National Butterfly Center in Texas Shuts Down Due to Perceived Threats Ahead of 'We Stand America' Event


Executive Director Marianna Trevino Wright said it was the right decision for the safety of her staff and visitors.

The National Butterfly Center (NBC), located in Texas, is closing for three days in light of a “We Stand America” event that is taking place 20 minutes from the property. NBC’s executive director, Marianna Trevino Wright, said the decision was made after she and her son were confronted by people connected to the group on Friday.

Trevino Wright told Inside Edition Digital that last Friday, Jan 21, two women showed up on the Mission, Texas, property asking to be let in without paying admission. 

“In their words, they wanted to see the illegals crossing on rafts,” Trevino Wright said. “That has never happened here in the ten years I have been executive director. We have cameras all over the property.”

NBC, which is a non-profit dedicated to the conservation of butterflies, is located on the Rio Grande River and a half mile from the U.S-Mexico border.

It has become a target of the fight for the border wall because of its refusal to make room for it on the property. So when the center was informed that several Trump supporting groups, including Women Fighting for America, Veterans for America First, and Latinos for Trump, were organizing a rally in McAllen, Texas, this weekend, Trevino Wright said she doesn’t want to put her staff or guests at risk.

The center decided to close Friday Jan. 28 – Jan. 30. In an email, their reasoning was explained:

“We are writing to let you know the National Butterfly Center will be closed Friday, Jan. 28 - Sunday, Jan. 30, due to credible threats we have received from a former state official, regarding activities planned by the ‘We Stand America’ event this weekend.”

Trevino Wright told Inside Edition Digital that the former official personally told her that the center was likely a target and “that they needed to be armed at all times or out of town.”

Trevino Wright also said she reported the threat to police. She also said she reported the two women who showed up to the property to police. Trevino Wright claims one of the women tried to run over her son, and in a recording shared with inside Edition, a physical altercation can be heard taking place. She also said she reported that incident to the Mission Police Department.

The Mission Police Department did not respond to Inside Edition Digital’s request for comment. 

On the event’s webpage, it says that the conference will focus on “border law enforcement and the direct connection to election integrity from a Biblical worldview." What they called a “rolling car protest on the border” is set to take place on Sunday.

In 2020, a court ruled that building the wall on the 100-acre property would violate the center’s property rights. Since then, fake images have been shared online, claiming that the center has a dock for illegal immigrants to come into the country. The image has been doctored. 

Trevino Wright said due to all of this, she’s not willing to keep the center open during this time. 

“This is the same sort of inflammatory activity and rhetoric that ultimately resulted in the Walmart massacre and it’s been organized by the same bad actors,” Trevino Wright said.  

In August 2019 a 21-year-old white gunman traveled 600 miles to target Hispanics in the border community Cielo Vista, Texas. He opened fire, killing 22 people and injuring 26 others. 

“It’s just not worth the safety of our visitors and our guests,” Trevino Wright added. 

The National Butterfly Center receives about 35,000 visitors per year, according to their pre-pandemic statistics. 

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