CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Students at Tomahawk Creek Middle School are learning more about Hispanic culture, thanks to an endangered butterfly.
Teacher Nicole Roland and her students harvested Monarch butterfly eggs from local butterflies at the end of August and fed them native milkweed found in our local environment over the past month.
"In my Life Sciences class we learn about species, about environmental conservation, environmental stewardship," Roland said.
But at Tomahawk Creek Middle, the lessons go international.
"We're learning about how these butterflies correlate to the Day of the Dead and they arrive in Mexico just in time," student Mabel Cassada said.
The endangered Monarchs migrate from as far away as Canada down to Mexico every winter.
The students hatch and then release them.
The tagged butterflies are monitored by monarchwatch.org.
"The people in the (Mexico) area have always seen this," Roland said. "It's become a symbol of the lost souls. There are family members who've passed on. Dios de las Muertos in Hispanic heritage is a celebration. A way of connecting with your ancestors."
"One thing I love about our school is that we can all appreciate the diversity of different cultures," Cassada said, “but at the same time we can implement different ways to learn about it."
The lessons flutter from butterflies to lessons on Hispanic dance, art, and food.
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