Stunning native butterflies will be showcased this Tuesday evening for Frontera Audubon and the Weslaco Public Library’s Summer Nature Talks at Braught Theater, 525 S. Texas Blvd. Mike Rickard, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Volunteer Naturalist, will present “Butterflies Here and Beyond” at 6:30 p.m. The weekly programs are free to the public and will run until August 9th.
Some of Rickard’s extensive butterfly photography collection will be presented during this program. He will showcase some of the 200 butterfly species of our region, and pinpoint their unique qualities and features.
Rickard, a regular volunteer naturalist for Bentsen and Estero Llano Grande State Parks, says he began collecting butterflies when he was a young boy working on his Boy Scout merit badge.
“My experience studying butterflies at a young age led to my joining the Lepidopterists’ Society and conducting extensive butterfly field studies throughout Texas for the next 30 years,” the former Houston resident said.
Much of Rickard’s butterfly collection is now housed in the Roy O. Kendall Collection at Texas A&M.
“The most important material from my collection was incorporated into the Roy O. Kendall collection and given to the Texas Lepidoptera Society, but some of my other items were donated to the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian, and the Carnegie Museum,” he said.
In 2008, when he and wife Ginny retired and moved to Mission, Rickard continued studying butterflies, this time with camera and binoculars.
“My photographic database now consists of over 9000 images representing more than 200 of the LRGV butterfly species, including several US records,” he said, “I also have begun to photograph dragonflies and birds.”
Rickard remains a member of the Lepidopterists’ Society and a member of the North American Butterfly Association. He is a Research Associate of the Texas Lepidoptera Survey and a Texas Parks & Wildlife Volunteer Naturalist, assisting with numerous butterfly walks at Bentsen and Estero Llano Grande State Parks. Currently, he serves as Butterfly Docent for the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse and has led occasional butterfly walks at Frontera Audubon.
Don’t miss the final presentation of Summer Nature Talks next week:
Rio Grande Valley Nature Through My Eyes with Martin Hagne
Tuesday, August 9th at 6:30 p.m.