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Inside the National Butterfly Center

And so it begins

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The surveyor's stakes marking the 150 ft “clearing zone” for Trump’s Border Fence appeared at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, TX, on Thursday, July 20, along with a work crew with chainsaws and heavy equipment.  

Border Wall Prep 280When Marianna Trevino Wright, executive director of the nonprofit center confronted them, the crew explained they were hired by the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection to remove trees and brush along a 1.2 mile road from the levee to the Rio Grande River; this is a private road, on private property, held by the North American Butterfly Association.  About halfway down the road lay a big, white X marking the spot where engineers had taken a core soil sample to determine the suitability of this place for construction.

‘Bugs vs. Americans. Bugs lose.’

One short-sighted commentator’s glib response to the situation summarizes part of the ignorance surrounding everything at stake here. This isn’t all about the butterflies.

No permission was requested to enter the property or begin cutting down trees. The center was not notified of any roadwork, nor given the opportunity to review, negotiate or deny the workplan.  Same goes for the core sampling of soils on the property, and the surveying and staking of a “clear zone” that will bulldoze 200,000 square feet of habitat for protected species like the Texas Tortoise and Texas Indigo, not to mention about 400 species of birds.  The federal government had decided it will do as it pleases with our property, swiftly and secretly, in spite of our property rights and right to due process under the law.

Why should you care?

  1. If you own property or value your Constitutional right to due process, you should be very concerned about the government doing entering property without permission or due process. Altering it. Destroying it. Coming onto it and killing creatures that live there with reckless indifference. Your home or property could be next.
  2. If you think the “Border Fence” will stop illegal immigration, you are mistaken. The fence has gates and gaps every mile or so where people can pass through; so the fence is actually a FUNNEL, designed to direct those crossing into our country to areas where Border Patrol agents may more easily monitor and intercept traffic—that is, unless people use ladders or scale the fence on their own, which they do.
  3. If you pay taxes, you should understand the Border Fence is not a solution to the problem of illegal immigration. It is a waste of tax dollars.
Border Wall GapIn this 38-mile length of fence the Trump Administration seeks to build, more than 30 million square feet of vegetation may be cleared. Some of this will be private land, such as ours, but some of it will be public land, like the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.  These are YOUR lands.

These lands hold our history as a nation; our cultural history and natural history. They are home to our natural treasures and, in many cases, the last foothold for endangered species, like the Ocelot.

For this reason, the National Butterfly Center is taking a stand. We are joining dozens of private property owners in taking legal action against the efforts of the federal government to deprive us of our property rights.  

If the federal government succeeds in tossing due process and usurping private property rights, all Americans lose.


You can stand with us by contributing to our Legal Defense Fund or by joining the National Butterfly Center, today.

The National Butterfly Center is a nonprofit environmental conservation and education project of the North American Butterfly Center.  Members receive admission to the property, discounts on purchases in our gift shop and native plant nursery, and reciprocal admission benefits to almost 300 botanical gardens across the United States through our participation in the American Horticultural Association’s RAP.  Members also receive NECTAR, our monthly e-newsletter.

Please help us preserve this land and the precious habitat and wildlife it contains!  

Letter to USACELetter for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Southwestern Division

Now that we know the US Army Corps of Engineers is the agency performing the mapping, survey and sampling work in preparation for the Border Fence, we wish to let them know how we feel about their presence and purpose, here.  

We have prepared the letter posted here as a PDF for you to download, print and mail to Col. Paul Owens, commander of the USACE Southwestern Division.  You may also TWEET the the agency @USACE_SWD or call them during business hours (Monday - Friday) at 469-487-7007.

Please be respectful, so our voices may be heard, united in protest. 




Welcome! We hope to see you soon.

You never know what you'll see at the National Butterfly Center!

Did you know nearly 150 species of North American butterflies can be seen only in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) of Texas, or by traveling to Mexico?

In fact, more than 300 species of butterflies may be found in the LRGV, and more than 200 species have been seen at the National Butterfly Center, including a number of rarities and U.S. Records!

Incredibly, almost 40% of the 700+ butterflies that can be found in the United States can be seen in this three-county area at the southernmost tip of Texas, where the subtropical climate makes it possible to enjoy the outdoors year 'round.


Peace, Love, Butterflies

Ten years ago, the North American Butterfly Association broke ground for what has now become the largest native plant botanical garden in the United States. This 100-acre preserve is home to Spike (who thinks he is a butterfly) and the greatest volume and variety of wild, free-flying butterflies in the nation. In fact, USA Today calls the National Butterfly Center, in Mission, Texas, "the butterfly capitol of the USA."

Buy your bumper sticker here.

Experience the National Butterfly Center

A flagship project of the North American Butterfly Association, the NBC is committed to 'Growing Connections' between people, plants, and the winged wonders that pollinate and propagate all that grows around us. We do this through educational and environmental initiatives that cultivate meaningful understanding of the parties and processes that create beneficial and sustainable ecosystems.

The Center showcases live animals and plants, in wild and cultivated settings, with educational exhibits to enhance human understanding and appreciation. This large-scale project is designed to ensure our beautiful landscape and the wildlife we take for granted will be here for future generations to enjoy. In addition to the ever-growing gardens and trails, the Center now boasts an impressive, new Visitor's Pavilion, designed by Wendy Evans Joseph, principal architect of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, and the Women's Museum in Dallas, Texas.

Located in Mission, Texas, near the Rio Grande River, and only 15 minutes from a major airport in McAllen, The Center is open to the public, for visitors and members, seven days/week.


We are grateful for the support of:

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Hours of Operation

September - March
8:00 - 5:00

April - August
8:00 - 5:00

Come See Us

National Butterfly Center
3333 Butterfly Park Drive
Mission, TX 78572
GPS Coordinates:
26.180243 -98.364973

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