Our mission and programming

“Nevada Bugs and Butterflies provides hands- on experiences with science and living things to cultivate love of the natural world and local environmental responsibility”

Lush pathways welcome visitors into the butterfly house

Lush pathways welcome visitors into the butterfly house

At Nevada Bugs and Butterflies we use hands-on experiences with Northern Nevada’s native insects to get kids excited about science and the environment. Our goal is to make science accessible, empowering kids to learn about the world around them and the role that other living organisms play in our daily lives. We do this through our butterfly house and outdoor science center and through outreach events to groups in the Reno-Tahoe area.

The Butterfly House

Opened in July 2013, the butterfly house is located in Lemmon Valley, just north of Reno, Nevada. In addition to beautiful views of Peavine Mountain and Mt. Rose, this site has been managed for the past three years as a permaculture design, creating an ultra-diverse property that teems with plant and animal life in the summertime. This creates the perfect environment for people of all ages to learn about major concepts in biology, such as life cycles, species interactions, and ecosystem function.

Melissa blue (Lycaeides melissa) in the butterfly house

Melissa blue (Lycaeides melissa) in the butterfly house

Activities at the butterfly house include:

  • The mesh-enclosed house, featuring Nevadan butterflies and caterpillars, in addition to beautiful pollinator plants, fruits, and vegetables
  • Live insects to watch and hold
  • Site tours and science activities with biologists
  • Toys and costumes for creative, self-directed play
  • Surrounding organic garden with more opportunities for art, science, and nature viewing

We want peoples’ experiences at the butterfly house to bring them a renewed sense of place, connection with our natural resources, and a new love for insects.


For the past three years, Cynthia & Kevin have been visiting summer camps, classrooms, and other youth groups to introduce students to local bugs and butterflies, carry out science projects, and teach basic biological concepts. We are committed to creating activities that meet teaching standards in an interactive way for students of all ages.

We currently charge $100 per hour for elementary school outreach programming. For smaller, younger groups (e.g. one kindergarten class) we also do 30 minute programs for $50. Program elements include live native insects, some of which can be held, as well as pinned insect collections, microscopes and butterfly wings, art activities, book readings, and more. If you’d like to talk to Cynthia & Kevin about visiting your students in any setting, please contact us to inquire about this possibility at info[at]nevadabugs[dot]org.

Big Brothers Big Sisters outreach event, 2013

Big Brothers Big Sisters outreach event