The Texas Butterfly Ranch was proud to present the

sixth annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival

throughout October of 2021, consummating at Confluence Park on October 16.

The Festival takes place during peak monarch migration season in San Antonio, when migrating monarch butterflies east of the Rocky Mountains funnel through Texas on their way to Mexico to roost for the winter.

San Antonio sits in the heart of this migratory flyway and claims status as the nation’s first Monarch Butterfly Champion City by the National Wildlife Federation. The Alamo City also ranks as a Bird City, USA, and a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy–designations we celebrate each October with our Festival.

Most events were FREE. We use the monarch butterfly migration to celebrate the importance of wildlife pollinators and their importance in making one out of every three bites of our food possible. We also tag butterflies in honor of loved ones’ who died, weaving the insects’ spiritual dimension into the festivities through our Forever Journey campaign. The insects typically arrive in the high altitude mountains west of Mexico City by Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos.

Here’s what transpired.


People attended the festival at Confluence Park
Participants showed up for other Festival events
Loved ones who died were honored with a butterfly via Forever Journey
Events filled the month-long Festival calendar
Events unfolded on stage and along the river at Confluence Park on Festival day
Native wildflower seed mixes distributed


Media impressions, according to Meltwater News
Viewers watched our movie, Metamorphosis
Monarch butterflies were tagged
Caterpillar condos were distributed to Title One classrooms
Pollinator friendly trees were given away
Educational and community partners participated in the Festival

2020: A Metamorphosis

Remember 2020? We couldn’t gather in person last year so we partnered with Walley Films to make a brief movie chronicling the challenging year through the lens of the migration and the metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly.

The 23-minute film follows the monarchs from Mexico on their journey north to Canada and back in October. You’ll appreciate the parallels between the monarchs’ struggle to continue their life cycle and ours, as we all morph to the next stage. Watch it on YouTube.

Pollinators Make it Possible

For the month of October, Pearl is proud to honor pollinators and their role in our local food ecosystem. Throughout the month, be on the lookout for farmers market produce and menu items made possible by pollinators at select Pearl restaurants along with signage to showcase pollinator friendly landscaping.

Forever Journey: a Celebration of our Loved Ones

Each fall, monarch butterflies arrive in the high altitude forests west of Mexico City in time for Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos. We’ll honor this tradition by tagging hundreds of butterflies in honor of loved ones who died. The names of loved ones will be entered on the data sheets sent to citizen science project Monarch Watch with the hope that the butterflies are recovered in Mexico. Earlier this year TWO of the butterflies tagged at our 2021 Festival were recovered. Read their story here.

Sponsored by HEB

Bexar Audubon Society Presents Special Online Program: A Talk with Jonathan Meiburg

Join this live zoom event to hear all about Jonathan Meiburg’s book A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World’s Smartest Birds of Prey. Meiburg will discuss his findings and passion for the caracara, a bird in the falcon family. He makes a compelling case for embracing this hemispheric raptor, which scavenges dead animals and attacks and eats live prey in equal measure. The caracara is also known to steal hats, play games, and distinguish toys and colors.

BiblioTech Public Library: Monarch Butterflies

Join all San Antonio BiblioTech Library branches for a celebration of the monarch butterfly October 11 – 15.  Participants will create a small craft representing the life cycle of the butterfly.

River Restoration Ride at Confluence Park

San Antonio BCycle and the San Antonio River Authority are leading an exploratory jaunt along the San Antonio River. Steven Schauer will explain the restoration project and how it affects the migrations of pollinators and Lee Marlowe will point out the native plants found on the river that assist pollinators in their migrations. And Michael Gramley will point out the various activities you can enjoy thanks to the river restoration project. $10 Registration fee will be donated to the San Antonio River Foundation.

Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival at Confluence Park

Get your wings on for our sixth annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival!

Festival day takes flight with a People for Pollinators Parade beginning at 9:45 AM. We’ll be tagging monarch butterflies for citizen science in honor of loved ones all day long, kayaking the beautiful San Antonio River and offering myriad educational events and family fun by our education partners.

Full schedule and map here

Cocktails and Culture at the Witte Museum

Come discover the nature, science and culture of pollinators found throughout Witte Museum! From the Cretaceous to today, pollinators continue to play an important role in the natural world and in cultures around the world. Come celebrate these important creatures at the final event of the 2021 Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival. Tickets available here:  Cocktails & Culture: Pollinators at the Witte | The Witte Museum.

Presented by the Witte Museum 

Caterpillar Condos for Classrooms

A “caterpillar condo” will be awarded to 60 Title-1 classrooms throughout San Antonio on September 13 following a monarch teacher training on September 11 at Confluence Park. The condos–a pop-up cage, milkweed plant, monarch caterpillar, and tag for citizen science activity–will be accompanied by Blooming with Birdie’s hands-on, TEKS aligned, virtual curriculum. Students will learn about the monarch, metamorphosis, migration, and citizen science.

Second grade students will observe the life-cycle of the monarch’s metamorphosis as it morphs from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, then tag and release the butterfly to join the migration in October.

Applications are now closed.

Sponsored by Valero

Pollinators in the Garden at the Wildscape Demonstration Garden

Walk through the Wildscape Demonstration Garden at Phil Hardberger Park and talk with the gardeners to discover how you can incorporate native plants into your garden. See live honey bees in their home, participate in bee arts and crafts, and more! This event will be fun for the whole family.

A Conversation with Katharine Hayhoe, Climate Scientist at Legacy Park

Save the date for this hybrid event, A Conversation with Katharine Hayhoe, Climate Scientist, streamed and projected at Legacy Park.

Hayhoe will discuss her new book, Saving Us: A climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World with Brendan Gibbons, environmental journalist for the San Antonio Report. Sustainability oriented programming, including hands-on pollinator plant making, live composting, and a rain garden demo will be followed by TPR’s streaming Summer Night City Series for those who want to gather. Food and drink available from Pinkerton’s BBQ. Others can join virtually.
6PM Doors and activities begin, 6:15PM movie screening of 2020: A Metamorphosis, 7PM A Conversation with Katharine, 8:15PM TPR Summer Night Series.

Works of Art with Pollinators: an Educator Workshop at Confluence Park

This training session will share pollinator themed classroom activities with an emphasis on art and music with K-12 teachers. Educators can expect hands-on activities, lessons, and advice—and earn three State Board of Education Credits. The event will be hosted at pollinator friendly Confluence Park.  Register here.

Sponsored by the San Antonio River Authority

Join the Garcia Street Urban Farm team for tours of their pollinator gardens to learn how to “partner with pollinators” for high-production gardening and food production. One-hour tours start promptly at 9:30am and at 11am.

Pollinators 101: Class with Rainbow Gardens at Rainbow Gardens Bandera

Join Rainbow Gardens for their Pollinator 101 Class! Come out and learn the do’s, don’ts and how-to’s of pollinator gardening. After the class, there will be a short Q&A before heading out to the pollinator garden to see the butterflies in action. There will be helpful hand-outs and seeds for all. All participants must register to attend.

Pharm Table Apothecary Kitchen at Pharm Table

Join Chef Elizabeth Johnson for the Apothecary Cocktail Program, celebrating pollinators. The evening will feature unique drinks such as the Butterfly Kiss, which includes a combination of Lemon, Basil, Honey, and Mezcal. Pharm Table will be donating $1 from each drink purchased to the Texas Butterfly Ranch, allowing us to continue to spread awareness and understanding of pollinators and the ecosystems that sustain them and us.

Butterfly festival flutters through new venue

San Antonio Report
By Iris Dimmick
October 16, 2021

Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival starts this weekend

Express News
By Elena Bruess and Megan Rodriguez
October 4, 2021


Texas Butterfly Ranch - We Love the Whole Life Cycle


John & Florence Newman Foundation
Winkler Family Foundation
San Antonio River Authority
San Antonio Water System
San Antonio City of Gastronomy

Katy and Ted Flato

The Pearl

Steve and Marty Hixon

Michelle Jacobson

Jane Bockus

John Mize


In-Kind Sponsors


Bexar Audubon Society * Bexar County Master Gardeners * Compost Queens * Eco Centro * Garcia Street Farm * Lake Flato * Native Plant Society of Texas San Antonio Chapter * Rainbow Gardens  *  Southern Wildlife Rehab * The Nectar Bar *  Trinity University * UTSA * Witte Museum *  Yoga Day