Monday, November 18, 2019
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20151022 LEG8734The Texas Butterfly Festival will be held Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 at the National Butterfly Center in Mission. The Butterfly Festival offers a rare opportunity to enjoy guided field trips to butterfly hot spots throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The festival also offers a variety of butterfly seminars, including an introduction to macro photography to show participants how to photograph these beautiful insects.

About 25 to 30 years ago an increased awareness of what an ecological treasure the Rio Grande Valley is, and how many species of birds and butterflies can be found here, resulted in efforts being made to preserve habitat for migrating animals.

The nine sites of the World Birding Center were created out of that awareness, as was the National Butterfly Center, located in Mission. Less well known than the birding centers, the Butterfly Center has played a vital part in the preservation of butterflies, as well as birds, that live or migrate through the Rio Grande Valley. NBC plants habitat and host plants for many of the species of butterflies and approximately 400 species of butterflies have been spotted there at different times of the year.

It is also a great place to spot the birds of the Rio Grande Valley that love to dine on the center’s tasty caterpillars.

And one of the ways NBC is letting butterfly watchers know about the work of this unique center is through sponsoring the Texas Butterfly Festival. Originally started by the Mission Chamber of Commerce, NBC has now grown to a point where it can take over the festival. Each year the festival has grown and keeps getting better and better. Last year, there were participants from 18 states who came down for the festival.

Keynote speaker for this year’s event is Dr. Cuauhtemic Saenz Romero, a forester in Mexico who has dedicated his life’s work to studying the fir forest in Michoacan where Monarchs migrate annually.

Registration Check-in and Welcome

The festival begins Oct. 31 with registration and event check-in from 1 to 6 p.m. A Welcome Reception and Orientation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express Dining Room.

On Sunday activities include a variety of guided field trips to premier butterfly locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley, as well as seminars designed to enhance “butterflying” skills.

Sunday Schedule:

-- 8 a.m.-5 p.m. - Coastal Specialties trip

-- 8 a.m.-5 p.m. - Military ‘Hot Spots’ trip

-- 8 a.m.-3p.m. - Eye of the Butterfly: Macro Photography Primer

-- 9 a.m.-4 p.m. - Butterfly Basics at NBC

-- 9 a.m.-4 p.m. - Wonders of Weslaco trip

-- 9 a.m.-5 p.m. - Cielo Escondido (Hidden Heaven) trip

-- 9 a.m.-4 p.m. - Wild, Wild West trip

-- 10 a.m.-2 p.m. - Build Your Own Butterfly Garden

-- 5:30-7 p.m. - Border Buttermilk Social and Supper

-- 7-9 p.m. - Night Hike with a Black Light

All of these events will either depart from or take place at NBC, which is located at 3333 Butterfly Park Drive in Mission.

Monday Schedule:

-- 8 a.m.-5 p.m. - Sabal & Sams trip

-- 9 a.m.-5 p.m. - La Joya Jarachinas

-- 9 a.m.-4 p.m. - The ‘Butterfly Beltway’ field trip

-- 9 a.m.-3 p.m. - Caterpillar Class at NBC.

-- 6 p.m. Keynote Speaker’s Presentation and Awards Banquet

An exceptional evening with Cuauhtemoc Saenz Romero, the "Monarch Man" from Michoacan.  A forester who has spent years studying the Monarchs' overwintering habitat, Cuauhtemoc will share his observations and experiences on the mountains where these iconic creatures congregate by the millions.

Tuesday Schedule:

-- 8 a.m.-5 p.m. - Far West trip

-- 9 a.m.-4 p.m. - Wilderness & Wetlands trip

-- 9 a.m.-3 p.m. - King Ranch Compound trip

-- 9 a.m.-3 p.m. - Botanical Gardens trip

There is a $40 festival registration fee, plus fees to participate in each field trip or seminar. Some trips are sold out, so early registration is recommended. Scheduled tour sites are subject to change based upon pre-festival scouting.

In addition to the Butterfly Festival tours and seminars, a freenCommunity Day will be held at the National Butterfly Center on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is geared for children and families to introduce them to the amazing world of butterflies. Activities include learning how to make your own Banana Brew, Butterfly Bingo and Outdoor Twister. A “Butterfly U” will be held for young naturalists. Other activities include “Wild Things” Arts & Crafts, Hunt the Hackberry Trail, Pin the Tail on the Swallowtail, and climb over the “Hungry Caterpillar” playscape. Everyone is welcome.

For more information on the availability of desired tours and sessions, go to or call (956) 583-5400. All events are available on a first come, first serve basis.

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