Only have a minute? Listen instead
BROWNSVILLE – Do you like fruit?
Thank a butterfly.
Do you like fresh corn and cucumbers and potatoes?
Thank a butterfly.
The National Butterfly Center wants everyone to understand the crucial importance of butterflies to fruits and vegetables and the overall food chain. That’s why the center is hosting the 27th Texas Butterfly Festival. The Festival will begin Nov. 4 with a free Community Day at the center and then butterfly tours throughout the Valley Nov. 5-7.
“We like to say that if we save the butterflies, we save ourselves,” said Luciano Guerra, photographer, educator and outreach coordinator at the National Butterfly Center.
Butterflies and bees pollinate flowers, and that pollination is crucial to agriculture; butterflies and caterpillars are also important food sources for a variety of animals including frogs, lizards and dragonflies.
The Festival attracts butterfly enthusiast and experts from throughout the United States eager to spot rarities seen nowhere else. The Center as it has in previous years has sent scouts throughout the Valley seeking hotspots where the most butterflies can be seen.
“We have three parts of the Valley we cover,” Guerra said. “On the first day of field trips, which is on a Sunday, one-third of the attendees will head west and they will go as far as Falcon State Park and make some big stops along the way.”
That same day, another group will go east as far as Brownsville, and a third group Sunday will remain in Hidalgo County. Monday those three groups will switch out and travel to another part of the Valley and the same on Tuesday, ensuring everyone visits all areas.
A new feature at this year’s festival is a return to the pre-COVID practice of using vans to transport festival guests.
“Since COVID hit, we were doing carpooling,” Guerra said. “We were not renting vans because we didn’t want that many people in a closed space for an hour-long drive. So we went to carpooling in which the attendees would follow. We’re going back to vans this year. There may be a few people who prefer to drive their vehicles and follow the vans and that’s fine.”
Scouts and other sources throughout the Valley are reporting significantly lower butterfly numbers than in previous years. Guerra, and everyone else, hopes that will change soon.
“We still have time hopefully,” he said. “We got some rain this morning and hopefully the numbers will increase. A lot of our plants are coming in to bloom right now. We’re hoping the numbers will increase between now and Nov. 4.”
Guerra encouraged families to attend the free Community Day Nov. 4 when the Center will offer games, tours on the property and other fun activities.
Those interested in the tours Nov. 5 – 7 can register by pulling up the texasbutterflyfestival.com, hit the dropdown menu titled “register” and follow instructions. The cost is $445 dollars and that pays for tours, food, field guides and other amenities.