The Texas Butterfly Ranch was proud to present the

fourth annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival

A week of science, education, art and celebration

October 12 – 20, 2019

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.

It’s a story of Butterflies without Borders, and one we celebrate. Here’s what transpired.


An estimated 4,000+ attended the Festival at Pearl on Sunday, 10/21
200+ participated in the Butterflies without Borders Forum, 10/19
Another 200+ joined us for Holy Agave Spirits! It’s the Bat Man of Mexico, to learn about the role bats play in making some of our favorite food and drink possible, 10/20
60+ people learned to create a pollinator garden at SAWS and other landscaping workshops
30 teachers learned how to use monarchs in the classroom as a teaching tool—in English y español
70+ ate insects at San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Edible Insects event on 10/19; 100s of the less adventurous observed from afar
600+ attended FREE screenings of “Flight of the Butterflies” and “The Bat Man of Mexico” at Yanaguana Gardens, UTSA and UNAM

Dr. Rodrigo Medellín, the Bat Man of Mexico, gave a lecture to UTSA students on climate change and dropped by Lamar Elementary School to share bat stories with sixth graders.

Dr. Dara Satterfield, a monarch butterfly and migration expert, taught an environmental studies class at Trinity University and shared wisdom about monarch diseases with butterfly gardens at the San Antonio Botanical Garden; she also schooled 30 citizen scientists on OE, an affliction of monarch butterflies.


550 monarch butterflies were tagged* and released in one-on-one citizen science butterfly tagging demos conducted by trained docents, reaching an estimated 1,500 people
Thousands witnessed the world premiere of the Waggle Dance by choreographer Mau Garcia, who interpreted the dance bees do for each other to communicate where the nectar is flowing
More than 100 teachers and others got schooled in how to transform their yards and classroom gardens into pollinator habitats
Hundreds learned about the importance of insects and bats in the ecosystem, and how they make one out of every three bites of our food possible

*NOTE: FIVE butterflies tagged at our 2017 Festival were recovered in Mexico in 2018. IN 2019, three of our butterflies were recovered. Story here.


Visitors came from all over Texas, some from Mexico, Ontario, Washington, DC, Michigan, and elsewhere.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Pollinator Practices: Educators’ Show-n-Tell Symposium

Join educators from around town for a symposium that will share the collective wisdom of local “pollinator teachers” and their best classroom practices. Hands-on activities, lessons, and sage advice, as well as three hours of State Board of Education Credits. FREE and open to K-12 public school educators in Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad Counties.

Underwritten by the San Antonio River Authority and San Antonio River Foundation

Mariposa monarca: espíritu del Bosque

This Spanish language Monarch Heroes workshop will will show teachers how to use pollinators and the natural world in the classroom as an interdisciplinary teaching tool, en español.

Teachers will receive a copy of the Curriculum La Misión de la Mariposa Monarca, K-12, guidance on the use of the curriculum, and three Texas Education Agency  Credit Education Units.

FREE to teachers.

Underwritten by the National Wildlife Federation

Monarch on swamp milkweed Arsenal

Gardening Workshop: Planting for monarchs and other pollinators

In this 90-minute workshop, you’ll learn about 22 plants that provide nectar or larval food sources for monarchs and other pollinators from Gardening Volunteers of South Texas experts. The session includes a guided walking tour to the Botanical Garden’s Monarch Waystation to see an actual Butterfly Garden.

Underwritten by SAWS, Gardening Volunteers of South Texas and San Antonio Botanical Garden

Butterfly Walk

Celebrate butterflies at Confluence Park! Join the San Antonio River Authority on a walk to view butterflies and pollinator plants followed by butterfly tagging demonstrations. Free pollinator plants will be raffled.

Underwritten by the San Antonio River Authority

Saturday, October 12, 2019

FREE Screenings: The Batman of Mexico

Want to see the one-hour documentary on Rodrigo Medellín, the Bat Man of Mexico? Here’s your chance. UTSA Students, faculty, and staff can catch the film at the main campus; others, head to Trinity University, or downtown to UNAM to see the BBC film, narrated by David Attenborough. Join us on Friday at the Pearl or Saturday at Confluence Park to meet Rodrigo in person. Did we mention it’s FREE?

Underwritten by UTSA, Trinity University and UNAM

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Monarch Ultra

Join us to cheer on runners who will pass through San Antonio as they replicate the 2,671-mile monarch butterfly migration! Filmmakers, runners, and pollinator advocates will be telling the story of the flight of the monarch butterfly through the eyes of ultra-runners who will trek from southern Ontario to central Mexico this fall. Runners, singly and in pairs, will complete 50K and 100K sections of the route over 47 days.

Hive Minded: Block Printing Demonstration and Artist Talk with Hilary Rochow

Block printing demonstration and artist talk with Hilary Rochow, whose hyper realistic pen drawings explore pollinators and plants with playful scale and curiosity. Rochow’s multidisciplinary creative approach, grounded in industrial and graphic design inform her love of the natural world weaves its way into to her choice of subject matter. She imbues the living things she draws with as much life and emotion as she observes within them.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Lunch-N- Learn: Monarchs, milkweeds and OE with Dr. Dara Satterfield

Monarchs are imperiled, and they face further challenges from infectious diseases including a protozoan called OE. Re-wilding our American landscape with native milkweeds and other plants can help monarchs rebound and keep parasites at bay.

Join monarch expert Dr. Dara Satterfield to learn how native and Tropical milkweeds can affect monarch health and migration.

Underwritten by the San Antonio Botanical Garden and Trinity University

Butterflies w/o Borders: Migration and Immigration in a Changing Climate

Join us for a timely discussion of politics and pollinators and the impact of climate change on migration and immigration. The panel discussion includes monarch butterfly expert Dara Satterfield, a Trinity visiting scholar, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowand, and PhD in ecology; Austin-based National Public Radio correspondent John Burnett, who covers the border and immigration; and Rodrigo Medellín, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México ecologist, known as “the Batman of Mexico.” Brendan Gibbons, senior environmental reporter for the Rivard Report, will moderate.

Underwritten by Pearl, Trinity University, and the Rivard Report

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Pollinator Rain Garden Workshop

Learn to make the most of the rain to improve your landscape for pollinators and water quality. Rain gardens are shallow depressions that help capture stormwater runoff from rooftops, driveways, and other hard surfaces; and allow the water to be filtered and cleaned through plants and soils. When plants are selected properly, these gardens can help pollinators! Come learn the basics about rain gardens so you can plan, design, construct and maintain your own Pollinator Rain Garden.

Underwritten by the San Antonio River Authority

Bugtoberfest Bug Lunch

Taste and experience insect-inspired cuisine, known as entomophagy, at the San Antonio Botanical Garden Culinary tent with Jonathan Cammack, Texas A&M entomology PhD, Molly Keck, a Texas Agrilife Extension entomologist, and the talented SABOT chefs. Insect actives such as cricket races, maggot art and more included with general admission.

Underwritten by the San Antonio Botanical Garden and Texas Agrilife Extension Service

A Butterfly Haven somewhere in Michoacan

“Flight of the Butterflies” Movie Screening at Yanaguana Gardens

FREE screening of the 2012 documentary “Flight of the Butterflies,” detailing the history of the discovery of the monarch butterfly roosting sites. Great for families, so bring a picnic!

Underwritten by Yanaguana Gardens

Holy Agave Spirits – It’s the Bat Man of Mexico!

A presentation by renowned bat ecologist and PhD Rodrigo Medellín, known as “the Bat Man of Mexico,” will help us understand how bats and other wildlife make tequila, mezcal and other food and drink items possible. Learn more about Medellín in the trailer for the 2015 BBC Documentary Natural World: The Bat Man of Mexico, narrated by David Attenborough.

Bonus: Elizabeth Johnson of Pharm Table and Houston Eaves will provide tastings of agave spirits and snacks. Don’t miss it!

Underwritten by the San Antonio River Authority, the San Antonio River Foundation and UNAM

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival and Parade

Get your wings on for our fourth annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival! Sunday features the People for Pollinators Parade, monarch butterfly tagging demos all day long, educational booths and family activities, pollinator gardening workshops and more. At noon, we’ll debut San Antonio’s specially commissioned, first ever Waggle Dance.


Nation Swell

This Nonprofit Wants to Save Butterflies from Trump’s Border Wall

By Alan Thompson
November 19, 2019

Monarch Butterfly Celebrated at Annual Festival in San Antonio

San Antonio Express News
October 19, 2019

Environmental Threats put Monarch Butterflies at Risk

The Source, Texas Public Radio
October 19, 2019


In 2019, we partnered with the World Heritage Office for the first time, in an effort to link pollinators to the foods and drinks they make possible. This relationship amplified our existing strategic partnerships with the San Antonio River Authority and San Antonio River Foundation.

Texas Butterfly Ranch - We Love the Whole Life Cycle


Once again, the community rallied to make our Festival flourish, and keep most events FREE and open to the public. Thanks to all who participated!

Winkler Family Foundation
John & Florence Newman Foundation
San Antonio River Authority

Katy and Ted Flato

San Antonio Water System
San Antonio City of Gastronomy
CPS Energy
Monarch Champion City
National Wildlife Federation
San Antonio River Foundation
Lake Flato
Plateau Land & Wildlife Management
UTSA Libraries
Rainbow Gardens
Green Haven Industries
San Antonio Botanical Garden

David Ladensohn

Rivard Report
Inn on the Riverwalk
UNMA - San Antonio
Trinity University
Rey Campero Mezcal
City of San Antonio

Go Smart Solar

Marty and Tim Hixon

Ruth and John Agather


Alamo Area Beekeepers Association * Bat Conservation International * Bexar County Master Gardeners * Bridge Projects * CPS Energy * Eco Centro * Gardening Volunteers of South Texas * Gardopia Gardens  * GoSmart Solar * Imperfect Produce * Mitchell Lake Audubon Center * National Wildlife Federation  * The Nectar Bar * Rainbow Gardens Nursery * San Antonio Botanical Garden * San Antonio Natural Areas * University of Texas at San Antonio