As songs played in the background during recess at Henry Eissler Elementary School, a group of students dressed in bright green T-shirts dug into the school grounds.
They planted a total of three trees: Japanese maple, purple leaf plum, and crape myrtle. The last two were planted where a large tree had been removed to build a new structure, but it was never built.
"They'll be able to come back and say, 'I planted that,'" said Joe Stewart, a program manager with the Pacific Gas and Electric Vegetation Management team.
PG&E supplied the trees and taught students the importance of where to safely plant a tree.
"One thing people don't think of is look up," Stewart said.
Trees planted around power lines should be smaller than 20 feet tall when they're fully grown, PG&E advises. And there should only be low-growing plants near transmission lines.
If a tree grows less than 10 feet from a power line, the utility company said, PG&E should be notified by calling 800-PGE-5000.
For those planning to landscape or plant a tree, PG&E advises people to call 8-1-1 at least two days before so it can mark underground power lines and other subsurface utilities.
Stewart also taught the students how to plant the trees, directing them use the plant's pot to determine how deep to dig the hole and to break the soil around the roots before planting it. After filling the space around the plant with dirt, Stewart had them create a dirt border around the trees.
"Pour it, Charlie," the students told a peer as he carefully watered the new purple leaf plum with a red bucket. "Just dump it all."
Campus supervisor Joaquin Hernandez cheered on the students and was grateful for PG&E's help.
"I've been here for 11 years," he said, "and this is the first year we've done this."
Before planting these trees, the students had noticed some trees on their school grounds were dying because they weren't being irrigated, Hernandez said.
So the kids came out during their after-school programs with a hose and would water them.
Stewart said he would see about making planting trees at the school an annual affair and also offered mulch to place around the new trees.
Meanwhile, elementary school students enjoyed the playground, which has about three or four trees.
"My principal was tired of seeing a desert," Hernandez said.