By Verlie Edwards
Although we are still in the throes of Winter 2022 (North Texas recently survived a three-day ice/snow event in February 2022), I am looking forward to Spring. Just as a butterfly goes through a metamorphosis, I believe that we do something similar when we emerge from winter into spring. My excitement for the upcoming spring season was recently enhanced when I received an email from the Fort Worth Botanic Garden presenting its upcoming Butterflies in the Garden exhibit.
According to The Garden’s website, you will “marvel at a multitude of butterflies during Butterflies in the Garden, the largest exhibit of live, exotic butterflies in north-central Texas.” The exhibit opens February 25 and runs through April 10. I hope you and other Iron Butterflies will experience this unique opportunity. To learn more about the exhibit click here: Celebrate the Change.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden was established in 1934 and is one of the oldest major botanic gardens in Texas. It contains a collection of more than 2,500 species of plants throughout 25 specialty garden spaces. After visiting The Gardens, wander next door to the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) campus to learn more about botanical research through fascinating art galleries, libraries, plant collections and science-related exhibits. BRIT, an international scientific research and learning center, serves as a think tank and a catalyst in conservation.
Verlie McAlister Edwards was raised in Abilene, Texas and it’s there that she realized her love for writing. She enjoyed a special high school English teacher who happened to be the school’s newspaper sponsor. In order to take another class under her, Verlie signed up for journalism and the journey began. Unlike many students, she never changed her college major – she was always focused on journalism as a career. She graduated from the University of North Texas (UNT) with a degree in journalism and political science.
After graduation she returned to her hometown and worked as a reporter at the Abilene Reporter-News covering the local education scene from the students’ perspective. Following a year of graduate work at UNT she moved to Fort Worth where a career in public relations and political affairs flourished. She always wanted to work in academic PR and achieved that goal early in her career at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
After many years providing public relations consultation to the osteopathic profession and serving as the communications director/special events fundraiser for Lena Pope Home (a residential treatment facility for abused and neglected youth) she joined the staff of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors (GFWAR) as the communications and governmental affairs director. It’s here that she found her calling and further developed her skills in the political arena.
After 11 years in that position she took her writing, political and organizational skills to serve as chief of staff for Texas State Representative Rob Orr, a past president of the GFWAR. She remained on Rep. Orr’s staff throughout his 10 years as an elected official and then served as District Director for his successor, Representative DeWayne Burns, during his first legislative session. At that time she retired from the Texas Legislature and began working part-time as curator for U.S. Congressman Roger Williams’ personal museum.
Verlie is excited to use her writing skills to help the Iron Butterflies Project as both a writer/co-creator and Editor-In-Chief.