The Adventures of the Symbolic Monarchs in Mexico!
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Travel with Estela and Rocinate, her faithful red VW bug,
as they deliver your Symbolic Monarchs!

The students in the photos below live near Mexico's monarch butterfly sanctuaries. Estela has been visiting the schools that surround their home town of Angangueo since November. This photo gallery includes pictures from over 85 classrooms from more than 20 schools.

  • Step into these classrooms and take a peek as the kids receive your butterflies.
  • Use the search engine and you may be able to find where your own butterflies landed!
Rocinante the red VW.
“Vicente Guerrero" Elementary, La Hacienda Community, Angangueo, Michoacán
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Grades 1 and 2 Grades 3 and 4 Grade 5
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Grade 6 Our town of Angangueo started as a big hacienda in the late 17th-18th centuries. This community still keeps the name of the original village.
Vicente Guerrero School, Las Jaras Community, Michoacán
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Grades 1-6
This is a multigrade school. There is one teacher and only eight children.

One of the oldest girls in the class helps a girls from 1st grade write her letter. She is learning to spell. This girl is holding a monarch wing! Directly behind the girls is the Chincua Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. Monarchs are often seen flying over this school yard, coming and going from the nearby sanctuary.
Francisco I. Madero School, Nicolás Romero Community, Michoacán
Honoring our Mexican Flag, as it should be done every Monday in every single school in our country. fim_1011_2 fim_gr12_1127_1144
    Grades 1 and 2
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Grades 3 and 4 Grades 5 and 6  Playing "seek and hide" at break time.
Amado Nervo Elementary, Ocampo, Michoacán
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Grade 4a Grade 4b Grade 3

Lunch Time!

Buying a typical Mexican dish, prepared and sold by mothers of children at school (left).

Buying a drink from child to child (right).

Grade 4a Grade 4b Grade 3
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Grade 3b Grade 5a A running competition during the sports class.
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Grade 5b Grade 6a Grade 6b
11 de Julio Elementary, La Rosa de Palo Amarillo Community, México.
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Morning exercising.

Grades 1 and 2 Grades 3 and 4
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Grades 5 and 6

Typical dress for Michoacan
The two children in the middle (brothers) are dressing in the typical everyday-way of this region with hats, leather belts, boots, and jeans.

Girls proudly showing their long, braided hair to you.
Benito Juárez Kindergarten and Emiliano Zapata School, San Jerónimo Pilitas Community, Michoacán
bjk_sjp_1098_1103 About Kindergarten in Mexico
It is mandatory that all children in México start kindergarten at three years old (or maximum four years old) and have a minimum two years of kindergarten. So, all kindergartens have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd "grades." After this, children officially step onto elementary school, at six years old. Elementary schools takes the following 6 years.
Benito Juárez Kindergarten Emiliano Zapata School, All grades

Rocinante, never before so far away to a school in the forest, proud to take the Canadian, Mexican and US flags everywhere. This school located in the middle of a dense forest, several kilometers away from the Chincua Sanctuary, visited by Journey North for the first time.

Emiliano Zapata Elementary, Pancho Maya Community, Michoacán

Grades 1-6 all attend class in a single one room school. Children were really delighted to get their letter and butterflies and to send theirs back.

This school is named for Emiliano Zapata who was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910.

Pedro Ascencio School, Garatachea Community, México
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Grades 1-6 Students of all ages are in the same classroom. Sharing a picture of the class whose butterfly he received.
José Palomares Quiroz School, La Rondanilla Community, Michoacán
jpq_gr12_1300_1324 jpq_gr3456_1325_1344 This multi-grade school visited for the first time by Journey North.
Grades 1 and 2 Grades 3, 4, 5 and 6
Miguel Hildalgo School, La Rondanilla Community, Michoacán
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Grade 1 Grade 2 Grades 3 and 4


Grades 5 and 6

This school was named for Miguel Hidalgo, a Mexican priest and a leader of the Mexican War of Independence (1810–1821). He is called the "Father of the Nation."

Vasco de Quiroga Elementary, La Mesa de los Alzati Community, Aporo, Michoacán
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Grade 1 Sharing the letters and butterflies received by Canadian and USA children. Grade 2
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Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
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Grade 6 Lunch time. Seldom children at a school are allowed to bring toys at this level.
vdq_1011_3 This indigenous community is belonging to Otomí civilization, the main and only one in our region. Unfortunately, only the children's grandparents are now able to speak the Otomí dialect fluently. As grandchildren, the students understand it partially but only speak a few words.
Vicente Guerrero Elementary, Cevati Community, México
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Grades 1-6

The official photo of the group receiving their symbolic butterflies and holding the flags of the three participating countries. Rocinante, very proud behind them.

At my arrival, children ran to the box I was carrying trying to guess what I was bringing for them. Meanwhile, my heart shrank and my body shook thinking they could mix up the butterflies placed in numerical order. The youngest child in the class paused for moments while being helped to write his letter, to play with his new toy car
A Multigrade School where children attend classes in the same classroom and with the same teacher. The school is located at the entrance of a forest behind the Chincua Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. vg_cc_1011_3 Sometimes, Rocinante gives a ride to children on the way back home after school time. They shake good bye to me and Rocinante.
Ignacio López Rayón Elementary, Rancho Escondido, Ocampo, Michoacán
ilr_1011_gr1_gr4_786_814 ilr_1011_gr2_755_785 This school is located at one of the highest points of El Rosario región, and only a few kilometers from the monarch sanctuary by that name.
Grade 1 Grade 2
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Older students volunteer to support little ones to write their letters, and really enjoy it.
At the lunch room in school, where children get very nutritious lunch by their own mothers who run it. ilr_1011_1


Grade 3

Educación y Patria Elementary, Nicolás Romero Community, Michoacán
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Grades 1 and 2 Grades 3 and 4 Grades 5 and 6
eyp_1011_1Estela invited to have lunch at the lunchroom at school. Very nutritious. eyp_1011_2

Of all schools visited, this is the only school where children at the two highest grades have each have a computer, donated by a Mexican private firm fund.

"Educación y Patria" means "Education and Homeland."

Lázaro Cárdenas School, La Salud Community, Angangueo, Michoacán

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Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4
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Grade 5 At schools where there is no dining room, children buy some snacks or fruit for lunch. This school is located on the way to El Rosario Sanctuary. I passed these children on their walk home.
lc_1011_3 Courageous Rocinante has here done almost half the trips and the job and has responded exemplary, in spite of his age and numerous hip-leg prothesis. rocinante_1011

Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon Elementary, Angangueo, Michoacán

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Grade 3 Grade 5

Grade 6

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Children made a spontaneous clapping at the end of the visit to the group (not easy to get, since most of our children are too shy to expontaneously do so).

Lunch Time
A dish of delicious tacos with some refreshing
chopped fruit of piña and papaya.
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A ¨Trompo¨ match/game played and specially performed for all US and Canadian children to see in this picture.
Adolfo López Mateos Primary, Cerro Prieto Community, Ocampo, Michoacán
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Getting a spontaneous crowd around me is just indescribable!

Children show one another the letters they received from their new friends in Canada and the United States.

Grade 1
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Grades 2 and 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
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Grade 6

This mule is loaded with firewood which the family will use for cooking. Think about the fact that we do not have heating systems at home or our schools. We are not used to heat, so we do not think we need it!

Mother and daughter walking home from the mill, carrying corn flour for making tortillas.
Niños Héroes Elementary, La Rosa de Palo Amarillo Community, México.
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Grade 2

Grades 3-4

Grade 6

This school is named after the Niños Héroes ("Boy Heroes"), six teenage solders who died in Mexico City while defending Mexico from invading U.S. forces in 1847. This is the 2nd year Journey North has visited this school in Michoacan's bordering state of Mexico. The state of Mexico has studying resources, facilities, and teachers that are much better than those in Michoacan. These were the only grades present. The rest of the grades were absent that day. In general, in all schools, that is the reason we do not include them.