(Mission, TX) - Interested in learning more about the butterflies that call the Rio Grande Valley home? Join us for the annual Summer Butterfly Count, Sunday, July 17!
Each July, volunteers across the country brave the sweltering seasonal heat to count butterflies for conservation. The data gathered by citizen-surveyors provides a valuable, real-time snapshot for scientists, naturalists, and anyone concerned about environmental change, habitat loss, and disappearing or endangered species.
The count on Sunday, July 17, is the ‘Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley Count’, coordinated by the National Butterfly Center. This annual survey of species variety and volume inside a 15-mile radius is conducted by knowledgeable, local butterfly enthusiasts, covering public and private properties. The information collected is catalogued by the North American Butterfly Association and used for a multitude of research projects and educational purposes.
North American Butterfly Photo Contest, hosted by the National Butterfly Center conveniently located in Mission!
The Rio Grande Valley is unique for the volume and variety of butterflies that may be found here, and they just love the summer heat. Lucky for you, many species start flying around 9am—as soon as the sun is high enough to dry the morning dew off their wings—and they keep flying well into the evening hours, before finding a safe place to roost overnight.
This annual contest is open to everyone and winners are announced each fall during the renowned Texas Butterfly Festival. Complete rules may be seen and shared on the website at TexasButterflyFestival.com. All photos must be digitally uploaded to the website portal that opens for submissions on September 1, 2016, and remains open until September 30. Photos may be taken anywhere over the last year, so long as they feature free-flying butterflies; but the time is right, now, since our magic Valley is alive with butterflies and blooms following recent rains.
(Mission, TX) – Bats are beneficial to our neighborhoods and the health of our communities, but they are all too often misunderstood and villainized. Of the more than 1,100 species of bats in the world, only three are vampire bats; the rest consume fruit and insects. In fact, a single bat can consume up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour!
Most prevalent in the Rio Grande Valley are the Mexican Free-tailed bats. These highly social creatures like to reside in colonies and communal roosts. Whether it’s a mother and her pups or a bunch of bachelors, this mammal finds warmth and protection in group homes; so you may entice them to take up residence in your yard by providing appropriate shelter.
The National Butterfly Center is hosting a bat education and house-building workshop on Saturday, February 27, from 10 AM – 12 PM. Everyone is invited to join graduate student Katharine Jones in the Chrysalis Visitor’s Pavilion to learn all about the good, the bad and the glorious aspects of these fascinating creatures!
(Mission, TX) – Preparations are well underway for the 20th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival! Many field trips have already sold out and limited space remains for educational sessions and excursions designed specifically for butterfly enthusiasts of every experience level! Everyone is invited to join in this seasonal celebration of the Rio Grande Valley’s exceptional bounty of butterflies, regardless of age or familiarity with the outdoors.
This year, the festival’s free, open house event, known as Community Day at the National Butterfly Center, will take place on Halloween, Saturday, October 31, from 9am – 2pm. Later in the evening, festival registrants will be treated to a Welcome Reception and Orientation, before they embark on three days of expert-guided field trips to secret gardens and public parks, renowned places and hard-to-find hot spots, from Falcon Dam to South Padre Island. To ensure your seat for these educational sessions, excursions and activities, one must reserve seats in advance at www.TexasButterflyFestival.com.
(Mission, TX) – Starting Tuesday, September 1, the North American Butterfly Photo Contest invites you to submit your best photos of wild, free-flying butterflies, for a chance to win the $500 ‘Rio Grande Prix’! Part of the 20th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival, this contest is open to everyone and accepts digital photos of live butterflies taken from October 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015. It’s easy to enter and the winning photograph will be prominently displayed at the National Butterfly Center and online, for the whole world to see.
“Thanks to our camera phones, anyone can capture amazing images,” states Marianna Trevino Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center, host of the Texas Butterfly Festival, “And some butterflies can be remarkably cooperative subjects. They may be found in backyards and parks, green spaces and wild places, so you don’t have to go far to enjoy them. We want to encourage people to see how accessible nature is and how rewarding nature photography can be. You don’t have to be a professional or own lots of expensive equipment to get that one great shot—a prize-winning shot—that tells a story or exposes a hidden world. In fact, past winners have included a medical practice manager and an electrical engineer.