NFL Kicks Off Super Bowl LII Environmental Program with Tree Planting at Currie Park
Thursday, May 18, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Each year a symbolic Super Bowl “golden shovel” is passed from the past Super Bowl host community to the next. On Thursday, May 18, the National Football League, Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC), Verizon and Tree Trust joined forces for this iconic moment at Minneapolis’ Currie Park. At the ceremony, which included a tree planting, the Super Bowl shovel was passed to the MNSBHC as they prepare for Super Bowl LII.

Among those that took part in the ceremony were LESTER BAGLEY, Minnesota Vikings Executive Vice President; MAUREEN BAUSCH, MNSBHC CEO; MEAGAN DORSCH, Verizon External Affairs; JACK GROH, NFL Environmental Director; EJ HENDERSON, Minnesota Vikings Youth Football Manager and former Pro Bowl Linebacker; PAUL KRAUSE, Pro Football Hall of Fame Member and former Minnesota Vikings Safety; JAYNE MILLER, Minnesota Park Board Superintendent; SHAMAR STEPHEN, Minnesota Vikings Defensive Tackle; KAREN ZUMACH, Tree Trust Director of Community Forestry; and students from the Brian Coyle Community Center.

In addition to the ceremonial passing of the shovel, a river birch tree (a common species of Super Bowl LI and LII host cities) was gifted from Houston to Minnesota. This tree and 14 others were planted at Currie Park on Thursday with the help of children from the Brian Coyle Community Center, Vikings players, cheerleaders and representatives from the NFL, MSBHC, Verizon, Tree Trust and the Parks Department.

“The NFL is committed to leaving a positive legacy in Super Bowl host cities, and a core component of this effort is sustainability,” said Groh. “For more than two decades, the league has led environmental initiatives, such as urban forestry projects, that have positively benefitted host communities. We were pleased with the results in Houston, and as we prepare for Super Bowl LII, we are excited to continue this ‘green’ tradition with our partners in Minnesota.”

On Tuesday, May 16 in Houston, BEN SHARDLOW, MSBHC Sustainability Chair, accepted the Super Bowl “golden shovel” from the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and brought it to Minnesota to kick off Super Bowl LII urban forestry events. A river birch tree was planted at Houston’s Village School in recognition of the “passing of the shovel” from Houston to Minnesota.

““Our strong partnership with the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings will ensure Minnesota communities are engaged, empowered, and enjoy the benefits of serving as a Super Bowl host for years to come,” said Maureen Bausch, CEO of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

The Currie Park tree planting is the first of many Super Bowl LII urban forestry projects that will take place during the 2017 planting season. Super Bowl LII urban forestry grants have been awarded to numerous projects in Minnesota that will restore, beautify and enhance local areas.

About Super Bowl Environmental The NFL has incorporated environmental projects into the management of Super Bowl for more than 20 years. These environmental projects are part of the NFL’s broader community impact efforts aimed to leave a positive legacy in each Super Bowl host community.

The Super Bowl Environmental Program is part of the NFL’s sustainability platform. Carried out in partnership with the local Super Bowl Host Committee and Verizon, the program aims to reduce the environmental impact of Super Bowl events and leave a positive, “green” legacy in host communities. These efforts include food recovery and distribution, recycling and solid waste management, urban forestry projects and the use of “green energy” to power events.

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