Celebrating Monarch Butterflies at Butterflies without Borders October 20-22
On October 20-22 the second annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival takes flight in San Antonio, the nation’s first Monarch Butterfly Champion City, celebrating Monarch Butterflies and other pollinators. The theme this year: Butterflies without Borders.
The three-day event, organized by the Texas Butterfly Ranch through strategic partnerships with like-minded private companies, public entities and nonprofit organizations, aims to raise awareness and appreciation of the insect pollinators that make one of every three bites of the food we eat possible.
“Monarch butterflies and their migration are a powerful symbol of the bonds we all share,” said Monika Maeckle, Director of the Festival and the Texas Butterfly Ranch, calling the iconic species “a prism through which to see complex issues like immigration, borders, sustainability and climate change.”
Thanks to generous support from The Pearl, The San Antonio River Authority, HEB, the Rivard Report, Trinity University and the Mexican Cultural Institute, the Festival launches Friday evening, October 20, with an international scientific symposium at the Pearl Stable. Scientists from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada will explore the intersections of pollinators and politics in a Butterflies without Borders panel discussion: The Monarch Migration and our Changing Climate. Tickets available here.
On Saturday, art and education events unfold, starting with a teacher training workshop at the San Antonio River Authority, a “bug lunch” at the Witte, butterfly walk and talk at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, and art events at Yanaguana Gardens and the Mexican Cultural Institute.
The Festival proper takes place Sunday, October 22 at the Pearl. A “People for Pollinators Parade” (costumes encouraged!) will march down Pearl Parkway, trained docents will teach kids the citizen science of tagging Monarch butterflies, and more than 20 educational booths will offer education, engagement and fun. Tagged Monarch butterflies will be released at the Pearl amphitheater at noon. Plenty of activities will be featured throughout the Pearl including Pedaling Pollinators Butterfly Bikes, face painting, kite making, story time by the Book Fairy, food and music.
“We’re thrilled to participate in the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival and offer our space for programs and panels,” said Pearl Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Fauerso. “The Pearl happens to be a one of many pit stops for Monarch butterflies on their migration path and our visitors often enjoy seeing them on site.”
The celebration takes place during peak Monarch migration week in San Antonio. Each year, millions of the migrating black-and-orange butterflies move through the “Texas Funnel” on their way to Mexico to roost for the winter. Studies suggest the eastern migrating Monarch population has dropped more than 60% in recent years and the insect has been petitioned for listing as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has until June of 2019 to rule on the listing. The Monarchs’ passage through San Antonio generally occurs during the last two weeks of October.
For the full schedule of events, visit the Texas Butterfly Ranch.
About the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival:
The Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival is a volunteer collaboration of private sector companies, government and nonprofit agencies, and devoted volunteers organized by the Texas Butterfly Ranch, a website devoted to pollinator advocacy. In 2016 an estimated 7,000 people attended the inaugural Festival. Goals of the Festival include increasing awareness of insect pollinators and their role in the food web, underscoring our connections with Mexico and Canada, encouraging the use of native nectar and host plants for pollinators and reinforcing San Antonio’s strategic location in the Monarchs’ annual migration as the First Monarch Butterfly Champion City in the nation.