Students in the Sonoma Valley will enjoy the bounty of 90 new fruit trees, thanks to Sonoma Raceway and NASCAR.

The fruit trees were donated to 11 schools in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District and the Sonoma School Garden Project through the "NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program," an initiative that seeks to neutralize the carbon produced by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. The trees will be utilized as part of the Sonoma School Garden Program at Adele Harrison Middle School, Altimira Middle School, Creekside School, El Verano School, Flowery and Dunbar Elementary Schools, Prestwood Elementary School, Sassarini Elementary School, Sonoma Charter School, Sonoma Valley High School and Woodland Star Waldorf Charter School.

The School Garden Project is a district-wide environmental program teaching students the importance of growing and eating healthy fruits and vegetables through hands-on gardening. Adele's garden classes provide every student with an opportunity to develop and learn varied skills while working in the garden. Students are engaged, motivated and inspired as they learn by doing inside and outside of the classroom working with both their hands and minds.

"The garden project in our Sonoma Valley Schools is a model for student involvement and for building good nutritional habits with our kids," said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. "We are very proud to partner with NASCAR to donate these trees and help grow this program in all of our Valley public schools."

A ceremonial planting of one of the 14 trees the school has received was held on Wednesday at Adele Harrison Middle School and was attended by Sonoma Valley Unified School District Superintendent, Louann Carlomagno, Deputy Superintendent, Justin Frese, Sonoma School Garden Project Founder, Kathleen Hill, Adele Harrison Middle School Principal, Karla Conroy, Page, and several students.

"This is the next step in having locally grown food in our schools," said Frese. "We really look forward to the day when we're going to be able to harvest all of this fruit and serve it to our students."

"I like that we're going to put new trees into the garden because at the beginning of the year we didn't have many plants and there wasn't much to harvest," said Adele Harrison Middle School sixth grader, Nate Jordan. "Now we can eat food that comes from the trees we planted during the year."

Sonoma Raceway, which hosts an annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event each June, has participated in NASCAR's Green Clean Air Tree Planting program since 2009. The NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program™ delivered by UPS plants trees to absorb carbon emissions equivalent to all of the racing in NASCAR's three national series for the entire season. One mature tree over the course of its lifetime absorbs about one metric ton of carbon dioxide, the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a Sprint Cup car driving 500 miles. Past Sonoma Raceway beneficiaries of this program have included Roseland Creek Elementary in Santa Rosa, City Park in Vallejo, Petaluma Junior High School and the Vacaville Unified School District. In total, Sonoma Raceway and NASCAR have donated more than 325 trees through this program.

NASCAR's program dovetails well with the raceway's sustainability efforts, which include a major solar panel presence, comprehensive recycling program, water conservation efforts and the use of sheep to maintain the grasses and fire lanes around the raceway, among other initiatives. For more information on Sonoma Raceway's sustainability efforts, visit www.acceleratingsustainableperformance.com or follow on twitter @SustainableRace.