About NABA

The North American Butterfly Association is a transnational wildlife conservation nonprofit working to create a world where butterflies thrive, for the benefit of nature and people.

Founded by passionate butterfliers in 1992, and run by volunteers as a labor of love through its first 30 years, the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) has proven to be the most strategic and effective organization on the continent at conserving these crucial pollinators. NABA achieves its impact through increasing butterfly habitat, protecting imperiled butterflies, monitoring butterfly populations, and running the National Butterfly Center preserve.

Who We Are

NABA is a nonprofit membership organization with 23 chapters organizing across 14 states, engaging thousands of members and volunteers in butterfly conservation.

NABA is changing the way people value and experience butterflies, shifting the paradigm from butterfly collectors with nets to butterfliers with binoculars, cameras, backyard gardens and family fun. In this way we truly promote wildlife conservation, encouraging people to enjoy live, wild butterflies in nature.

Our Mission

Butterflies are wildlife crucial to our ecosystem. Our mission is to create a world where butterflies thrive, for the benefit of nature and people.

Our Vision

NABA is dedicated to the conservation of wild butterflies and their habitats.

Butterflies are wildlife, and should be valued and protected as such. As pollinators they are critical to our shared environment, and as indicator species they give us early warning of environmental peril.

Butterflies are also wondrous and magical in a way that singularly captures our imaginations and connects people with nature and each other.

NABA envisions a future where wild butterflies thrive in healthy habitats, none are threatened or endangered, and all people can enjoy observing them in nature.

  • Counter habitat destruction with habitat construction!
  • Acquire land to create butterfly habitat; partner with public and private entities to restore imperiled landscapes.
  • Certify thousands of Butterfly Gardens across the continent, from people’s backyards to schools, libraries, city parks, houses of worship, and corporate campuses.
  • NABA’s Butterfly Monitoring Program conducts citizen scientist-led butterfly counts across the North American continent.
  • NABA has amassed the largest database of butterfly sightings and population abundances in the world.
  • This data is used by researchers to study population trends and butterfly biology.
  • NABA publishes two quarterly magazines, American Butterflies and Butterfly Gardener, providing in-depth information on all things butterflies and butterfly gardening.
  • NABA publishes an annual counts report detailing the geographical distribution and population size of species identified during NABA Butterfly Counts.
  • The NABA Names Committee of top butterfly taxonomists publishes the Checklist of North American Butterflies, which helps butterfliers keep track of their species sightings.
  • NABA is a membership organization comprised of a community of butterfly enthusiasts dedicated to saving butterflies by creating and restoring habitat, monitoring populations and educating their communities.
  • NABA’s 23 chapters in 14 states convene regular member meetings, field trips, butterfly monitoring counts and educational events to engage community members.
  • The NABA community strives to inspire and build a powerful butterfly movement that will secure the future of wild butterflies in nature across North America.

Our Values

Together we can accomplish anything.

As wildlife conservationists, the NABA community is:

  • changing the way people value butterflies: butterflies are wildlife, pollinators critical to our ecosystem, and among the most unique and extraordinary creatures on earth.
  • changing the way people interact with butterflies: we are shifting the paradigm from collectors with nets, capturing and killing butterflies, to enthusiasts with cameras and binoculars, capturing beautiful images of live butterflies in nature.
  • building and restoring butterfly habitats, monitoring populations, creating community to save butterflies, and ourselves.

Respect Nature:

Oppose habitat destruction with habitat construction. Strive to reverse damage to our environment and restore the natural world.


Biodiversity is key to healthy ecosystems, and diversity of background, identity experience and opinion is key to strengthening the butterfly conservation movement. NABA is committed to welcoming all people to save butterflies, and ourselves.


Empowering butterfliers to be leaders in their communities and own local efforts in butterfly conservation is how we accomplish our overall mission.

Value Life:

As wildlife conservationists, we do not net, collect, capture, pin or kill butterflies; we thrill at observing live butterflies in the wild, capturing them only in photographs.


It’s not enough to enjoy butterflies, it’s our responsibility to save them. We emphasize achieving results and tangible accomplishments in pursuing our mission.

What We Do


NABA conserves and increases butterfly populations by expanding butterfly habitat through land acquisition, partnerships, advocacy and legal action, and thousands of backyard butterfly gardens.

Land Acquisition

  • The National Butterfly Center (NBC) in Mission, TX, is a 100 acre former onion field that NABA transformed into an exceptional nature conservation center that is home to a native plant botanical garden with almost 300 species of birds, 60 species of dragonflies, 130 species of reptiles and 242 species of butterflies. NBC hosts the annual Texas Butterfly Festival and events throughout the year which educate the public, especially engaging kids, about the importance of butterfly conservation.
  • The Pixie Preserve, also in the Rio Grande Valley in nearby Hidalgo County, is a 354 acre expanse that NABA recently acquired that is in need of cleanup and rehabilitation in order to be developed into pollinator habitat.
  • Land acquisition is a strategy that NABA believes can help to combat habitat destruction, the biggest threat to butterflies, with meaningful habitat construction. Therefore NABA is always on the lookout for donations of land that can be rehabilitated into butterfly habitat.

Partnerships, Advocacy and Legal Action

  • NABA is the only NGO member of the Florida Imperiled Butterfly Working Group and the South Florida Endangered Species Working Group, and successfully petitioned the State of Florida and the USFWS to declare Miami Blues an endangered species.
  • NABA launched the Florida Butterfly Movement, involving a broad array of public and private partners, including Miami-Dade County, in a pollinator habitat restoration project near Everglades National Park. Endangered Pine Rockland habitat is being re-established for butterflies and other imperiled flora and fauna.
  • The last known viable colony of Regal Fritillaries east of the Mississippi River was saved when NABA convinced the U.S. Army not to implement a plan that would have destroyed its habitat.
  • NABA was a founding member of the original steering committee of the Monarch Joint Venture, a governmental NGO partnership formed to conserve the spectacular migrations of Monarchs in North America.

Butterfly Garden Certification Program

  • Backyard by backyard, at elementary schools and universities, from libraries to city parks, and small businesses to corporate campuses, thousands of citizen volunteers are creating butterfly habitat in their communities.
  • NABA has certified more than ten thousand Butterfly Gardens, ensuring these new butterfly habitats contain local native plants that will support area butterflies.

What We Do

Public Engagement and Education

NABA strives to foster a constituency that cares deeply about butterflies and their survival, by informing and involving people across North America in butterfly conservation through our National Butterfly Center, our quarterly publications and our state-based volunteer chapters.

National Butterfly Center

  • NABA owns and operates the National Butterfly Center (NBC), a 100 acre conservation, education and research center in Mission, TX that is home to a native plant botanical garden with nearly 300 species of birds, 60 species of dragonflies, 130 species of reptiles and 246 species of butterflies. 
  • Thousands of school children visit annually to learn more about the plants and animals at the NBC, and about conservation and environmental issues.
  • The NBC hosts the annual Texas Butterfly Festival, which attracts thousands of people each year to the NBC and surrounding areas.
  • In nearby Hidalgo County, NABA acquired the 354 acre Pixie Preserve, and plans to transform it into an epicenter of diversity and pollinator habitat.


  • NABA publishes two outstanding quarterly magazines, American Butterflies and Butterfly Gardener, which teach readers how to find butterflies, how to identify them, how to photograph them, and how to create successful butterfly habitat.
  • Butterfly Count report is published annually and details the geographical distribution and population size of species identified during NABA Butterfly Counts 


  • NABA’s 23 chapters across 14 states convene regular member meetings, field trips, butterfly monitoring counts and educational events to engage and inform community members about the importance of butterfly conservation
  • NABA chapters are made up of members who are passionate and extremely knowledgeable about butterflies and related topics such as native plants, and are a great resource for community members interested in learning more about these topics and getting involved in protecting butterflies and their habitats.

What We Do


NABA is a science-based organization guided by objective facts and data and does not adhere to theories not borne out by the facts.

Butterfly Monitoring

  • The Butterfly Monitoring Program, including 4th of July Butterfly Counts, has amassed the largest database of butterfly occurrences and abundances in the world.
  • These data are increasingly used by scientists to study butterfly population trends and to answer questions about butterfly biology, and are relied upon in major scientific publications.


  • The NABA Names Committee, consisting of many of the top butterfly taxonomists in the world, evaluates new published data regarding butterfly taxonomy and, if warranted, makes changes to the Checklist of North American Butterflies, which is published by NABA.

The Future of NABA is in Your Hands

Butterflies have never been more imperiled, due to ongoing habitat destruction and a rapidly changing climate, and bold action is needed now to protect them. Your support will help NABA save butterflies through our many programs and projects.