Category Archives: Uncategorized

Opening day 2017!

We are so excited for the 2017 season of our science center and butterfly house to begin! We are putting in the finishing touches for the various activities, and the garden is looking better than ever. As usual, we will be open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am-3pm (except Saturday, July 1), and will close on Sept 9.

We also just wanted to remind our visitors that there is a detour due to the 2016 winter flooding in Lemmon Valley. Lemmon Drive is closed at Military Rd., and the best route takes Military Rd. and then goes around the west side of the valley.

Google and Apple Maps do not have adequate detour instructions at this time, so please follow the directions below when heading to our site this summer. If you need help finding us during our open hours, feel free to call us at 775-200-8774. We can’t wait to see everyone out there this summer!

Directions from Reno:

  • Take US-395 N to exit 74, then right on Lemmon Dr. for 0.9 mile.
  • Turn left on Military Dr. for 2.5 miles.
  • In quick succession, turn right on Echo Ave., left on Mt. Limbo St., and right on Bravo Ave./Albert Way. Total about 1 mile.
  • Turn left on Ramsey Way for 0.7 miles.
  • Turn right on Lemmon Dr. for 0.4 mile.
  • Turn left on Oregon Blvd for 1 mile.
  • Turn right on Fir Dr. for 0.9 miles. Park on Fir Dr. or by the big red workshop on Matterhorn Blvd. Please do not park on Matterhorn Blvd.
Map of detour directions for 2017

Map of detour directions for 2017

Nevada Bee Identification Guide

We are excited to be able to publish our Nevada Bee Identification Guide! This handy 2-page reference can help you tell apart several of the most common types of native bees in our state, as well as how to tell bees from flies and wasps. Please feel free to download the pdf file using the link below; we also have copies available at our public outreach events and at the science center in the summer. This guide was created in partnership with graduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno, the university’s Museum of Natural History, Nevada Fish and Wildlife, and the Pollinator Partnership.

PDF File: Nevada Bee Guide

Nevada Bee Guide small sizeNevada Bee Guide small size page 2

New phone number!

Just a quick note that Nevada Bugs and Butterflies has changed its phone number! As always, you can also always email us!

Call for info or to schedule a group outreach visit!

Call for info or to schedule a group outreach visit!

Reflections on a successful season

With the arrival of Thanksgiving this week, and as the weather continues to change and remind us that winter really is coming, it seems like an appropriate time for Nevada Bugs and Butterflies to reflect on yet another busy and successful year. We finished our fourth season at the butterfly house with 2,284 visitors (by far our highest attendance yet), meeting hundreds of new families and students and hosting our 3rd annual monarch tag and release event. 2016 was also a wonderful year of community outreach events, including our native bee talk with Dr. Joe Wilson, a plant and animal inventory of Idlewild Park with Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation, programs at Washoe County libraries, and a local insect workshop at the Oxbow Nature Study Area. Finally, the Nevada Butterfly Monitoring Network (NBMN) had a successful inaugural season, with seven dedicated volunteers monitoring 9 routes in natural areas, contributing valuable data and laying the foundation for a long-term dataset of butterfly diversity in our region.

All these programs would not have been possible without the dedication of many people, including our board of directors, our 7 amazing science education interns Bradlyn, Dylan, Ellen, Irene, Javier, Rebekah, and Tiffany; our volunteers from the Sanford Center’s RSVP program Bradley, Deborah, and Patty; our NBMN volunteers; and countless other volunteers at the butterfly house and outreach events throughout the year who volunteered over 1,200 hours of their time and energy to make this year so successful. Thank you!

Finally, we would like to thank our donors and the continued support of foundations (read more below) whose generosity enables us to carry out our mission. Our organization has always been community-supported, and as the holiday season approaches, your end-of-year contributions are a significant part of how we prepare our goals for the coming year. You can make a tax-deductible donation to Nevada Bugs by clicking the link below, or even support us with your holiday shopping (see below). Either way, your contributions will go directly toward providing high quality science education in the Reno area in 2017.

Thank you again to all our visitors, volunteers, donors, and other supporters, and have a wonderful holiday season!

–Kevin & Cynthia

Searching for grasshoppers amongst the flowers

Searching for grasshoppers amongst the flowers

Boys and Girls Club of the Truckee Meadows visiting in June

Boys and Girls Club of the Truckee Meadows visiting in June

Monarch tagging and end of the 2016 season!

Cooler days and earlier nights can only mean one thing- fall is soon approaching, and with it the last two weekends of our 2016 summer season! That’s right, our last open days will be  Sept. 15-17 and 22-24! If you haven’t made it out yet, these cooler days in mid-September are a great time to visit- the sunchokes are blooming with bright yellow flowers, bees are still busy collecting pollen and nectar, and skipper butterflies are flitting about the garden.

And, for the 3rd year in a row, we’ll be hosting our monarch butterfly tag-and-release event during our open days on Sept 15-17. Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in the United States are famous for their migration each winter; monarchs east of the Rockies head to Mexico, while those west of the Rockies, including in Nevada, head to the coast of California. Our event is part of a citizen science project called the Southwest Monarch Study, aimed at understanding and conserving the monarch migration of the western United States. We’ll have a short introduction to monarch biology followed by tagging an adult monarch (using a small adhesive sticker like the one above) that is then released to complete its migration. These tags can then be recorded by observers in their overwintering habitat. This year our presentations will take place on the hour from 11-2 each of our three open days.

We hope to see you out there in the next couple weeks to enjoy this beautiful late summer in Nevada!

Monarch with tag, 2015

Monarch with tag, 2015

Butterfly house closed for Saturday, July 2nd

Hi folks! Just a reminder that we are closed Saturday, July 2nd, for the 4th of July holiday weekend. We will reopen on Thursday, July 7th, and will be open regular hours (Thurs-Fri-Sat, 10-3) until September 24th. Thank you and enjoy the holiday weekend!

Second annual monarch tag and release event, Sept. 10-12, 17-19

The end of our butterfly house season is fast approaching (can you believe only two more weekends?), and we are closing out with a fun family event. On our last two sets of open days, Sept. 10-12 and 17-19, we’ll be having our second annual monarch tag and release event! This is part of a citizen science project called the Southwest Monarch Study, aimed at understanding and conserving the monarch migration of the western United States. We’ll have a short introduction to monarch biology followed by tagging an adult monarch that will be released to migrate south towards the coast of California. These tags can then be recorded by observers in their overwintering habitats, such as Pacific Grove and Pismo. We’ll have a presentation once an hour from 10:30-2:30 each day (weather permitting). This is a great opportunity to see the butterfly house and garden in the beauty of late summer and learn more about this beautiful and endangered native butterfly. Hope to see you there!

Come help us support this great citizen science program!

2015 Permaculture Design Class- with pollinators!

Even though the butterfly house is hibernating for the winter, we are  excited to teach the public about invertebrates and their importance in our landscape all year long. This year, our friends at RT Permaculture (Neil Bertrando, our site owner) and Urban Roots Garden Classroom have partnered to teach an all-year Permaculture Design Certification in Reno. This course is a introduction to the principles and application of permaculture, which integrates geography, agriculture, forestry, soils, ecology, architecture, hydrology, animal husbandry, and more to facilitate the design of resource producing ecosystems. One of our design goals is to meet human needs while improving ecosystem health. Permaculture design can be applied at any scale and in any context: commercial or home scale, in wet or dry climates, you name it.  The outcomes in each case will be different, but the whole systems design approach is the same.

In addition to Neil’s excellent instruction, there will be two guest instructors, one of which is Nevada Bugs’ own Kevin Burls! He’ll be teaching classes on April 23rd and 25th dealing with ecological communities, focusing on the role of pollinators for nutrient cycling, food webs, and permaculture applications. In addition to Kevin, Kyle Chandler-Isacksen will also be guest teaching. Kyle is an urban homesteading innovator and natural builder extraordinaire.  He and his family run the local Be The Change project, a community-building urban homestead.

The full schedule for the course is shown below. Though the design certificate requires taking all the classes throughout the year, you don’t have to take the full course to take the classes that interest you the most. In fact, you can get a discount over the listed price by purchasing a discount card worth 25% off for taking a subset of courses of your choice. Read all the details on Urban Roots’ website.

 

We’re going on a trip!

Hi everybody! For the next week we’ll be going to the Invertebrates in Education and Conservation Conference (IECC) meeting, presented by the Terrestrial Invertebrate Taxonomy Advisory Group (TITAG). This conference brings together educators, photographers, zookeepers, exhibit designers, consultants, and other professionals that use invertebrates in their work from across the United States. The conference is located in the tiny town of Rio Rico, Arizona, just 15 miles north of the border with Mexico.

Neither Kevin nor Cynthia have been south of Las Vegas in a car!

When the monsoons come in July, it brings a flush of vegetation, and with it, a flush of insects. Not to mention the Sonoran desert nocturnal wildlife, which is amazing. Kevin is presenting a talk on Saturday about Nevada Bugs during the education section, and we are looking forward to learning a lot during the day and seeing lots of amazing bugs in the hot desert sun. Look for pictures from the trip on our Facebook account!

 

 

A long overdue spring update!

Hi everyone,

Boy, turn your head for one second and it’s spring! You may have noticed that there hasn’t been an update too recently on the website, and that’s mainly for one reason: I (Kevin), who mostly writes these blog posts, have been finishing up my Ph.D. degree in the Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology program at the University of Nevada here in Reno. I recently successfully defended my dissertation on April 23, and will be finished “officially” on May 9. It has been a long time in the making, and I am delighted to have finally accomplished what I set out for when I moved to Reno 6 1/2 short years ago.

Anyways, that’s a long way of saying I’ve been very busy lately, and have been doing a pretty sizable portion of writing, so the posts had to wait a bit! But now that the bulk of the work is done, Cynthia and I are both excited to continue our preparation for another exciting summer with Nevada Bugs.

We had a great time at the Reno Earth Day event in Idlewild Park on April 27th. We got to meet so many new kids and parents from around Reno, and we even got to hang out next to our good friends at the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science! We also held a workshop event where we made insect origami and native bee houses, complete with coloring sheets. This was our first year out there and we had an absolute blast!

Cynthia and the bugs Earth Day

Cynthia and the bugs Earth Day

 

Also, in case you’ve been wondering, while the butterflies are overwintering, the butterfly house is still in use, just mostly by plants! Neil Bertrando continues to grow delicious veggies in the house throughout the winter, making use of the space even when the butterflies aren’t flying. However, with the plastic over the house warming the inside even in mind weather, he has spotted a few early risers, including this Melissa blue, emerging after spending the winter on one of the perennial plants in the house as a larva. How cool!

Earlier in the spring

Earlier in the spring

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Growing cool season crops inside the butterfly house

An adult Melissa blue, emerging after spending the winter in the butterfly house

An adult Melissa blue, emerging after spending the winter in the butterfly house

We’ll have more info coming very soon about some of our upcoming events, including some possible work days for volunteers, as well as some fun public events that are currently in the works with both UNR and the Discovery Museum. Stay tuned!