Category Archives: Uncategorized

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


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!

We’re having a fundraiser!

Hi everyone!

We are excited to announce our first spring fundraiser happening Sunday, April 28th, from 3:30-7:30 at the Lake Mansion Pavilion, 250 Court St. in Reno, right across from the Great Basin Food Co-Op. We are having two sets of activities:

From 3:30-4:30 we’ll have kids activities like a seedling planting and live insects and other animals to handle. Come learn about insect diversity in our area, learn about how plants and animals interact, and get a seedling that’s good for food and makes a pollinator plant!

From 4:30-7:00 we’ll have a home-brew tasting with 5 different types of beer all made by UNR students and alumni! We’ll also feature a silent auction with handmade items made by local artisans and businesses. Come enjoy a spring afternoon with handcrafted beer and a bit of food, see some insects, and learn more about our project!

Be sure to share our flier with your friends!

Be sure to share our flier with your friends!

Welcome to Nevada Bugs and Butterflies

Welcome to, home of Nevada Bugs and Butterflies, a Reno, NV nonprofit dedicated to hands-on experiences with science and living things to cultivate love of the natural world and local environmental responsibility.

Look back for more posts about upcoming fundraising events, work days, and invertebrate diversity!