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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Mt. Charleston Blue, photo by Charles Herrmann

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.


July 22, 2019, 7 PM meeting: Living on the Edge: The Effect of Catastrophic Fire on a High Elevation Butterfly and its Habitat, presented by Charles Herrmann.

In the summer of 2013, the Carpenter 1 Fire raged through the Spring Mountains outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. This was the largest, most catastrophic fire ever recorded in the Spring Mountains, burning roughly 28,000 acres of forest. This fire burned through habitat for the Mount Charleston blue butterfly, coming close to completely burning through the remaining stronghold of the butterfly. I spent three summers (2014-2016) studying the effects of the fire in terms of regrowth of larval host and nectar plants of the butterfly. Results were positive, with a strong initial regrowth of plants used by the butterfly, though abundance of butterflies remained similar throughout the three years.

Grew up in New York exploring nature and the ocean, learning to love and appreciate nature. Attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology in 2015. Worked on a range of projects, varying from surveying eels in the Hudson River to studying parasites in northern saw whet owls. Worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a Directorate Fellow junior year summer of undergrad in Las Vegas assessing the status of the endangered Mount Charleston blue butterfly after a catastrophic fire went through the Spring Mountains. After graduating Vassar, went on to get my Masters in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UNLV from 2015 to 2017, continuing my work on the Mount Charleston blue butterfly. Moved to Austin to start a position in the Austin Ecological Services Field Office as the lead biologist for a wide array of species including the Mexican long-nosed bat, Houston toad, and Desert Massasauga.


Aug. 26, 2019, 7 PM meeting: A Moth Odyssey, presented by Ann Hendrickson.

Why am I interested in moths rather than butterflies? Because there are many more of them, they have been studied by amateurs for a much shorter time (dating to the introduction of cheap digital cameras), there are still numerous species for which live photographs are not available to the public, there is a greater chance of discovering a new species and MOST importantly as I age – THEY COME TO ME!

Ann Hendrickson is a self taught naturalist who has been studying the flora and fauna on their property near Camp Wood for the past 19 years. In 2012 she purchased a black light set up to attract moths and became “hooked” on identifying anything that shows up on her sheet ever since. She is a contributing editor on Bug Guide, provides photographs for Moth Photographers Group and has worked with Dr. David Wagner collecting and egging specimens for some of his unpublished work on western caterpillars. Ann has reared broods of over 40 different species of moths from eggs, sends specimens to the University of Guelph for DNA extraction and is currently obsessed with learning to dissect for identification purposes.


Membership

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. Annual membership is $20 per individual or $25 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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