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October is butterfly season in the Rio Grande Valley and the Mission Chamber of Commerce will be drawing attention to the hundreds of butterfly species found in South Texas during the 17th annual Texas Butterfly Festival at the National Butterfly Center, located at 3333 Butterfly Park Drive in Mission on October 25-28.

Because of its unique location on the butterfly migration path where four ecosystems converge in the county, over 300 species of butterflies and over 500 bird species have been documented in the area.

Dr. Michael Pyle, lepidopterist (a person who studies butterflies), will be the keynote speaker. The author of 17 books on butterflies including “Mariposa Road,” he is also the founder of the Zerces Society. His keynote speech will be delivered Saturday at 7 p.m. during a Dinner by the River reception to take place at the Riverside Club, where the pontoon boats are located, 214 E.Chimney Rd., Mission.

Award-winning photojournalist Seth Patterson will speak Friday, Oct. 26, at the annual Border Buttermilk Dinner and Reception. He is responsible for “El Valle,” a book showcasing creatures found from Falcon Dam to the Gulf of Mexico. The book won a Gold Medal at the 2011 Independent Book Publisher’s Publisher of the Year Awards. He will present “South Texas’ Natural Treasures through Seth’s Eyes,” a visual journey of exploration of wildlife in the area.

Other speakers include Dr. Jeff Glassberg, founder of the National Butterfly Park, Mike Quinn, Mike Richard, Dr. Ronald Rutowski, Bill Supulski and Evi Buckner-Opler.

Five butterfly-viewing excursions are planned and will be led by expert tour guides. Locations to be visited include Estero Llano Grande, The Edinburg Wetlands, Santa Ana Refuge, Rancho Lomitas, Bentsen-RGV State Park, Valley Nature Center, Roma World Birding Center and South Padre Island. Those not participating in field trips will be free to view the many species of butterflies at the National Butterfly Park.

For more information on the Texas Butterfly Festival call 956-585-2727 or 800-580-2700, or email

Texas Butterfly Festival
2012 Schedule, October 25-28

Thursday, October 25
Noon to 5 p.m. – Registration at the National Butterfly Center

6 to 9 p.m. – VIP Welcome Reception at The Waterford Gardens

Friday, October 26

7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Rancho Lomitas Day Long Tour #1 – WEST (snack provided)

7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Laguna Atascosa Day Long Tour #2 – EAST (snack provided)

8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – River Pontoon Tour #1

8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Butterfly & Dragonfly Tour #1 — Capacity: 10

8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  – Hot Spots Tour #1

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. – EXPO

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Mission/Sharyland ISD Field Trips to Bentsen-RGV State Park

10 a.m. to Noon  – National Butterfly Center Tour led by Dr. Jeff Glassberg

3 to 4 p.m. – Seminar #1 “Functions of Butterfly Coloration” led by Dr. Ronald Rutowski*

4 to 5 p.m. – Seminar #2 “Searching for Blues in Western North America” led by Dr. Paul Opler*

5 to 5:30 p.m. – Beer & Wine Mixer hosted by The National Butterfly Center

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – Dinner Al Fresco hosted by The National Butterfly Center

8 to 10 p.m. – Black Lighting Tour at Bentsen-RGV State Park, led by Mike Quinn — Capacity: 100

Saturday, October 27, 2012

7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Rancho Lomitas Day Long Tour #1 – WEST (snack provided)

8 a.m. to Noon – Beginners Tour – Bentsen Palm Village

8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Hot Spots Tour #2

8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  – River Pontoon Tour #2

8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Dragonfly Tour #2

8 to 5 p.m. – EXPO

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. –  Community Day at The National Butterfly Center

1 to 4 p.m.  – Local Gardens Native Plants tour at Perez Ranch Nursery

3 to 4 p.m.  – Seminar #3 “What is Habitat?” led by Mike Rickard*

4 to 5 p.m.  – Seminar #4, “Your Computer is Your Dark Room” led by Bill Supulski*

6 to 7 p.m. – Butterfly Sunset Cocktail Hour at Riverside Club

7 to 10 p.m. – Dinner by the River hosted by GMCC at The Riverside Club, Featuring Keynote Speaker: Dr.Robert M.Pyle*

Sunday, October 28
8 to 9:30 a.m. – Breakfast with Evi Buckner-Opler at Mission Chamber of Commerce

9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Hot Spots Tour #3

*Seminars and guided tours are subject to change based on registrations.

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