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Upcoming Events

Our monthly meetings, which have been held regularly since 1993 at Zilker Garden Center, feature an educational program. All are open to the public and most are free. The Garden Center is located in Zilker Botanical Gardens, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78746.

Mar. 27, 2017, 7 PM meeting: Native Bees, the Buzz in Your Backyard, presented by Karen Wright.

When people think about bees, the first image to come to mind is the honey bee. Sometimes folks even recognize that there is more than one species of bee; bumble bees, carpenter bees and sweat bees are also known by many people. But the reality is much more than that. There are more than 19,000 species of bees known to science and many more yet undescribed. Most native bees are solitary, meaning that they donít live in a hive and they donít have a queen. Most bees make bee bread, not honey. They range in size from three quarters of a millimeter to over two inches in length and come in many more colors than just black and yellow. They have complex relationships with the flowers that they pollinate and because of these relationships, the earth has been covered in a breathtaking diversity of wildflowers.

Karen Wright received a BA in Biology and a BS in Environmental Science at the University of Delaware in 1996. She became interested in insects while volunteering at the Southwest Research Station in Portal, AZ and started her masterís degree in Entomology at Oregon State in 1997. Her dissertation was on the true bugs and beetles of hazelnut orchards in Oregon. After her Masterís she worked for almost ten years for the Sevilleta Long-Term Research Program based out of the University of New Mexico doing mostly field work and data management. During this time, she developed an interest in native bee ecology and taxonomy and she started a long-term bee monitoring program and a plant phenology project that are currently in their 16th year. Karen took The Bee Course in 2001 and has become an accomplished bee taxonomist , specializing in the bees of the southwest. In 2009, Karen started her PhD program at the University of New Mexico in Dr. Kelly Millerís lab of insect systematics. She is currently wrapping up her dissertation on the evolution of diet breadth in Melissodes Latreille bees and is the new Assistant Curator of the Insect Collection at Texas A & M University. Her main research interests include native bee community ecology, diet breadth of native bees, and plant flowering phenology.

Apr. 24, 2017, 7 PM meeting: Wasps and Comics, presented by Carly Tribull.

*A related field trip will occur on Sun., Apr. 23. Time and location TBA.*

Have you ever found a caterpillar that seemed to be sporting some extra growths? Or the mummified husk of an aphid? Most likely, parasitoid wasps are to blame! These wasps are important controls on herbivorous insect populations, even if their lifecycle does require the gruesome deaths of their hosts. In this talk, Iíll explore two families of parasitoid wasps, Bethylidae and Dryinidae, and the potential they have for controlling major crop pests. I will also explore how molecular sequencing can help us better understand the taxonomy and evolutionary histories of these wasps and highlight the work my team of undergraduate researchers has been carrying out on local parasitoid species.

In addition, I will cover another passion of mine - the use of comics and games in entomological and biological education. While many think of comics as focusing on superheroes in spandex, the medium has diversified and grown to include educational works. Comics can successfully be used at a variety of levels, from elementary school classes to advanced coursework, because the combination of sequential images and text act as an intermediary bridge for understanding complex ideas.

Carly Tribull received a BA in Integrative Biology and Practice of Art from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. Since then, she has worked to combine her interests in illustration and entomology. While pursuing her PhD at the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History, she produced educational outreach comics about different types of wasps for children. Now a visiting assistant professor at Sam Houston State University, her research focuses on the local taxonomy and evolutionary histories of parasitoid wasps. She still continues to combine comics and education, with a current focus on creating comic materials for college lectures.

May 6, 2017, 10 AM to 4 PM workshop: How to Know and Grow Austin Butterflies

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 6, 2017, at the Zilker Botanical Garden Center. Topics will cover caterpillar food plants, how to raise caterpillars and watch metamorphosis at home, 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.

To register, please contact Jeff Taylor at 512-255-0368 or .

Fee for the workshop is $35.00 with a light lunch provided.

May 22, 2017, 7 PM meeting: Monarchs, presented by Katie Boyer.

June 26, 2017, 7 PM meeting: Caterpillar Gardening: Providing 21st Century Hosting Solutions, presented by Berry Nall.

Natural habitat is shrinking drastically as Texas' population skyrockets. It is crucial that we incorporate caterpillar hosts into our gardens and landscapes. A creative approach is needed †to identify key host plants and find ways to promote their use in local plantings. Berry Nall will share some of his successes - and failures - in gardening for caterpillars. He will draw on his experiences to suggest ways that concerned individuals and clubs such as ABF can help provide habitat for future butterflies.

Berry Nall is a pastor and teacher who is fascinated by butterflies at all stages of their lives. For the past 10 years he has been seeking to rear as many species as possible from egg to adult; living in Starr County near the Mexico border, he has had the opportunity to raise a variety of exotic tropical butterflies. His butterfly photos and life history studies can be seen on his website.

July 24, 2017, 7 PM meeting: TBA

Aug. 28, 2017, 7 PM meeting: Moths: The Mysterious Majority, presented by Valerie Bugh.

Of about 2000 species of lepidoptera found in the Hill Country, only 150 are butterflies. Moths are far more numerous and diverse than butterflies, including more varied lifestyles, far greater size range, and some rather surprising survival strategies. This program will cover both caterpillars and adults, identifying the major families as well as some oddities, and a look at the beauty of these often overlooked insects.

Val Bugh is a local naturalist specializing in the arthropods of the Austin area, with interests in taxonomy and photography. She runs the Fauna Project at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, leads insect discovery walks, teaches entomology courses, provides insect/spider identifications, gives talks to local organizations, and has published pocket guides to "Butterflies of Central Texas" and "Spiders of Texas." Website: Austin Bug Collection

Sept. 25, 2017, 7 PM meeting: The Cockrell Butterfly Center, presented by Dr. Nancy Greig.

Oct. 23, 2017, 7 PM meeting: TBA, presented by Robinson Sudan.

Nov. 27, 2017, 7 PM meeting: Member's Show & Tell.

This is a fun meeting that we have every year. Any member can show their favorite photos of the year or to tell about their a trip or butterfly experience. You have 5-10 minutes. There will be a projector and laptop so just bring your flash drive. If you plan to participate contact .

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