Saffron Walden U3A - Natural History Group - Visit Convenor's page


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David Corke

  • Was born in Torquay, Devon, in 1944 and reared his first caterpillar in 1948

  • Childhood and schooling in Chingford (Epping Forest): Yardley Lane Primary School & Chingford County High Scool

  • Studied Zoology and Botany as a University of London student at what was then West Ham College of Technology and graduated with a BSc (hons) in 1966

  • Post-graduate studies at Royal Holloway College led (eventually) to a doctorate in ecology awarded for a study of the comparative ecology of yellow-necked mice and wood mice. The field work for this was at Coptfold Hall near Margaretting.

  • Keeping caterpillars was his major interest from age four to sixteen, when he graduated to watching badgers and a thirteen year-old girl friend.

  • Part-time work as a zoology demonstrator (to finance is PhD studies) led to a career as a university lecturer in ecology and conservation in what is today the University of East London.

  • Early retirement (a result of being bipolar) was followed by work for an American conservation charity (RARE) teaching overseas conservation workers at the University of Kent and in the students home country.

  • His research interests included butterfly conservation (in the UK and France); reptile conservation (in St Lucia & St Vincent) as well as the studies of small mammals which led to his PhD.

  • Today he amuses himself with the Saffron Walden U3A, is a director of Organic Countryside CIC which owns and manages the Noakes Grove nature reserve in Sewards End, where he spends much time on physical habitat management as well as studying the flora and fauna.

  • He spends all his holidays in Ariege, France where he and his family have a holiday cottage.

  • While a young lecturer he was a part-owner of an old Land Rover kept in Nairobi. He organised safari holidays for himself and groups of friends in the college long vacations. It was on two of these trips that he got to know Elaine. He and Elaine married in 1978

  • They have two children (1980 & 1982) Nicky & Susie

  • And four grand children (left to right: Meredith, Ela, Oskar & Robin

Ela, Oskar, Robin & Meredith