UNION, NJ – Monarch butterflies, raised by Washington School second grade teacher Mrs. Ferretti, were released into the world early this week.  The butterflies’ intended destination for the winter is Mexico.  With their classmates watching, the students cheered, “Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go to Mexico!” as the butterflies flew off.

Raising monarch butterflies became a passion for Mrs. Ferretti after she attended a workshop with some colleagues about ten years ago and learned that the Monarch is very close to becoming endangered.  Ferretti planted milkweed at her home and became a certified “Monarch Waystation”, allowing her to have plants for the monarchs to lay eggs on and flowers for them to nectar on. 

“The kids thought it was, ‘Great, the butterflies are going to fly to Mexico’”, said Ferretti.  “They were all very excited to see the release. This week on Monday we released our final four beauties that will be joining their friends.”

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Most of the monarchs will migrate to Mexico beginning in mid-November where they will settle in the oyamel fir tree forests which are located in the eastern perimeter of Michoacan.  They will remain there for most of the winter and in mid-February they will begin their travels north.

Each butterfly was tagged with a special code, sighting the butterflies back to their class. If one of the butterflies makes its way to Mexico and is located, the students will be notified.  All of the recoveries are viewable online.  Scientists are able to analyze the recovery data to help hypotheses monarch orientation and navigation.