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Celebrating volunteers - Terry Peake

Our volunteers are an essential part of our work, giving their time freely to make a difference for Suffolk's wildlife.

Terry Peake at Blaxhall CommonTerry Peake from Blaxhall has been involved in practical conservation work with Suffolk Wildlife Trust for over 35yrs. But it was a boyhood in central London that first inspired his passion for the natural world.

“We used to love exploring bombsites – they were like adventure playgrounds for us lads – and what wonderful havens they were for birds and butterflies. As well as the wildlife attraction we would go there to collect shrapnel and use it to barter with! I had a passion, not only for natural history but electronics too and later on I moved out of London to work on the first mobile phones and early digital televisions with BT. I decided to volunteer with the Trust and it was then my connection and love of Suffolk’s Sandlings heaths and their wildlife started.”

It is the work carried out by SWT volunteers under the leadership of reserve warden Terry Peake, which has turned Blaxhall Common into a wonderful habitat for the endangered silver studded blue butterfly. In 2007 the Suffolk branch of Butterfly Conservation brought a total of 60 adult butterflies from two healthy colonies and released them at Blaxhall with the aim of establishing a new population.

The health of the new colony is being monitored annually by butterfly transect walks conducted weekly during the flight period and signs are that they are thriving. The silver studded blue is a scarce and localised little butterfly which flies on some of Suffolk’s Sandlings heaths. It flourishes where there is a high proportion of bell heather some of which must be at the early pioneer stage. It is dependent on Lasius ants, which protect the butterfly from predation by carrying its caterpillars underground into the ants’ nest to keep them safe!