Austin, Texas, is home to about 170 species of butterflies. It is also the home of the Austin Butterfly Forum, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to butterfly conservation and to enriching people's lives through butterflies. The Austin Butterfly Forum is a club that organizes field trips, conducts butterfly counts, promotes native gardening, performs conservation activities, and meets monthly for an educational presentation. We are a community of butterfly enthusiasts who also enjoy dragonflies & damselflies, bees, beetles, spiders and arthropods in general, and our meeting presentations span this gamut as well. Join Us!
Meetings are held in the Zilker Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX, 78746 at 7:00 PM on the fourth Monday of each month except December.
March 2014 Schedule
Monday, March 24 – Butterfly Field Trip starting at Zilker Botanical Garden at 9 a.m. Monarch expert Lincoln Brower will be our guest. After Zilker, we will butterfly along Barton Creek and share lunch around 1 p.m.
ABF field trips are free to our members and $5.00 for non-members. Admission to the ZBG parking and grounds is $3.00 per adult; $2.00 per adult if they live in Austin; $1.00 per child (ages 3-12) and $1.00 per senior (ages 62 and older).
Tuesday, March 25 – Special Meeting - The Grand Saga of the Monarch Butterfly Research by Lincoln Brower.
In this lecture, copiously illustrated with photographs ranging from electron micrographs to satellite images, Professor Brower will present a first-person account of his field expeditions and lab explorations, and describe the conservation issues that threaten the butterflies' unique migration and wintering biology. Professor Brower hopes that his audience will include curious naturalists and ardent conservationists of all ages and backgrounds. (more detailed description)
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Meetings will begin shortly after 7. No charge for evening parking at Zilker. ABF meetings are normally free to the public, but non-members will be charged $10 for each of these two meetings. Note, the Zilker Garden Center has seating for 130, but only parking spaces for 60 vehicles so carpooling will be necessary. Overflow parking is available under MoPac at Barton Springs Road.
For more information, please contact Mike Quinn, ABF president at 512-577-0250 or
Catalina is a native of Michoacán. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Social work and lives and works in Austin.
Catalina loves nature. She is an organic gardener, loves all bugs and specially the Monarch Butterflies.
SK films of Toronto, Canada depict the story of the Monarch Butterfly discovery in the film "Flight of the Butterflies" playing at The Bullock State History Museum here in Austin.
Catalina was awarded the 2012 Gold Medal "José María Luis Mora" by the State of México for eminent services provided to México and humanity with the discovery and conservation of the Monarch Butterfly.
Born in Texas, I was raised in Mexico ca. 1940s onward etc., mostly in Mexico City, mining towns, and other pueblos in rural areas. I had wonderful opportunities to travel with parents to many places like Pachuca, Cuernavaca, and later to sites not far from Monarch country. Introduced to natural landscapes and indigenous native culture and gradual awareness of photography. I journeyed later to Sam Houston State University for a B.A. in Business Administration with minor in English.
I first settled in Houston before leaving for Austin, the hill country, to be near the U. of Texas, its then Benson Latin American Library, and to meet Russell Lee, the first teacher of photography at U.T. Began to document in Texas and decided to return to Mexico to begin documentation of indigenous life and culture. In 1971 journeyed to the Sierra Madre Occidental, the longest cordillera in the world, to live among the Vixar-ritari (Huichol) Indians, their world, and that of their neighbors. Huichol land is 100s of miles north Monarch territory which is also part of the Sierra Madre Occidental, but a far different land. In 1976 I was awarded the prestigious University of Texas Dobie / Paisano Fellowship for my documentary work in the Sierra Madre Occidental.
In 1977, I was invited by Bill Calvert and Lincoln Brower, primarily as a translator, interpreter, and for my experience in the Sierra Madre, to join them on their journey to locate the elusive Monarchs, all of which was a honor and pleasure for me. This whole experience, in so many ways and almost indescribable, was and remains one of those unforgettable transformational experiences that are difficult to cast aside as if they were a mere piece of paper, and for this I remain thankful to my friends and many others.
Since then, I continue my documentation in Texas, related research and work on archives which include images, writing, working on publications, and exhibits, etc., either solo or collaborative, on both sides of the River. I have had work featured in numerous journals, newspapers, etc., such as Texas Monthly, Popular Photography, Mexico Desconocido, Ecotropics Journal, Duende, Mi Pueblo, El Imagen de Zacatecas, Cuarto Oscuro, etc. I am currently living and based in Austin. I continue my interest in projects, like hydroelectric and mining projects of the "open pit" kind, mostly in rural areas, that have a strong negative and damaging effect on and in rural areas, many of them related to natives who have lived there for years.
A long time ago Bill Calvert took a degree in philosophy from the University of Texas and then went off to serve in Uncle Sam's Army. After two years of soldiering, he decided that he was a very poor soldier, and that he needed to do something practical. So he took up the study of butterflies. For his dissertation project he researched butterfly feet. After a varied career in many places and involving many insect types, he ended up across town (Amherst, Massachusetts) from Lincoln Brower, one of the world's experts on the monarch butterfly. They began a collaboration that continues today and which has produced over thirty scientific papers on the monarch.
Drawing upon his research experience, Bill established a business leading eco-cultural tours to the monarch over-wintering areas in Mexico, where adventurers could experience one of the most spectacular of nature's phenomena - tens of millions of monarch butterflies roosting in fir forests and flying high in the mountain air.
During his various explorations, Bill built a cabin in Monteverde, Costa Rica, and lived there for several years while conducting research with other biologists. He has traveled extensively and in collaboration with Bonnie Chase, (Otter Creek, Maine) expanded the natural history trips to include Central and South America. In January 2009 he was featured in the Nova special on the monarch butterflies.
Recently he retired from tour leading and became a lamp maker in Otter Creek, Maine. The general term for his lamps is “Steampunk”, meaning that they are basically found objects construed and fastened together in odd, artistic ways. These objects are found in flea markets, antique stores and sometimes trash dumps. They are assembled in a manner generally keeping to a central theme and are wired carefully adhering to Underwriters Laboratory standards.
Lincoln Pierson Brower is Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology, Emeritus at the University of Florida. Since 1997 he has been Research Professor of Biology at Sweet Briar College. He received his B.A. degree from Princeton University and his Ph.D. from Yale, and taught at Amherst College for 22 years before moving to the University of Florida.
Professor Brower's research interests include the overwintering and migration biology of the monarch butterfly, insect chemical defense, ecological chemistry, insect mimicry, scientific film making, and the conservation of endangered biological phenomena.
Professor Brower has authored and coauthored more than 200 scientific papers, eight films, and two edited books, and is currently writing his magnum opus on the monarch butterfly. Awards he has received include the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale University, the Medal for Zoology from the Linnean Society of London, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Animal Behavior Society, and the Royal Entomological Society of London Marsh Award. He has served as President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the International Society of Chemical Ecology, and the Lepidopterists’ Society.
He is collaborating with governmental and nongovernmental groups, and other scientists and private individuals, to protect and restore the overwintering forests of the monarch butterfly in Mexico and is actively promoting the conservation of milkweeds throughout the USA.
Professor Brower and his wife, Sweet Briar Professor of Ecology Linda Fink, live with their two lovely German shepherds, two friendly cats, and are surrounded by abundant wildlife in Nelson County (all protected by conservation easement ad infinitum).
The Grand Saga of the Monarch Butterfly Research
All of our normal events are open to the public, but you may want to become a member of the Austin Butterfly Forum to help support us and our events. We also treat members to some extra goodies, such as reduced admission to special programs that have a fee and discounts on purchases made at meetings. Membership is $20 annually per household payable during meetings or by mail to Doris Hill, ABF Treasurer, 1605 Broadmoor, Austin, TX 78723.
For more information, please contact Mike Quinn, ABF president at 512-577-0250 or