The NFL’s Urban Forestry Initiative: Community Impact

Last May, we dug the holes for the very first Super Bowl Urban Forestry planting at Currie Park in Minneapolis. That “Golden Shovel” event denoted the environmental handoff to pass the Super Bowl from Houston to Minnesota. This event kicked off the urban forestry partnership between Tree Trust, local sponsors Verizon and Andersen Corporation, the National Football League, Minnesota Vikings, and Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. Now a year later, these partners reunited for a final event that is the culmination of a year of Super Bowl LII Urban Forestry projects in Minnesota.

On Tuesday, May 29, at Highwood Hills Elementary School in Saint Paul, partners passed the Golden Shovel and a grant for a tree planting project to next year’s host city – Atlanta! Representatives from Minnesota’s partner organizations, along with students from Highwood Hills Elementary, planted 18 trees as a commemoration of the numerous projects completed over the past year. Since that first hole was dug in Minneapolis, Tree Trust assisted directly in planting 182 trees at five events in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Winona, and Brooklyn Park. As the lead urban forestry partner to the MN Super Bowl, Tree Trust was responsible for organizing these events including identifying locations, building the planting plan, securing the diverse tree species to be planted, and recruiting and training volunteers for each event. More than 100 community volunteers, including children from Highwood Hills and The Brian Coyle Center, assisted with the planting events.

Additionally, Tree Trust’s role also included distributing the grants from the sponsors to ten other nonprofits that planted a cumulative 13,000 trees of all sizes through forestry projects around the state. In total, $65,000 was committed from sponsors to plant more trees in Minnesota. Thanks to these other nonprofit partners including: Belwin Conservancy, City of Saint Paul, City of Winona, Como Friends, Friends of the Mississippi River, Great River Greening, Minnesota Zoo, Mississippi Park Connection, RNeighbors, and Youth Farm. Thanks also to Verizon and their local volunteers who got involved, Andersen Corporation, NFL Green, and the MN Super Bowl Host Committee for the opportunity to be a part of this initiative.

You can view the full photo albums of our multiple Super Bowl plantings on Facebook!

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