Butterfly Pavilion Welcomes New Butterfly & Moth Expert to its Ranks
Mary Ann Colley, VP of Science & Conservation at Butterfly Pavilion
We’re excited to announce that an exceptional Lepidopterist (butterfly and moth scientist) has joined the Butterfly Pavilion team! In July 2018, Butterfly Pavilion put its “feelers” out for an individual with the unique expertise required to ensure that the thousands of butterflies and moths in our tropical conservatory and our satellite locations are happy and healthy. We’re happy to say, we found her. Please welcome our new Lepidopterist, Kathryn Hokamp!
Kathryn comes to us from The Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Houston, Texas where she worked as the Butterfly Entomologist. Her work was primarily focused on butterfly longevity, nutrition and rearing, along with working with international and domestic butterfly suppliers – all experience that will be essential to her work here at Butterfly Pavilion.
She received her degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Rice University in Houston, Texas and researched Plant Pathology at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. While obtaining her degree, she took every advantage to study insects through internships in the field, working in bean beetle labs and also taking as many insect biology classes as possible.
Kathryn is the Western Hemisphere Membership Liaison for the International Association of Butterfly Exhibitors and Suppliers (IABES), an organization protecting wild butterflies and their habitats by promoting sustainable butterfly exhibits and supporting conservation, research, and public education. Last November, she attended an IABES conference in Kenya to see the sustainable butterfly breeding operations around the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, where local butterfly farmers breed and sell butterflies as a way to sustain their forest-adjacent communities without engaging in industries that could destroy the forest – logging, poaching, etc.
In addition, she single-handedly founded the Texas Butterfly Monitoring Network (TBMN) in January 2018. In its first year of monitoring, TBMN had outstanding participation with 30 sites and 50 volunteers. One particularly fascinating discovery made during the project was the number of plants and butterflies that volunteers observed on sites that were completely submerged under 10 to 30 feet of water from Hurricane Harvey – many of them were still thriving!
We are excited for Kathryn to continue important Butterfly Pavilion projects and programs. She will oversee the Colorado Butterfly Monitoring Network (CBMN), which started in 2013 and currently has 120 sites with 203 volunteers surveying Colorado butterfly populations. Kathryn will also manage our collaborative work with Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms through the Butterflies at Chatfield exhibit featuring native Colorado butterflies. This seasonal exhibit, which runs from Memorial Day weekend through September, began in 2014 and is home to hundreds of native butterflies such as swallowtails, monarchs, mourning cloaks, and painted ladies and hosts more than 50 native plant species in the garden.
Kathryn will also be joining our conservation work in Tov Aimag, Mongolia. In collaboration with Institute of General Experimental Biology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, we are working on a project to determine the conservation status of Parnassian butterfly species. There are currently at least four species of Parnassian butterflies in this region that have limited population data and are believed to be under threat. This work will help us define the conservation status for each species and from there create conservation plans to support their future populations.
Kathryn says that she is most looking forward to engaging in research and conservation projects. “I am very passionate about invertebrate conservation and education, and I am looking forward to all the opportunities I will have to learn, teach, and research at Butterfly Pavilion.”
Next time you visit Butterfly Pavilion keep your eyes peeled for Kathryn! To learn more about, and support, our research and conservation work in Colorado and around the world, visit butterflies.org.