Do I have to go on the field trips for which I signed up?
No, you do not. However, if you surreptitiously go to another field trip destination you may not be admitted and your admission will not be paid.
Field trips leaders will have a list of registered participants and admission fees for only those people, to places where admission fees are required or have been negotiated.
Some destinations, like Camp Lula Sam’s, are opening exclusively for us on Sunday. Their regular business hours are FOR IDEA SCHOOLS ONLY and that is why we cannot bring field trips on Monday or Tuesday. Prior background checks and felony-clearance are required for all visitors on the property Monday – Friday, while school children are present….
Other trips include private properties, where owners have set a limit for how many people may enter. They do not want their homes and gardens overrun, and some live in gated communities with covenant deed restrictions. For example, you cannot “just do the Butterfly Beltway tour on my own.” Entry to the Bentsen-Palm properties or private yards may only be done with a field trip leader.
Can I change my choice of trips at any time?
You may REQUEST changes at any time, however, switching to another trip requires available space. If that trip is booked full, you may be put on a waiting list. We will do all we can to accommodate your request.
We understand you may want to change your field trip destinations, just as we may need to change some, based upon scouting reports, property conditions, butterfly sightings, etc. For this reason, we ask for your cooperation and flexibility—and we will extend the same.
May I request special meals for lunch and dinner?
Lunch selections are meat (beef or pork), poultry (chicken or turkey) and vegetarian. Those are the only options we are able to offer. If you are gluten-sensitive, vegan, kosher-only, or on a restricted diet, we must suggest you bring your own meals.
Dinners on Sunday and Monday will be prepared by the talented members of the Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the Texas Chefs’ Association. Each chef hosts his or her own food station with a variety of offerings, which are loosely labeled. We have requested at least 30% of all their offerings be vegetarian, and many prepare items that MAY BE gluten-free, kosher and so forth; however, we apologize we cannot guarantee to meet the needs of anyone on a restricted diet for health or other reasons.
How much walking will be required on my field trip?
All of the field trips involve a significant amount of walking. Some will be short walks that are fairly easy, as may be possible at the National Butterfly Center; others may be vigorous and hazardous. We’ve attempted to describe the relative ease or difficulty associated with each trip destination in their descriptions; some of this is reiterated on the General Information page. Please make your trip selections based upon the details we have provided.
Can you tell me exactly where we will be going at what time so I can schedule my arrival/departure?
Unfortunately, we cannot. All trips and destinations are subject to change, and your trip leaders have full discretion over your schedule. As stated repeatedly on the Texas Butterfly Festival website, EVERYTHING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE based upon the scouting your trip leaders will do prior to your arrival. Every year we have “chase” butterflies, record U.S. sightings and ultra-rarities appear during the festival. Your trip leader will do his/her best to keep you informed of reports as they come in, in case your group decides to change course.
Please note: Nearly all air travel to the Rio Grande Valley involves a connection through Houston or Dallas. Both are high-traffic airports in cities known for travel delays. We recommend scheduling your travel so you have a buffer, lest delays result in missed activities…
I am/not a member of NABA, so what am I paying for?
If you are not a member of NABA, you must join the organization to attend this meeting, which coincides with the Texas Butterfly Festival every six years. Membership to the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) entitles you to receive two quarterly magazines, American Butterflies and Butterfly Gardener, as well as discounts on NABA programs, like garden certification, and voting rights within the organization. This is distinct from membership to the National Butterfly Center, a project of NABA, which carries its own benefits such as a 10% discount on merchandise from the nursery or gift shop, invitations to ‘members-only’ programs, and the American Horticultural Society’s nation-wide, reciprocal admission program for participating botanical gardens, zoos and nature centers.
At the NABA Biennial Members’ Meeting, your fees pay for meeting organization, meals, transportation (to select sites), admission fees, equipment rentals (tables, chairs, tents) and more.