by Erica Shen
Students at Nuview Elementary School in Nuevo learned how to take care of the planet from a time-traveling scientist and some life-size puppets Thursday.
The comedic characters were part of the Fruit Tree Tour, a group that travels across California to plant orchards at schools and teach children about the environment.
The group's visit began with an assembly packed with songs and skits about climate change and fossil fuels. Fifth-graders then rotated through drumming, creativity and tree-planting workshops. Students and volunteers planted 24 trees in the school's playground.
"It was a lot of fun," said Lesli Reynaga, 11. "I learned about giving life to trees."
Lesli said she had never planted a tree before. She wants come back to the school in the future to taste the fruit from the peach tree she planted.
"I hope they understand that they are a part of the environment and they have to be conscious of the way they live," Principal Tom Siegel said.
Fruit Tree Tour members live and travel in buses topped with solar panels and powered by 100 percent recycled vegetable oil.
The 25 volunteers spend three months on the road, visiting schools and community organizations, said group member Michael Flynn.
Another member, Leo Buc, said he has noticed that most of the children he meets are out of touch with nature.
"I don't even ask how many of them have seen a forest anymore," he said. "Probably five out of 100 would answer yes."
Buc said he hopes the tour can rekindle the connection between children and nature.
"We can't bring them the forest, but we give them a taste of what it's like," he said.
The Fruit Tree Tour will be at the Nuview Bridge Early College High School in Nuevo today