‘Lady in Purple’ Takes the Grande Prix in North American Butterfly Photo Contest


November 18, 2014

‘Lady in Purple’ Takes the Grande Prix in North American Butterfly Photo Contest

(Mission, TX) – Jonathan McElvery, of Massachusetts, won the Grande Prix title and $500 prize in the North American Butterfly Photo Contest with his portrait of a Painted Lady. This prestigious contest is part of the annual Texas Butterfly Festival, which accepts submissions from anywhere in the world, so long as the image captured is that of a free-flying species that may be found in North America. Entry fees for the contest support the environmental conservation and education efforts of the National Butterfly Center, in Mission, Texas.

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Cert Exec Chef Dustin Stair 2

Fresh & Festive, from the Texas Chefs’ Association

(Mission, TX) – Did you know that one of every three bites of food you eat is produced by a pollinator?  Members of the RGV Chapter of the Texas Chefs’ Association do! That is why they celebrate the butterflies, birds and bees at the 19th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival

For the second straight year, these culinary artists will prepare the freshest and most flavorful foods South Texas has to offer for visitors from all over the world. Under the direction of chapter president, Santiago “Jimmy” de la Cruz, many of the outstanding and rising stars on the local restaurant scene will enjoy this opportunity to shine.

“I love to eat, play and create,” explains Chef de la Cruz, “And I get great personal satisfaction when people enjoy eating what I’ve created for them. The people who come to the festival appreciate the regional twist we put on familiar tastes, as well as the opportunity to experience exotic foods—the things they may not be introduced to at home.”

Joining de la Cruz is the Valley’s only Certified Executive Chef, Dustin Stair, Culinary Services Director with Sunshine Retirement at The Gardens of Brookridge.  A former instructor at the International Culinary Institute, Stair says the key to great food is passion.

“Many people can cook with art, skill and precision,” asserts Stair, “but passion is the secret ingredient; the one that elevates a dish or a meal, and makes it most memorable. The festival participants get that. They have their own passion, for butterflies!”

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Sharman Apt Russell

Of Butterflies, Hunger and Happiness: How One Woman Connects them All

(Mission, TX) – Author Sharman Apt Russell, keynote speaker for the 19th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival, has written on a variety of themes, from The Anatomy of a Rose: Exploring the Secret Life of Flowers, to Hunger: An Unnatural History. She’s also explored pantheism, American archeology, the myth of the Cowboy and citizen science, among other topics, in her storied career as a creative non-fiction writer.

What do all of these themes have in common?

“I am drawn to subjects that interest me and fuel me,” explains Russell, “Things that give me energy, and most of these revolve around my appreciation for the natural world.  I find climate change, bioregionalism, environmental activism and conservation to be at the heart of what motivates me, and the advantage I have as a generalist, concerned with these issues, is that I am not a scientist; I can be interdisciplinary and approach these subjects wholly, through history, psychology, art and anthropology.”

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Photograph Butterflies, Birds & Bugs with One of the Best

(Mission, TX) – You're invited to experience the splendor of migration at the 19th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival! Hosted by the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, the nation’s premier butterflying event brings people from all around the world to the Rio Grande Valley to enjoy the unique volume and variety of wild butterflies that may only be found, here. This 4-day festival features a FREE Community Day, Saturday, November 1, as well as three days of paid excursions, educational sessions and expert-guided trips to  private gardens and renowned public places, including hot spots and hard-to-find places familiar to local butterfly enthusiasts.

Photographing Butterflies, Birds and Bugs, a class for those who wish to take better pictures of small insects and birds, whether stationary or on the fly, will be offered Sunday, November 2.  Luciano Guerra, a life-long Valley resident and award-winning photographer will be your instructor for this course.

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Noll Milkweed to Monarchs

Inspired Contemporary Quilt Art Arriving at the National Butterfly Center

Texas Quilt Museum's First National Competition Debuts in Mission

It's difficult for me to consider the beauty of butterflies, flowers and so much more, without giving thought to their designer-creator.  It's the same with Butterfly Whirl: Contemporary Quilt Art, a touring collection of twenty-six original works of art selected by Dr. Sandra Sider, curator of the Texas Quilt Museum. The quilts that made the cut for this national exhibit represent the best of some of today's most innovative American artists working in the medium. 

“This is not your grandmother's quilt.”

Sharon Buck, creator of the Impressionist-inspired piece titled, What Butterflies See, has a background in painting. The beautiful scene depicted in her quilt shows a landscape dotted with butterflies made by the artist's own hand.

“I really gravitate toward organic themes,” explains Buck, who splits her time between Tennessee and Florida. “This particular scene portrays summer in the Smoky Mountains.  I dyed much of the fabric myself, and screen printed some of it with leaves.  Much of this was done outdoors, so my quilt is truly connected to nature.”

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Inside the National Butterfly Center

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National Butterfly Center
3333 Butterfly Park Drive
Mission, TX 78572
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