Milwaukee Spanish Immersion School's monarch butterfly release celebrates cultural unity

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Students and staff at Milwaukee Spanish Immersion School celebrated the culmination of a years-long project focusing on the monarch butterfly and its unique status as a symbol of journey, growth and cross-cultural unity.

"We started the monarch project as a way to connect our upper and our lower campus through the theme of migration," Tracy Matel, the school's art specialist said.

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, students read a poem, released four monarch butterflies and ran around the school as part of the project.

The project included learning about the butterfly's lifecycle, its impact on the environment and how it connects multiple countries and cultures in North America.

MSIS communicated with a sister school in Mexico. The school also connected with Monarch Ultra Relay runners in Canada -- a race that celebrates the monarch's migration between the three countries. Students will also run their own 'mini-ultra' over the course of several days.

"We're hoping to reach our goal of 1,767 miles," Matel said. "Which is the distance that the monarch butterfly flies from Spanish immersion school to their over-winter home in Mexico."

Students said the project was a fun way to tie in cultures, language, conservation and science into their learning.

"It's really amazing to see how they've grown up and see how we can help the environment with just raising butterflies," student Martha Valetyn Gones said.

"It's really cool that they're such small creatures but they go so far," fifth grader Isabel Lebas told CBS 58.

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