LONE TREE, Colo. (CBS4) — Students in several south metro preschools celebrated Earth Day by releasing thousands of ladybugs Friday.

(credit: Riverstone Education in Lone Tree)

Dubbed “Ladybug Launch,” the event was staged at five Merryhill Preschools in Aurora, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree and Parker.

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(credit: Merryhill Preschool in Highlands Ranch)

Riverstone Education Preschool in Lone Tree also participated.

(credit: Merryhill Preschool in Highlands Ranch)

(credit: Riverstone Education in Lone Tree)

Students learned about the insects in the days leading up to the release. The bugs serve as a natural pesticide by feeding on others insects that potentially harm the health of garden plants, trees, and shrubs.

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(credit: Merryhill Preschool in Lone Tree)

The students’ families were invited to participate in the ‘Launch.’

(credit: Merryhill Preschool in Parker)

Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22nd, 1970.

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