conservation ABOUT DISCUSSION THE BUTTERFLIES RECORDING CONTACT US SIGN IN Greek
ABOUT DISCUSSION THE BUTTERFLIES RECORDING CONTACT USSIGN INGreek

Introducing the team

Harry Clarke

Harry Clarke
Harry Clarke

My passion for butterflies started when I was a boy and I submitted my first butterfly records to John Heath, which were included in the 1984 Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland. My career was in IT but my interest in butterflies was only revisited later in life when I had sufficient time to indulge my desire to study this fascinating group of invertebrates.

I was a co-author of the Butterflies of Surrey Revisited, published in 2013 and became the County Butterfly Recorder for Surrey shortly afterwards. One of my more recent interests has been studying the populations of Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus) butterflies on the Surrey heaths. This insect had been traditionally considered sedentary, but my research demonstrated movement throughout the heathland landscape was essential for the survival of this early successional species.

I also help manage Butterfly Conservation’s reserve at Oaken Wood, where I find myself exhilarated by working with individuals who have a common cause. I am now delighted to have turned my attention to a new canvas, that of the Corfiot butterfly fauna and consequently, to have become a member of the Corfu Butterfly Conservation team.

Mark Colvin

Mark Colvin
Mark Colvin

I have an active interest in entomology at both amateur and professional levels, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London in 1988. With a passion for invertebrate conservation and education, I was a former editor of the Sussex Butterfly Report, was an active committee member of Sussex Butterfly Conservation and the Amateur Entomologists' Society (AES) for many years. I currently sit on the editorial board of Dispar, the online journal of Lepidoptera.

I try to spend as much time as possible in the field and I'm passionate about wildlife photography, conservation of the natural world, and promoting the importance of our environment to the younger generation.

Dan Danahar

Dan Danahar
Dan Danahar

I am a science teacher in a comprehensive school in Brighton, England, where I have been involved with a variety of biodiversity related projects for the last 25 years. I have had an interest in butterflies since a very early age and my first trip to Corfu was in 1976, when I was astonished by the variety of wildlife on the island, including its butterflies. It was shortly after this holiday that I first encountered Gerald Durrell’s account of his childhood in ‘My Family and other Animals’. I then knew that I wanted to return to Corfu some day but I had to wait 31 years before this happened. Since then I have returned to the island on 17 occasions and I intend to increase this total during my retirement years.

In 2014 I had surgery for prostate cancer and during my recovery period I set up a Facebook page about the butterflies of Corfu. I wrote that I had a ‘whimsical’ idea of writing a book about Corfiot butterflies. I’m delighted that this discussion page has lead to the development of a vibrant community of dedicated butterfly enthusiasts, many of which share my own passion for the island’s natural heritage. In 2019, together we started working on the development of the project we now call Corfu Butterfly Conservation. I am immensely proud to be a part of such an enthusiastic community and look forward to seeing our work have positive outcomes for Corfu's landscape and its people.

Sam Ellis

Sam Ellis
Sam Ellis

I am Butterfly Conservation’s International Director and have been working on the ecology and conservation of butterflies for over 30 years. I have held various roles with Butterfly Conservation, working principally on the development and delivery of landscape-scale conservation for some of the UK’s most threatened species. Butterfly Conservation is committed to expanding its international work and has recently produced a new International Strategy outlining its ambitions. These include supporting the recording of European butterflies and so we are very keen to collaborate with Corfu Butterfly Conservation.

Over the last year we have worked in partnership to develop the project and are now seeking funding to help deliver the public events, educational and volunteer training programmes, as well as the production of the Corfu Butterfly Atlas. I am looking forward to visiting Corfu for the first time as soon as possible. Like many young naturalists, I was a great fan of Gerald Durrell’s books and these were a critical early step on my way to becoming a professional ecologist. So I feel privileged to be able to participate in Corfu Butterfly Conservation and hopefully give something back to the island which helped steer my career choice.

Zoi Fondoulakou

Zoi Fondoulakou
Zoi Fondoulakou

I was born in Germany but grew up in North Greece, where I was always elated by any opportunity to interact with living creatures, be they either large or small. I was fortunate enough to have a childhood full of colour, full of outdoor activities and adventures, that cultivated my deep love for the natural world. Like any child I was fascinated by everything in my environment and my first lessons were given by nature herself. From a very young age I made an oath to protect all living creatures, which I still hold myself to today. And so, it should be no surprise to hear that the protection of the environment soon became my crusade.

I’ve studied Forest engineering and Forestry and within these studies my major area of interest has become the conservation and management of wildlife. In order to finish my master’s degree, I have had to start work in an unrelated field but although my time is limited, I still try to immerse myself as much as possible within nature.

I have always felt passionate about butterflies, partly because of their beauty and partly because their life cycles make them such enigmatic insects. Throughout my studies the importance of insects has become increasingly apparent, especially in terms of their roles within functioning ecosystems and this is particularly true of butterflies.

For the last seven years Corfu has been my home and I have been overwhelmed by the astonishing diversity and abundance of the island’s butterflies. In recent years I have become increasingly concerned by the pressure that butterflies are under, especially from development and it’s clear that we need to think more carefully about the protection of habitats for butterflies, along with all the other wildlife of Corfu.

I’m really pleased to be able to make a positive contribution as a member of the Corfu Butterfly Conservation team.

Bob Foreman

Bob Foreman
Bob Foreman

I have lived in West Sussex for 21 years having been born and brought up in Devon. In my spare time I am a passionate biological recorder with a particular interest in butterflies and moths although I will happily record anything so long as I can identify it. I consider myself extermely fortunate in that my day job is "Biodiversity Data Lead" for the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre (a department of the Sussex Wildlife Trust) where my primary role is the management and maintainence of one of the largest databases of biological information in the UK. I spend much of my time working with county recording groups and natural history societies helping them organise and visualise their species data.

I also spend a fair bit of my time designing both websites and printed material (professionally and for fun) but only so long as it’s got something to do with wildlife!. Among other things, I design the Sussex Butterfly Report, the annual report by the Sussex Branch of Butterfly Conservation and I built and maintain the website for the Sussex Moth Group. I am a committee member with a variety of Sussex organisations; Butterfly Conservation - Sussex Branch, the Sussex Moth Group, the Sussex Amphibain and Reptile Group and the Sussex Dragonfly Group as well as being the Sussex iRecord mammal verifier.

I am really grateful for the opportunity to be involved with a project as worthwhile Corfu Butterfly Conservation and to input any of what little expertise I might have that might help. My work-life balance is a very, very grey one...

Giannis Gasteratos

Giannis Gasteratos
Giannis Gasteratos

I was born on Corfu in 1982 and spent most of my childhood exploring and studying this wildlife paradise. Over the years I developed a particular passion for birds but as time has passed, I have monitored mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. This has been in both a voluntary and professional capacity.

Photography has been a great source of inspiration for me. These days I contribute to many of the wildlife forums on social media that are principally concerned with the natural heritage of Greece. During the last few years my interest in butterflies has increased massively and this is in part because I have found they make such intriguing photographic subjects.

I am very proud of my Corfiot heritage and participate professionally in traditional Greek dancing. I have been actively involved in the most recent television productions of Gerald Durrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals’ supplying both footage for some of the wildlife scenes, as well as playing supplementary roles as an acting extra.

I have two Masters of Science degrees; the first in Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources and the second is in the Sustainable Management of Protected Areas. I’m excited to support and contribute to the Corfu Butterfly Conservation project and to have a focus for my newfound passion, within a group of like-minded individuals.

Chris Little

Chris Little
Chris Little

I have been an insect person all my life as my parents can confirm. They suffered my obsession for years with my microscopic attention to flies - as a child I found a new species to Britain; the breeding of locusts and stick insects, both of which escaped all over the house to the horror off my grandmother and watching me leaping among the crags of Glen Coe chasing the Scotch Argus butterfly. It was scant relief when I left for university to study, naturally, Biological Sciences. But ecology and conservation had hardly been invented and I found biochemistry and human physiology profoundly unfulfilling. Strangely my son Toby is now taking the same course at the same university.

So I escaped into a life of business only to have my passion reawakened when Janine and I bought a holiday house on the wonderful island of Corfu. I empathise completely with the young Gerald Durrell and probably exhibit many of the same behaviours. Looking for scorpions at night with a UV light, jumping up from the taverna table to chase a brightly coloured fleeting fluttering moth, and walking for miles across baking hillsides and shaded olive groves with my long lens camera to the puzzlement of Corfiots and holiday makers. The butterflies of Corfu are a pleasurable and accessible way to help to conserve the natural environment in all its tangled splendour.

Anne Sordinas

Anne Sordinas
Anne Sordinas

I was born on Corfu and after spending a childhood abroad, I have lived permanently on the island for the past 37 years. I have always been interested in the natural world, especially insect life. This passion was nurtured by summers spent in Corfu in an idyllic setting surrounded by amazing wildlife and my grandfather’s butterfly and shell collections. I feel humbled to have lived in a village with no electricity or running water. Light was the Milky Way galaxy and music was the howling of the now extinct jackals. I now enjoy butterfly hunting in the same gardens I played in as a child.

After many years of working in tourism and as an English language teacher, my wish is to now give back to my beloved island by supporting ventures such as the Corfu Butterfly survey. I’m overjoyed to have met like-minded individuals who share my passion for wildlife, and especially butterflies and moths.

After witnessing the negative effects of tourism in my lifetime, I am heartened to see increasing interest in the ecology of the island as opposed to package holidays.

I hope to join both my fellow Corfiots and all who love the island in saving our rich natural heritage and I feel honoured to be a part of Corfu Butterfly Conservation.

Spyros Spathas

Spyros Spathas
Spyros Spathas

I was born on Corfu in 1946 and after leaving high school I attended the Naval Academy of Oinousses where I finished my training in 1965. I then studied at the School of Economics in Athens, Greece, from where I graduated in 1972. Finally, I finished my education when I graduated from the school of Licensed Guides of the Greek Tourist Organisation.

Much of my youth was based in Athens, from where I spent many years guiding groups of tourists through the magnificent archaeological sites of Greece. I also spent much of my time on cruise ships where I gave lectures on this subject and developed my English, French, German & Italian.

In 1982 I left Athens to return to Corfu to start a different project, namely the restoration of a 16th century historic family mansion, 'Fundana'. Set in the middle of Corfu, on the brow of a hill that overlooks the verdant Corfu Lake District, this traditional building was transformed into Fundana Villas, a central hotel accompanied by a complex of high-quality apartments. Immersed in this rich natural setting, accompanied by our traditional Corfiot hospitality, Fundana Villas has proved to be a relaxing location for many guests of all nationalities, many of whom repeat their stay with us on an annual basis.

Since 1985 I have been passionately involved with the local union for the protection of the Environment of Corfu. Over this time we have addressed many issues, including: the recent island wide domestic refuse problem; the illegal spraying of olive trees; the illegal extraction of construction material from the base of Mt. Tsouka, near Troumpeta; the opposition to development on the coastal habitats of Lake Korission and most recently, resistance to development on the richly diverse Corfu Lake District by the Municipality of Corfu, to construct a waste recycling plant and a new Corfu prison.

Recently, at Fundana Villas we have been delighted to welcome butterfly enthusiasts from the United Kingdom. Their interest in our natural heritage has been a kind of wakeup call for us all because it is only when we listen to their stories about the agriculturally industrialised landscape of the UK that we realise just how much of our rich and diverse native wildlife could potentially be lost in the years to come, if we do not take steps now to protect it. Fundana Villas has also benefited from this eco-tourism because the visits take place at a time of year that naturally extends the tourist season.

I am very pleased to have been involved in the birth of Corfu Butterfly Conservation and look forward to supporting its continued development over the years to come.

Nigel Symington

Nigel Symington
Nigel Symington

I’ve been passionate about wildlife all my life, on retirement I took advantage of the time this has given me to become more involved in its conservation. I joined Butterfly Conservation in 2010, and in 2012 I began a period of 6 years as Chair of Sussex Branch. In my time in office I project-managed the publication of the highly acclaimed 'The Butterflies of Sussex' of which Neil Hulme and Michael Blencowe were the authors. I also initiated major habitat restoration in the BC reserve at Rowland Wood, which has led to the successful re-introduction of the Pearl- and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries.

My career was in commercial food and drink marketing and project management, developing compelling consumer propositions and managing them to meet agreed volume and profit targets. I worked across almost all countries in Europe, and some further afield, which gave me a broad exposure to the challenges of working within different cultural environments.I have been a Trustee of Butterfly Conservation since 2012, and am currently Hon Treasurer. My ideal summer’s day is to walk with my camera over Sussex’s whale-backed downs looking for butterflies.