Category Archives: Butterfly house

2018 Science Center update

After five successful years at our Lemmon Valley site, the Nevada Bugs and Butterflies Science Center and Butterfly house will be temporarily closed this summer as we work to find a larger, permanent home. While we are sad not to welcome everyone to the butterfly this summer, we look forward to welcoming you to a new future site, where we will bring visitors a renewed sense of place, connection with our natural resources, and a new love for insects for many years to come. Read more below:

To all our supporters,

Believe it or not, it has been over five years since Nevada Bugs & Butterflies opened our seasonal science center and butterfly house in Lemmon Valley. We were lucky enough to partner with Neil Bertrando and his wife Katie, who kindly opened their property to us for our summer programs. Since 2012 we have grown from just over 200 visitors in our first season to over 2,000 visitors in each of our last two summers. We have met thousands of families and hosted many school groups, giving them the chance to interact with our state’s amazing native plants and animals and learn about native insect biology, ecology, and conservation. Along with all our visitors, we’ve also gotten to see Neil’s garden grow from small seedlings fresh in the soil to a diverse landscape of native plants and food crops, with elderberry shrubs well over 10 feet tall and seaberry trees bursting with bright orange fruits.

Our initial agreement with Neil and Katie was always a five-year agreement —  a chance to get our feet on the ground. As you might imagine, our growth in popularity over the last five years has also put its own strain on the site, and we have not been able to expand our programming as much as we would like. Knowing all of this, our organization has been in the planning stages of expanding to a new location for some time, and we are working to find a new, permanent site for our science center, butterfly house, and other summer programs. The pull of managing the science center and butterfly house each season is strong, and often keeps us too busy to devote the time to this much-needed development. In order to dedicate the energy and time needed to find a home we can grow into, we will not be opening our science center and butterfly house this season.

This doesn’t mean Nevada Bugs & Butterflies won’t be around this summer! We have a number of activities already planned, and lots more in the works. Here is a list of just some of our upcoming 2018 events:

  • April 28 and May 6: Nevada Butterfly Monitoring Network Trainings. This program contributes long-term butterfly monitoring data to a national database. We’re in our third year and are looking to expand our sites and volunteer base.
  • May 3, May 10 and May 17: We are partnering with the Fish & Wildlife Service and UNR’s  Museum of Natural History for a series of pollinator talks at the Great Basin Taps & Tanks location in the evening.
  • May 5, 10:00-4:00: Our annual National Pollinator Week event, which  is combined with the University of Nevada’s Day at the Museum.
  • May 11: We’ll be joining the Spring Wings Festival in Fallon, at E.C. Best Elementary from 3:30-5:30.
  • May 20: As part of River Month with Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, we will be doing a bug walk at the Oxbow Nature Center from 1-3pm.
  • We’ll be at a variety of public events like Celebrate Washoe Valley at Washoe Valley State Park on May 19th, 10:00-2:00.

There are other events still being planned, such as an event for National Moth Week and a series of other insect identification walks. Please check back on our website and facebook pages for more updates.

We know many of you will be disappointed about not having the butterfly house this summer- it is certainly bittersweet for all of us as well. But we are extremely excited to begin this next phase in our organization’s growth, and we hope you are too. We’ll be sending out updates as we continue this process, and we will need your help to make our effort successful. We’ll be sending out surveys for your ideas and suggestions  and we can’t wait to see what our future home has to offer to the northern Nevada community. We hope to see you at some of our events this summer and that your 2018 is filled with bugs and butterflies!

–Kevin, Cynthia, and the NBB Board of Directors

Thank you for an amazing 2017 season!

Fall is in the air, and as the season winds down for the insects, the board and staff of Nevada Bugs would just like to say THANK YOU for another amazing season, both at our science center and butterfly house and at our numerous outreach events in the northern Nevada area. As always, we continue to meet new families and reach new groups, and we are so grateful for the chance to teach our community about the value of our region’s native plants and animals. In addition to that, we raised $3,500 at our recent 5th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser. So again, to our visitors, supporters, and insect lovers, we say thank you!

Of course, 2017 isn’t done yet- our director Kevin Burls will be speaking at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on November 8th, at the Galena Creek Visitor Center on November 12th, and we hope to see you at one of those events. And as always, feel free to contact us with any questions for program requests!

Bombus vosesenskii

Yellow-faced bumble bee (Bumbus vosnesenskii) on Rocky Mountain bee plant at the butterfly house, 2017


5th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser


This summer marks five years since we opened our butterfly house and science center and began insect-focused science education outreach and programming in our community. We couldn’t have done it without your support and participation, so please join us as we celebrate this milestone on Sunday, August 20th, at the Western Heritage Interpretive Center in Bartley Ranch Regional Park, from 2pm to 5pm. There will be something for everybody, with homebrew beer tasting, live music by Strictly Business, a silent auction with great items donated by our supporters and Reno businesses, activity stations for kids to make art and build bee houses, five minute science talks, and, of course, the bugs!

We want to acknowledge all the businesses who have donated items to the silent auction for our 5th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser:


We really appreciate these businesses for supporting our work, and can’t wait for you to see the great items that will be in the silent auction!

As we pass this important milestone, we are also turning our thoughts to the next five years. We are currently in the process of planning an expansion for the butterfly house and science center, and we continue to grow our outreach and internship programs every year. This 5th Anniversary Celebration will help us raise funds for our programming in the coming years. Admission is free but there will be opportunities to donate, buy Nevada Bugs & Butterflies t-shirts, and bid on items in the silent auction.

You can also keep up to date about the event on our facebook page.

Hope to see you there!

Kevin, Cynthia and the NV Bugs Board of Directors

Butterfly House closed on Saturday, July 1st

Hi everyone- Just a quick reminder that the butterfly house and science center will be closed on Saturday, July 1st in celebration of the July 4th holiday. Have a great weekend everyone and we will see you the following week. We’ll be open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10-3 starting up again on July 6th.

Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor

Opening day 2016 and 2nd annual National Pollinator Week event!

Science center opening day is this Thursday!

That says it! We are so excited to begin our fourth season (can you believe it?) at out science center and butterfly house. We’ve been raising butterflies for weeks, and we are ready to put them in our mesh-enclosed butterfly house for all to enjoy! In addition to the butterfly house, the garden is bigger and lusher than ever, our Mojave desert tortoises Tessie and Watson are with us again, we’ll have friendly millipedes, beetles, and other invertebrates to see and touch, and a host of other activities on site. As in the past, we’re open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from June 16 to Sept 24th (closed on Saturday, July 2). We can’t wait to see everyone throughout the summer, and as always you can find directions, recommendations, and other information about our science center on our website at And, it’s the perfect time to schedule your group visit to our site! Group visits (group limit ~25 + chaperones) can be scheduled by emailing Kevin at There are plenty of open times in July and August so just let us know!

Topping off our opening days will be the 2016 Pollinator Week event at the UNR Pollinator Garden on Wednesday, June 22nd in the courtyard of the Fleischmann Agriculture/Life Sciences building at the south end of the UNR campus. w\We’ll have garden tours, pollinator talks from local experts, native bee and butterfly specimens, a bug petting zoo, poster and plant giveaways, native bee house making, and more!

Our planned acitivity lineup includes the following sessions:

  • Garden Tours (Sarah Kulpa, USFWS, in the FA courtyard): 10:00-10:30; 11:00-11:30; 1:00-1:30
  • Nevada’s Native Bees (Jake Francis, UNR, in the FA courtyard): 11:45-12:00, 12:15-12:30
  • Herbicide Use and Pollinators (Jay Davison, UNCE, in the FA courtyard): 11:45-12:00, 12:15-12:30
  • Nevada’s Native Butterflies (Dr. Matt Forister, UNR, in the FA courtyard): 12:00-12:15, 12:30-12:45
  • NDF Nursery and Native Plants (Ryan Sharrer, NDF, in the FA courtyard): 12:00-12:15, 12:30-12:45)
  • Monarch Citizen Science Training (Nevada Bugs and Butterflies, in Fleischmann Agriculture room 300G): 2:00-3:00

This event is free and open to the public! Free parking spots for this event are available on the top level of the West Stadium Garage, and streetside parking is also available at the south end of campus on 9th St. and Evans Ave.

We can’t wait to welcome both our many returning families as well as many new ones we’ve met in the past year out to our science center this summer. We’ll see you out there!

You can also RSVP on our Facebook page for this event!

You can also RSVP on our Facebook page for this event!


The Stillwater Foundation awards grant to Nevada Bugs!

We are very pleased to announce that Nevada Bugs has been awarded a grant from the Stillwater Foundation, located in Reno, Nevada! The Stillwater Foundation seeks to promote global well being by supporting organizations that provide youth development and education, contribute to medical research and outreach, and promote environmental stewardship. We are proud that our outdoor science center and outreach programs serve as educational resources for the community in and around Reno. With the science center and butterfly house closed for the winter after a third hugely successful season, our organization’s work continues with outreach events at schools and youth groups throughout the year. We are also already planning for next year’s season at the science center and beyond, including educational workshops about pollinator identification and conservation and the creation of a citizen science butterfly monitoring program to be a part of the North American Butterfly Monitoring Network. Funds from organizations like the Stillwater Foundation go directly into this programming and we are so thankful for their support of our mission!

Pygmy blue butterfly, Quail Valley Road, Reno, November 8, 2015

Pygmy blue butterfly, Quail Valley Road, Reno, November 8, 2015

Nevada Bugs awarded a Helen Close Charitable Foundation Grant!

We are proud to announce that Nevada Bugs and Butterflies was chosen as a grant recipient of the Helen Close Charitable Foundation, located right in Reno, Nevada! Their generosity will go directly towards quality hands-on science education for youth and families at our outdoor science center and at outreach events throughout 2015. As always, our science center and butterfly house are free to the public and all groups, and contributions from individual donations and grants continue to make our work possible. We are so thankful for the support of the Helen Close Charitable Foundation, and look forward to sharing the wonders of insects with local families throughout the year!

Butterfly house update; closed on July 4

Wow, time flies! We had an amazing first week on June 18, and we have been so happy to see many returning families and meet many new ones as well during our first few open days. The butterfly house and garden are looking awesome, so please do come and see us sometime soon! Just as a reminder, we are closed on July 4th but are otherwise open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am – 3pm until Sept. 19th. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule a group tour; as always families are welcome anytime during our open hours. See you soon!

Buckeye, Junonia ceonia

Buckeye, Junonia ceonia

Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui

Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui

Fritillary, Speyeria sp.

Fritillary, Speyeria sp.


Opening day approaches, and National Pollinator Week 2015

It’s been a bit since our last post, but it’s only because of all the good things happening– Cynthia, Kevin, and all our board members and volunteers are busy preparing for our 2015 opening day on June 18th! New signs and interactive activities are being made, the butterfly house is being readied, and we have many cute caterpillars in the lab, growing and pupating and getting ready to show off for everyone in less than two weeks. (Side note: if you’re interested in a group visit to the butterfly house, please email Kevin as summer days are filling up fast already!)

In addition to our opening day on the 18th, this next week starting June 15th marks the beginning of National Pollinator Week, and there are several great events in Reno celebrating the amazing work that native pollinators do for us every day. On Saturday, June 13th from 1-4, Urban Roots will be hosting a pollinator fair including hands-on activities, pollinator-product tasting stations, and a Spelling Bee, as well as info sessions on native pollinators and how to attract them. Then, on Wednesday, June 17th from 10am-1pm there’s a pollinator celebration at the south end of the UNR Campus, right outside the Natural History Museum on our brand new pollinator garden, installed with the help of the great folks at the Nevada office for the Fish & Wildlife Service. There will be garden tours, native bee and butterfly specimens, a caterpillar and beetle petting zoo, poster and plant giveaways, native bee house making, and more. Both events are free and are a great chance to learn how to support the thousands of native pollinators in the Great Basin. Hope to see many of you at one of these events, and then at our opening day on June 18th!

Pollinator Fair Flyer2

Urban Roots event, June 13th

UNR pollinator flyer 2015

UNR event, June 17th


FREE native plant course– attract pollinators to your yard!

Update: We’ve filled our course! Thanks for all those who are interested. Given the number of requests we received, we will almost certainly offer another course later in the year, so keep an eye out as the season progresses.

We are proud to announce a free native plant course taking place out at our butterfly house on May 17th 1-4pm, created as a partnership between Nevada Bugs, the US Fish & Wildlife Schoolyard Habitat program, and RT Permaculture. The topic of this course will be using plants native to Nevada to attract the many different types of beneficial insects that are in our area. Topics will include plant choice and planting techniques that will maximize your site’s usefulness to native insects, an introduction to native insect identification and conservation, and a special highlight on monarch butterfly conservation. Our site owner, Neil, will also lead a tour of his 1-acre permaculture garden, which has many great examples of how to use native plants to attract beneficial insects. In addition, you’ll go home with a set of native plants to plant at your home– for free!

Native insects have several important functions for natural areas and your own back yard– pollination of many crops, control of pest insects, and nutrient cycling to name a few. Many native insect species, like our native bumblebees, are threatened by habitat loss as well as habitat fragmentation, where each habitat patch becomes smaller and less connected to other patches. Increasing pollinator-friendly plants and creating habitat for insects are the best ways to conserve the native species that help make our landscape productive, diverse, and unique. Native plants will also use less water, remain hardier, and be more pest and disease-resistant than many nonnative plants.

The course size is limited, so email Kevin to reserve your spot and help make a difference in conserving our native plants and pollinators! pollinator plant wksp flier