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20120831 MariannaWright NationalButterflyCenterMISSION—Marianna Trevino Wright has joined the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) as executive director of the National Butterfly Center in Mission. The National Butterfly Center is a flagship project of NABA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation and study of wild butterflies in their native habitats.

Prior to becoming the Butterfly Center's executive director, Wright was the executive director of The Foundation at Mission Regional Medical Center, and the Texas Project Manager for the worldwide Christian Children's Fund.

“I am delighted to join the National Butterfly Center, and look forward to sharing the beauty of this place with everyone in Texas—and with those fortunate enough to visit our great state,” said Wright. “Everyone in Mission and the Rio Grande Valley should be proud the National Butterfly Center is located here, as it plays such a special role in preserving our quality of life, beneficial native plant species, and the many winged wonders that make the Rio Grande Valley so rich and biologically diverse.”

Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg, founder and president of NABA, saidWright brings extensive experience in organizational development, operations, marketing, and fundraising to the National Butterfly Center.

The National Butterfly Center showcases live animals and plants, in wild and cultivated settings, with educational exhibits to enhance understanding and appreciation.

“This large-scale project is designed to ensure our beautiful landscape and the wildlife we take for granted will be here for future generations to enjoy,” Glassberg said.

Wright said the Butterfly Center is constantly adding to its attractions. Last fall, the center planted 12,000 plugs of endangered grasses and Texas wildflowers around the new pavilion with the help of Texas Parks & Wildlife to create the Geoffrey McAllen Memorial Native Grassland and Wildflower Refugium. “And those will be blooming in March to April to feed all of our spring creatures,” she said.

After putting in two new beds last week, the center now has 30 plots of butterfly gardens, with each designed specifically to host different butterfly species. “We’re always putting in new trails and paths also,” said Wright. There are two elevated trails and one sunken trail. The shorter trail is ideal for birders.

“We’re putting in a playscape for children using recycled materials such as tires. That’s in the design stage right now and we hope to have it installed before the Texas Butterfly Festival in October,” she added.

Next week, the center will install a bat habitat that has been donated by a volunteer. This will be a five-cell condominium designed to house up to 600 bats.

In addition to the ever-growing gardens and trails, the center now features a new visitor’s pavilion, designed by Wendy Evans Joseph, principal architect of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, and the Women’s Museum in Dallas. The pavilion features butterfly life-cycle displays to provide an educational experience for visitors, including groups such as Head Start and Boy Scouts to learn about butterflies.

The National Butterfly Center is located at 3333 Butterfly Park Drive just south of Old Military Road about a mile east of Bentsen State Park and is open daily (except major holidays) from 9 a.m. to 5 pm. For more information or to schedule a group tour call 956-583-5400. Or, visit

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