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Release Of Monarch Butterflies Highlights Philly's New Designation As Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership City

By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Students from the Pennrose Elementary School gave nature a little lift with the release of Monarch butterflies to celebrate grants for more environmental activities in the vicinity of the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge.

The students listened attentively as wildlife educators instructed them to carefully hold and tag their Monarch butterflies.

At the signal, they released the Monarchs, some of which they learned could migrate all the way to Mexico.

Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, came here to Pennrose to announce the designation of Philadelphia as an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partner City and the release of some $200,000 in grants. He says the William Penn Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are big contributors. Among the programs, Ashe says Philadelphians will be most excited about is one at the nearby Heinz Refuge along the Delaware River.

"Providing opportunities for kayaking and canoeing in the river, so there'll be a launch point at the refuge so adults and kids can get out into nature."

He says some of the funds also will support improvements to the network of trails leading to the refuge and neighborhood green spaces.

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