Tuesday, March 19, 2024
  Community, Around Campus

By Regina Perez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – MARCH 19, 2024 – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Brownsville Campus was recently abuzz with activity during the annual Pollinator Day celebration.

As a Bee Campus USA-designated institution, UTRGV is committed to supporting pollinator habitats through projects such as the UTRGV Pollinator Cantina Garden, where the celebration took place.  

The event, organized by the UTRGV Office for Sustainability (OFS) on March 6, invited the university community and external partners to share their contributions to pollinator conservation through a program of presentations and a tabling setting.  

Marianella Franklin with City of Brownsville representatives
The day’s activities featured a proclamation delivered by Commissioner Bryan Martinez from the City of Brownsville. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

Sara Black, Bee Campus USA committee member and faculty at the School of Integrated Biological and Chemical Sciences, said she always informs her students about the pivotal role pollinators play in the environment. 

 “We live in an incredibly robust agricultural place, where a lot of what we harvest cannot reproduce without a pollinator, meaning they are essential for keeping our economy going,” she said. 

Black said Pollinator Day helps foster connections and collaboration between UTRGV and the Rio Grande Valley community.  

Dr. Elaine Hernandez
Dr. Elaine Hernandez held a a captivating reading/performance from her children’s book titled “Her Butterfly Effect.” (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

The event received a distinguished mark of honor with an official proclamation by the City of Brownsville, for its support of pollinator conservation. 

Speakers and activities included Dr. Elaine M. Hernández, author, read from her book Her Butterfly Effect: When the Evergreens Blossomed Orange” while the UTRGV Theater Green Captains performed from their show “Somewhere: A Primer for the End of Days,” a play on climate change featuring butterfly characters.  

Attendees had the opportunity to engage with community partners who shared information on various topics such as health, wellness, food security and environmental conservation. Educational materials such as guides on Rio Grande Valley native plants and how to grow pollinator-friendly gardens were also distributed.

Jana Silva, a UTRGV psychology student, enjoyed the festivities and learned about various community groups that were previously unknown to her.

UTRGV Theatre group
The UTRGV Theatre group performed a compelling scene from the play 'End of Days.’ (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

“I learned that there are a lot of communities around me that I was unaware of, especially the Native Plant Society of Texas,” she said. “I am glad I did because I am interested in nature and learning how to get involved with these community organizations.”  

To learn more about the 2024 Pollinator Day at UTRGV, visit the OFS website or follow its social media channels.  


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.