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The Migration of the Monarch Butterflies

Back row, left to right: Mauricio Garcia, Ivan Teran, Angel Salvador and Adela Pineda. Front row, left to right: Yahaira Garcia, Alexis Aguilar and Carolina Santiago.

Laura Epting’s second grade ESL class is expanding their curriculum on animal life cycles to incorporate the magical migration of the Monarch butterfly. Each year, millions of Monarchs travel thousands of miles from Canada and the United States to spend the winter in the Oyamel forest of Michoacan, Mexico. They arrive in Mexico on November 1st. For some Monarch butterflies, this migration is as much as 2,500 miles or 4,000 kilometers.

Epting’s second grade students are participating in a program called “Symbolic Migration 2011-2012” sponsored by Journey North. Over 60,000 students in the United States and Canada create symbolic butterflies and send them to Mexico for the winter. Children in Mexico who live beside the monarch's winter sanctuary protect the butterflies and send them north in the spring. Through the Symbolic Migration, children across Canada and North America become ambassadors as they are united by the monarch butterfly and celebrate its spectacular migration.

Throughout the school year, Epting’s students will track the migration of the monarch, become experts in the identification of it versus other similar butterflies and compare their lives in Monroe, NC to the lives of the children who live near the butterfly sanctuary in Michoacan. Each of the two classes created their own unique butterfly which represents life at East Elementary School and in the United States. They have investigated the life cycle and habits of the Monarch Butterfly and look forward to tracking this amazing migration, learning about life near the butterfly sanctuary and receiving an ambassador butterfly in the spring from another school in the United States or Canada!

Written by: Laura Epting, ESL Teacher
Posted: Oct 26, 2011 by Lisa Bush

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