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      The Nature Report: Butterfly Bonanza

      This is the best time of year to enjoy butterflies in the Rio Grande Valley, and one of the top spots is the National Butterfly Center just south of Mission near Bentsen State Park.

      The Valley is the nation TMs premier location for butterflies, and approximately 300 different species occur here. Dr. Jeffery Glassberg, President of the North American Butterfly Association, is surrounded by hundreds of butterflies as he tours the extensive gardens at the Center. Any given day here at the National Butterfly Center you can see thousands and thousands of butterflies probably 75 different kinds, Glassberg said. Recent rains have native plants blooming and the fall migration of queens, monarchs and other species are flocking to the Center and chances are good you will also encounter several Valley specialties that don TMt venture any farther north. In the Rio Grande Valley you can see more species than anywhere in the United Sates and also more species that cannot be seen anywhere else in the United States, Glassberg said. The National Butterfly Center has been open for five years and attracts people from all over the world, and groundbreaking for a new Welcome Center and additional gardens will begin this winter. Well, I would want them at least come on out here to the National Butterfly Center and take a look and see what a great resource this is already, Glassberg said. Thousands of Rio Grande Valley schoolchildren come here to learn about butterflies|but to see also what it is going to become, and it is going to become a really national facility, a National Center for Butterflies right here in the Rio Grande Valley.