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Pollinators in Action RGV Community Photographs

Pollinators in Action: RGV Community Photographs started back in 2019 when IMAS received an exhibition proposal, Wild Bees, from prominent photographers Paula Sharp and Ross Eatman. Wild Bees documents the diversity of wild bees species found at the New York’s Rockefeller State Park Preserve and at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.

After learning of their work, IMAS not only chose to host their exhibition — May 23 to October 18, 2020 — but also to encourage documenting the local biodiversity of the region through the Pollinators in Action project.

The project consisted of a call to the public to submit their photographs of bees and butterflies from the region; and to allow the community to vote on the top 20 images that IMAS printed and curated, highlighted below. These 20 images will be on exhibit on site at the IMAS from July 18 through September 27, 2020. Welcome to the online exhibition including all 45 entries. The International Museum of Art & Science is grateful for the tremendous response for this exhibition and commend all photographers for their time and talent, highlighting the beauty of our local pollinators.

Top 20 Winners

Virginia Mann. 10/15/2015. McAllen, TX. The Red Bordered Pixie is the city of McAllen's official butterfly and to see these elusive beauties in the wild feeding on native plants is a real treat! They are easily recognizable by their bright red spots bordering their wings. This photo was taken at Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center. A breath-taking find!
Ernesto Herrera. 12/6/2018. McAllen, TX. I had recently started looking at small insects and stumbled upon these two bees on a dry flower and it was like they were posing. They gave me time to really hone my skills in macro photography while they just looked at the camera. Definitely some of the best subjects I have ever shot.
Hal Wallace. 10/19/2019. Butterfly Center, Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, Edinburg TX. With camera in hand since childhood, I only became interested in photography as a creative expression after 55, and didn't exhibit until 65. I have always enjoyed the small things that folks normally pass by, and am pleased to submit this little creature on the occasion of my 80th birthday.
Jose Salazar. 7/26/2019. Edinburg, TX. Guava Skipper and bee. Photo taken in our backyard.
Oscar Cepeda. 3/22/2020. Pharr, TX. I was eating and watching outside when I saw the bees, I didn't think twice to get my camera. I love nature.
Christy Sanchez. 11/2/2019. Mission, TX. Taken at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, TX. Perfect timing to capture a landing.
Juan Manuel Flores Jr. 4/30/2018. National Butterfly Center Mission, TX. I am a U.S. Army Retiree and combat veteran, I enjoy photography as a hobby. The photo was taken on my first visit to the National Butterfly Center. 
Rick Rodriguez. 6/18/2020. Edinburg, TX. White Peacock Butterfly enjoying some milkweed flowers early morning.
Marie Montalvo. 6/14/2020. Santa Clara Ranch Rio Grande City, TX. I teach Science and at age 65 I have no plans to retire. Teaching Science is the most important job I have ever had ( was a therapist 20 years before this). It is important in this age of Global Warming to teach children about conservation and protecting what we have. This picture of the bees with a Lark Sparrow sharing the watering hole tells a very important story. Bees need water as well. Doing something as simple as providing a shallow dish with marbles, and water will provide a safe way for bees to drink water. We all know that without pollinators we will not have food.
Marlowe Muñoz. 6/20/2020. Mission, TX. If you plant it they will come.
George Villarreal. 5/12/2019. Mcallen, TX. Got this shot while doing some backyard macro of some sunflowers growing on the side of the house, when this little guy came in for a photo op.
Trish Motheral. 3/24/2014. Mission, TX. I purchased a macro lens and decided to practice photographing the RGV flowers and enjoy the beautiful weather. It was a great day!
Reina Razo. 11/7/2019. Alamo, TX. I looked through the school window and saw many butterflies. I went outside to observe them for a few minutes and tried to capture their beauty.
Eryn Reddell Wingert. 6/19/2020. McAllen, TX. The fox tail palm in our backyard in McAllen periodically produces a bundle of blooms. I enjoy sitting on a little bench under this tree watching the bees at work.
Michael Jackson. 4/5/2020. Puerto Rico, TX. Bee on the Organ Pipe Cactus flower at El Mesteño Ranch in the South Texas Sand sheet eco-region of the Rio Grande Valley.
Billy Guerra. 5/31/2020. Falcon, TX. Monarch butterfly on my Greg's Mist flower. They come visit in the spring and again in October.
Bob Simpson. 10/21/2012. San Manuel, TX. The image was edited using Photoshop to create the watercolor effect.
Lisa Margo. 5/8/2020. Rio Grande City, TX. Our family loves spending time in nature. It is not only good for physical and mental health, but it also poses numerous opportunities to learn about animals, plants, ecosystems, and habitat conservation. When we cannot be hiking and camping, we enjoy watching wildlife around our home. We added butterfly gardens, native nectar and host plants, and water features all around our property. Butterfly colors, patterns and fluttering dances are remarkable and relaxing to watch. I captured this photo of a Monarch nectaring on some Gregg's Mistflower in one of our butterfly gardens. We have been teaching our kids that not only are butterflies an exquisite work of nature's art, but they also are an important part of our local ecosystem. They help pollinate flowers, eat weedy plants, and provide a food source for other animals. Wildlife protection starts at home, and our family has made changes to help protect and support the environment and our local habitat. We recycle, use solar energy, landscape with native species, harvest rainwater, compost, and provide shelter, seed, and plants for native birds and butterflies. Although habitat destruction continues worldwide, we hope that one day a balance can be found between what humans, animals, and plants need.
Lorena Balquinta. 6/15/2020. Mission, TX. This photograph of a Monarch butterfly was taken at the Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Monarchs are a great influence amongst the valley people due to its heavy migration season. What better butterfly to represent the valley than the Monarch. When i was a child i would wonder endlessly in my backyard chasing after these butterflies hoping i could catch one in my hands. It has always been a significant childhood memory of mine, so every time i see a butterfly i remember the fond memories of my random adventures.
Caleb Camacho. 4/14/2020. Mission, TX. I took this shot in early Spring, just off the footpath at the Mission Hike & Bike Trails, where buzzing bees and plentiful birdsong are the only sound.

All Participants

The following photographs include all online entries for Pollinators in Action: RGV Community Photographs.

Al Diaz. 2/10/2020. Mcallen, Mission, South Pardre Island. Hi, My name is Al Diaz. I'm an aspiring photographer who is based in our great City of McAllen, Texas. I was born and raised here all of my life. I graduated from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas in 1984. I obtained a degree in Physical Education and a minor in Communications. I am a self-taught photographer for the last 38 years who has a sincere passion for anything that is photographic such as nature, wildlife, beautiful colors, and people. I love to photograph on location in the Rio Grande Valley. I feel that the nature that surrounds me in this environment inspires a passion in my photography. My vision is to bring the photographs I take to look like a life-like canvas that can be preserved for a lifetime. The more time I spend in nature, the more I strive to capture images in detail , contrast, with great texture and light. This infectious hobby hopefully will inspire my son to look at the Rio Grande Valley through my eyes. I hope that my photographs will also inspire future generations to stop and appreciate all of the beautiful surroundings in our backyard. I will never stop to enhance my photographic skills, and work with new and experimental equipment, new techniques in editing, and innovative lighting so that I can take a better picture than the one before and continue to tell a beautiful story.
Amy Escalante. 10/27/2018. Pharr, TX. This was taken at PSJA T-STEM. In an effort to help butterflies during their migration season, students and staff created a butterfly garden that is filled with butterflies in the fall and other pollinators in the spring.
Ann Fortescue. 6/16/2020. McAllen, TX. The light purple flowers on this shrub outside my front door attracts pollinators, especially these small tawny-colored moths.
April Guajardo. 8/11/2017. McAllen, TX. Vesta Crescent in Action found inside our McAllen Nature Center. Bright Orange and Black, my photo captures this Vesta Crescent flapping it's wings around 20 times per second. His moment to shine is now! Still, yet in motion.
Armando Arechiga. 5/31/2020. McAllen, TX. Ligated Furrow Bee - Halictus ligatus The quarantine turned our view inward, into our own urban landscape. This volunteer sunflower drew an abundance of life into my backyard. Daily, I saw moths, butterflies, bees, warblers, sparrows, and anoles to name a few. So what if I let the vegetable garden go fallow. In its place, this sunflower provided an entirely different source of nourishment.
Ashley Castillo. 3/3/2016. Donna, TX. I took this photo when I was outside at my house and I was admiring the bluebonnets that were in full bloom by our front door. I heard the buzzing of so many bees busy doing work and after a while I decided to snap a photo of one of them. I loved how the bee stood out with its prominent colors and the way the blue bonnets looked as its background.
Dayna Austin. 6/18/2020. McAllen, TX. While walking through Quinta Mazatlan early in the morning, I came upon a pathway strewn with Night-blooming cereus opened wide to emit a scent and invite pollinators to a gourmet feast. This little bee was laden with pollen. I couldn't help but wonder how he could fly with so much weight. He wasn't the only one enjoying nature's bounty. His friends were vying for good landing spots on pollen laden runways. They had to hurry before the plant closed operations for mid-morning. As the old saying goes, they were busy as bees!
Ela Newman. 10/16/2016. Rancho Viejo. The butterfly landed on my son's finger.
Hector Guerra. 5/12/2020. Hector’s farm near McCook, TX. Hector took his daughter and granddaughter to see the sunflowers growing on the farm and captured these pictures during the visit
Horacio Fernandez. 11/4/2016. Edinburg, TX. Out walking you see butterflies just have to record them.
Isabella Landeros. 12/1/2018. McAllen, TX. Although I had seen Monarch butterflies many times before this day, this was the first time I successfully photographed one. I was so proud to get a clear photo of a monarch butterfly. From then on, I tried to spend more time outside and around butterflies. I also began to educate myself more about native plants and butterfly gardens. My research and this photo motivated me to start my own garden in my backyard.
Ismael Deleon. 7/13/2019. Edinburg, TX. Found this little guy visiting the garden. The upload is cropped to focus on the insect. Original I took is available upon your request.
James McAllen. 1/15/2020. Linn, TX. This photo depicts Georgiana McAllen checking on her family bee box with her Dad at McAllen Ranch in January 2020. This photo shows an increase in honeycomb in our bee hive after supplementing the their food with sugar water, which was part of a 1st place-winning science fair project by James McAllen in the category of 5th grade biology. Photo by Katherine McAllen
Jennifer Perez. 6/23/2020. Monte Alto, TX. Here is a picture of a Black Witch Moth. You cannot miss these guys since they are fairly large in size and not your average size moth. In fact, they are the largest moth north of Mexico with a wingspan of 7 inches. Moths also play a huge role in pollinating and are in the same insect family as butterflies! Fun fact to tell apart a moth from a butterfly is simply by their wings. The wings of a butterfly fold back versus the wings of a moth sit flat by their sides when at rest.
Jenny Mowers. 4/16/2017. Harlingen, TX. I was watching this bee fly in and out of this beautiful cactus flower, and I happened to catch him in a pose as if having a picnic on the flower nectar.
Jo Ann Mitchell. 6/1/2017. Hilltop Gardens Historical Home of Aloe, on 491 near Lyford, Hidalgo County, TX. I was photographing wildflowers and butterflies one morning at the Hilltop Gardens Historical Home of Aloe. As the day wore on, I noticed a Queen butterfly feeding on wild mist flowers. I was fortunate to be able to position myself where the camera and butterfly were in parallel planes.
John Saenz. 12/24/2016. South Padre Island, Texas. John Saenz is a PPA Certified Professional Photographer who currently lives in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). John has a passion for photographing birds & fauna and can often be found exploring the Valley's many beautiful sites. This image was taken early in his career (2016) during a bird outing on South Padre Island. While December is often considered a cold month, the RGV's winters offer sanctuary for a number of species including this Great Southern White Butterfly.
Karrie Navarro. 6/4/2020. Mission, TX. He was hanging out on my valley lemon tree it's a red bordered pixie.
Maria Pickens. 3/28/2020. Edinburg Municipal Park. It was taken in the trail of blooming cactus while I enjoy the color of the flowers and see this bee feeding with the flower pollen.
Mujtaba Naqvi. 1/19/2017. Mission, TX. My father would feed the ants of the neighborhood by leaving trails of sugar and flour for them. My mother encouraged me to look down while I walked, lest I step on unsuspecting creatures. Today, I cannot leave their lessons behind. Karachi, Pakistan is an urban port city that's home to millions of people. It was my home until August 2004, when I moved from the fifth most populous city proper in the world to deep South Texas. In October of 2004, I volunteered for the City of Mission's Texas Butterfly Festival a week-long event that attracted people from throughout North America. Birders and butterfliers, photographers and scientists descended upon the then tiny Texas town. It was the first time I saw people, armed with binoculars and cameras, travel for countless miles, in search of species they had not yet seen. Having come from an overpopulated place with high levels of indifference to even human suffering, it was a stunning revelation to see people invest so much time, money, and compassion for the smallest, seemingly insignificant creatures. I've now lived in the Rio Grande Valley for nearly a decade and a half, and have spent much of that time learning about the unique biodiversity of the region. I have been working on Species at Stake since 2016, and have taken digital photographs of thousands of species throughout South Texas in an attempt to document the countless creatures that are currently in danger due to human actions. This photo of a White Peacock was taken at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.
Nelly Rodriguez. 12/2/2018. McAllen, TX. My mother enjoys gardening quite a bit and she has all sort of variations of hibiscus. I was in her backyard admiring the flowers when I took this photo. What caught my eye was the yellow jumping back and forth between the flowers. I did not realize it was a butterfly until I saw it wedge itself between this flower.
Nikole Salazar. 6/14/2020. Raymondville, TX. While walking my dogs at my parents house, I was looking at the flowers in my dad's garden. He is always working hard to water each plant and flower. With the Texas heat, it is a challenge to keep all his plants from wilting. He especially wanted the flowers to attract pollinators. Obviously, it is working! I saw a little bee hovering over some of his sunflowers and decided it would be a good idea to get a quick picture because of how great it looked doing its job!
Ralph Stevenson. 6/19/2020. Llano, Texas. My cactus bloomed for one day. I went to take a picture of it and noticed movement inside. It was a bee gathering pollen. That’s when I began filming. Ralph Stevenson
Tanya Gomeza. 6/25/2020. McAllen, TX. I took a nice walk through Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center in Mcallen, TX trying to seek out pollinators. The butterflies danced all over the place and the bees were busy buzzing. I was determined to get some photography of these delicate fluttering insects. I captured this beautiful photo of a Monarch butterfly peacefully resting while doing its pollinating work. After chasing butterflies around camera in hand in the hot Texas thorn bushes, I'm very pleased to present this photo.
Timmy Mowers. 7/15/2019. Harlingen, TX. I caught this small butterfly feeding on the nectar of the flowers in my garden.

Pollinators in Action: RGV Community Photographs

All artwork featured in this exhibition belong to the artists. Unless otherwise stated, Copyright of the artwork is the exclusive property of the artist. No reproductions may be made from this website for commercial use for any reason without written permission from the Copyright owner.