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TexasButterflyFestival-logoMISSION—The peak of the butterfly season is in full flight and the National Butterfly Center is excited to launch the Texas Butterfly Festival beginning Saturday and ending Nov. 5.

Marianna T. Wright, executive director for the center, said people will be attending from 18 states as well as Canada and Australia.

“This is the first time the NBC is organizing the Texas Butterfly Festival for the City of Mission, and what an honor it has been,” Wright said. “We are the butterfly capital of the country.”

Two-dozen naturalists, authors and local experts will be in attendance, discussing the estimated 300 species of butterflies on the property. Keynote speakers are Michael O’Brien and Louise Zamaitis. The center will have free admission for Community Day Saturday, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

On Nov. 3, the Big Day of Butterflying will kick off with a species count competition from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Participants will participate in a 2-person team challenge.

A presentation on spotting owls with Pat Sutton will be held on Nov. 3 in the evening and the keynote speakers and awards banquet will be held on Nov. 4 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

The festival concludes Nov. 5 with presentations on the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse and Estero “Last Chance.”

Other featured presenters include: Dr. Jeffrey Galssberg, Bob Behrstock, Buck and Linda Cooper, Derek Muschalek, Dudley Edmondson, Terry Fuller, Rick Snider, Dan Jones and John Yochum.

Butterflies are not the only species to be seen. The center also is home to 1,200 different species of plants, 500 species of birds, 200 vertebrate species and more than 90 species of dragonflies.

Wright said the center has reached their goal of 120 paid registrants, and welcomes more people to attend. She said she hopes to see many members of the community participating in nature activities on Saturday.

“We want everyone to come out for Community Day, whether you are new or experienced with butterfly watching,” Wright said. “If some people can’t make it, they should get outside and look around at the beauty that is unique to South Texas.”

Some animals found in the park are also on the endangered species list for the area, as well as the federal list. These animals include: Texas Horn Toad, Indigo Snake and the Texas Tortoise.

The National Butterfly Center is a project of the North American Butterfly Association. The center building has been open for three years; the park, at 3333 Butterfly Park Drive, has been open for 10 years.

For more information on the center and the Texas Butterfly Festival, contact the center at 583-5400.

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