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Posted on June 2, 2017

San Bernardino County: PG&E, School Celebrate New Shade Tree Project

By Jeff Smith

NEEDLES — Chemehuevi Valley Elementary School,  in partnership with PG&E, the Chemehuevi EPA, and Needles Unified School District, recently celebrated the school’s newly planted shade trees.

The 10 Sissoo trees that now surround the school’s playground were made possible by a $3,000 donation from PG&E.  They will create natural shade for students at the small school with just over 40 students.

Steven Escobar, Chemehuevi EPA director (left front) and Jose Moreno-Jimenez, PG&E external affairs manager (right), join children, school officials and others to celebrate the newly planted shade trees.

The unveiling was welcomed with cheers from about 60 Chemehuevi Valley students and faculty members who looked on as the red ribbon was cut among the trees.

Chemehuevi EPA crews and PG&E’s Chris Smith, a senior environmental inspector, worked together to dig, construct and test the irrigation lines from the school to each tree to complete the project.

School officials said they appreciated the collaborative effort — which also included PG&E volunteers — to make the project possible.

“This wouldn’t have been a success without their hard work and we appreciate it,” said Jim Rolls, Chemehuevi Elementary School principal.

“We are all very excited about our new shade trees and plan to create a school garden with the remaining PG&E grant funds,” said Dr. Mary McNeil, superintendent of Needles Unified School District.

And that garden could come very soon.

Rolls said the school is already in the early planning process of creating a school garden.

He said he has always wanted to create a school garden for the students to grow their own vegetables on school grounds and thanks to PG&E’s donation it will happen.

Steven Escobar, Chemehuevi EPA director, said the garden will serve as an outdoor educational tool for students.

“Often times, kids don’t know where their food comes from,” said Escobar. “I’m very excited about the continued partnership with the Needles Unified School District and PG&E to create learning opportunities for the students.”

PG&E’s Jose Moreno-Jimenez, manager of external affairs, said he’s proud of what has been done at the school and can’t wait to see the new school garden.

“It’s inspiring to see the excitement in each of the students and faculty members at the school,” he said.

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