Austin, Texas, is home to about 170 species of butterflies. It is also the home of the Austin Butterfly Forum, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to butterfly conservation and to enriching people's lives through butterflies. The Austin Butterfly Forum is a club that organizes field trips, conducts butterfly counts, promotes native gardening, performs conservation activities, and meets monthly for an educational presentation. We are a community of butterfly enthusiasts who also enjoy dragonflies & damselflies, bees, beetles, spiders and arthropods in general, and our meeting presentations span this gamut as well. Join Us!
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Meetings are held in the Zilker Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX, 78746 at 7:00 PM on the fourth Monday of each month except December.
- Apr. 25, 2016, meeting: Behind the Scenes of the Peterson Moth Guides, presented by Seabrooke Leckie.
- How many field guides do you own? Have you ever wondered what goes into making one? Seabrooke will share her experiences with the creation of the Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America, from idea to contract to publication, and compare the unique challenges presented by the followup guide to moths of the southeast. She'll also offer tips, drawn from lessons learned while working on the books, on how to improve your expertise on moth identification (or any other group).
Seabrooke Leckie is a freelance biologist and writer, co-author of the Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America. She lives in eastern Ontario, Canada, at a country house where she can enjoy nature just by stepping into her backyard. Her current undertakings include a new Peterson moth guide for the southeast (target release date: late 2017), pursuing publication of her novels, and a toddler.
This program is free for Austin Butterfly Forum members, but there is a $10 admission for non-members. (Or join ABF for $20 per household and attend all activities!)
Additional activities associated with Ms. Leckie's visit:
Apr. 23, Sat. 7:30-9:30 PM - Evening blacklighting at Austin Nature & Science Center (park under the MoPac overpass at 2389 Stratford Drive). This event will be open everyone for free. Bring a flashlight.
The following events free and open to ABF members.
Apr. 24, Sun. 9:00 AM - Walk at Austin Nature & Science Center (park under the MoPac overpass at 2389 Stratford Drive).
Lunch at The Shady Grove, 1624 Barton Springs Rd.
Afternoon walk at Brackenridge Field Lab (BFL) 2907 Lake Austin Blvd and/or tour of the UT insect Collection 3001 Lake Austin Blvd.
Dinner at Maudie's Tex-Mex Restaurant, 2608 W 7th St, Austin, TX (walking distance from BFL).
Evening blacklight at BFL - Bring a flashlight. We hope to set up lights near the BFL classrooms and another set down by the river. (BFL activities also open to BFL/UT Volunteers.)
Apr. 25, Mon. 9:00 AM - Walk at Barton Creek Greenbelt, (Barton Springs Pool trail head).
Lunch at Chuy's Tex-Mex, 1728 Barton Springs Rd (or Green Mesquite BBQ 1400 Barton Springs Rd).
Afternoon walk at Barton Creek Greenbelt (Hwy 360 entrance).
Evening ABF Program at Zilker: Behind the Scenes of the Peterson Moth Guides. Doors open ~6:30 PM.
Apr. 26, Tues. 9:00-11:00 AM - Walk at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, meet in the central courtyard (LBJWC entrance fees apply).
- May 7, 2016, 10 am to 4 pm: How to Know and Grow Austin Butterflies Workshop, Zilker Botanical Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Road.
- Learning to identify common butterflies of our area is only one aspect of the Austin Butterfly Forumís Annual Butterfly Workshop, held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 7 at the Zilker Botanical Garden Center. Topics will cover caterpillar food plants, how to raise caterpillars, watch metamorphosis at home, and strategies for caterpillar survival and identification, as well as books and resources about this rapidly growing hobby. The workshop will include a light lunch and a walk to identify butterflies in the Zilker Botanical Garden. Participants will be given plants to take home to begin attracting butterflies to their own gardens.
To register, please contact Jeff Taylor at 512-255-0368 or by .
Fee for the workshop is $35.00 with a light lunch provided. Free butterfly-friendly plants will be given to all participants.
- May 23, 2016, meeting: Coevolution of Plants and the Pollinating Beetles of Texas
, presented by Mike Quinn.
- This program will explore the evolution of plants and the association of flower shapes to insect pollination while focusing on beetles which represent the greatest diversity among all pollinators.
Former Austin Butterfly Forum president Mike Quinn earned degrees in Entomology and Wildlife from Texas A&M. He has worked on ornithological, botanical and entomological projects for local, state and federal agencies and was the first state-wide invertebrate biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife. He is currently photographing the beetles of Texas.
- June 27, 2016, meeting: Call the SWAT team: How to manage mosquitoes in the urban environment
, presented by Todd Jackson.
- Every year around this time a few citizens reach out to the Surface Water Team of the Watershed Protection Department because they think that droves of mosquitoes are emerging from the neighborhood creek or pond. City environmental scientists have found that this has not yet been true and that the real story is much more insidious.
Todd studied biology at University of North Texas where he investigated the use of insects as biological indicators to evaluate land management practices over time. Specifically, Todd examined the changes in grasshopper (Orthoptera: Acrididae) species assemblages on grazed versus non-grazed grasslands at Camp Bowie in central Texas.
All of our normal events are open to the public, but you may want to become a member of the Austin Butterfly Forum to help support us and our events. We also treat members to some extra goodies, such as reduced admission to special programs that have a fee and discounts on purchases made at meetings. Membership is $20 annually per household payable during meetings or by mail to Doris Hill, ABF Treasurer, 1605 Broadmoor, Austin, TX 78723.
For more information, please contact Mike Quinn, ABF president at 512-577-0250 or
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