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Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival



SAN ANTONIO, TX – Oct. 1, 2021 -- Let your imagination take flight and explore the

sixth annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival, a month-long celebration of

science, community, art and education inspired by the monarch butterfly during its peak

migration season in San Antonio this October.

After a virtual hiatus in 2020, the festival returns this fall with almost a dozen events,

culminating in a live celebration at Confluence Park October 16.

The family friendly event will include monarch butterfly tagging demos, a Forever

Journey altar that will honor those who have died, a story walk, kayak outings, food

trucks, presentations, and dozens of educational booths and vendors. A People for

Pollinators Parade kicks off the festivities at 9:30 AM. Participants will be encouraged to

“get their wings on.” The festival will continue until 2 PM.

“With its native plant gardens, petal domes and location at the confluence of two rivers

that represent the lifeblood of our city, Confluence Park rolls out the welcome mat for

our Festival,” said Festival founder and director Monika Maeckle. She added that

forecasts for this year’s monarch migration are “pretty upbeat.”

“Deepening our support for the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival makes perfect

sense,” said Frates Seeligson, Executive Director of the San Antonio River Foundation.

“Its educational components and celebration are an ideal fit with our mission to

harmonize the needs of people and nature through stewardship of the rivers and land.”

Last year’s virtual Festival drew more than 6,000 attendees at 20 virtual workshops and

events. In 2019, more than 4,000 people attended Festival day at the Pearl, while

thousands of others enjoyed more than a dozen in-person events.

The mission of the Festival is to celebrate science, citizen science, art and education

through a series of mostly free events in San Antonio at various locations.

The programming is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors, including:

San Antonio River Foundation, Valero, the John and Florence Newman Foundation, the

Winkler Family Foundation, HEB, the San Antonio River Authority, Katy and Ted Flato,

San Antonio Creative City of Gastronomy, the 80-20 Foundation, SAWS, the Consulate

General of Canada, Rainbow Gardens, Lake Flato Architects, the Witte, the Pearl, and

Steve and Marty Hixon.

Check the Texas Butterfly Ranch website for a complete schedule of this year’s events.

Highlights below:


Pollinators in the Garden

9 – 11 a.m.

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 climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe

6 p.m.


This hybrid event will feature Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist, evangelical Christian

and author of Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided


Brendan Gibbons, environmental journalist for the San Antonio Report, will lead the

conversation which will be streamed on a large screen at Legacy Park. Sustainability

oriented programming will take place in the park for those who want to gather in person.

Register here.


Works of Art with Pollinators: an Educator Workshop

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Confluence Park

Sponsored by the San Antonio River Authority

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.


Garcia Street Urban Farm Tour

9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.


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 9:30 a.m. and at 11 a.m.


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. More information here.


Pollinators 101: Class with Rainbow Gardens

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

$10 Attendance Fee

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. Register for

10AM.  Register for 1PM. 


Bexar Audubon Society Presents Special Online Programs: A Talk with Jonathan


6:30 p.m. via Zoom


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. Registration

details coming soon.


Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival

9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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.

Please check back with us as details come into focus.


Cocktails and Culture at the Witte Museum

7 – 9 p.m.

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


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.

Those interested in honoring someone who died by having a monarch tagged in their

name, please fill out this form. If your loved one’s butterfly makes it to Mexico, is

recovered, and reported, we’ll let you know. Two butterflies tagged at our 2020 Festival

were recovered in 2021. Read their story here.

Please check back with us as the schedule unfolds.

About the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival

Started in 2016 in response to the City of San Antonio taking the National Wildlife

Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival is a

community wide collaboration of private sector companies, government and nonprofit

agencies, and devoted volunteers. It is organized by the Texas Butterfly Ranch, a

website devoted to pollinator advocacy. Our nonprofit partner is the San Antonio River


Last year’s virtual Festival drew more than 6,000 attendees at 20 virtual workshops and

events. In 2019, more than 4,000 people attended Festival day at the Pearl, while

thousands of others enjoyed more than a dozen in-person events.

Mission of the Festival: raise understanding and appreciation of the insect pollinators

that make one of every three bites of our food possible, underscore our inherent

interconnectedness, encourage the use of native nectar and host plants in gardens and

landscapes, and reinforce San Antonio’s strategic role in the monarchs’ annual

migration as the First Monarch Butterfly Champion City in the nation.

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