Young biologists released their beloved classroom monarchs into the wild Thursday, helping revive the dwindling butterfly population.
At Eugene Field Elementary in Rock Island, students harvested the monarch eggs from several milkweed plants in front of the school. They raised the insects from caterpillar to chrysalis, eventually watching the full-grown butterflies emerge.
"It's been really fun to seem them turn, because it teaches us responsibility, and it's just a great way to help caterpillars and butterflies around the world," said sixth grade student Michael Brummit.
The students named their monarchs Emma, Karen, Ginger Ale and Mr. Root Beer Float.
On Thursday, September 15, 2016, the sixth grade 'butterfly biologists' released the four butterflies into the wild, wishing them good luck along the way.
"They're just so beautiful to look at, and they help pollinate other flowers like bees do," said Brummit.
The monarchs will now head south to Mexico.