Greening of Super Bowl XLVIII Begins with Tree Plantings: New Orleans Contributes Trees to Environmental Kickoff Events

(NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY) Super Bowl XLVIII is still many months away but the “greening” of Super Bowl is already underway. Ceremonial tree plantings are taking place in two locations – one each in New Jersey (May 16) and New York (May 17).

The week begins with the final Super Bowl tree planting in New Orleans – the culmination of more than 2,000 trees planted as part of the greening of Super Bowl XLVII. At that New Orleans event, a “golden shovel” will be passed on to officials from the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee. This ceremonial shovel travels from one Super Bowl community to the next. It symbolizes the environmental responsibility handed along to each new host community.

Eight to ten trees will be planted at each event: in New Jersey at Essex County Weequahic Park and in New York at Randall’s Island Park. At each location, one of the trees planted will be a willow oak; a gift from the New Orleans community. The willow oak was selected because it is native to both New Orleans and the New York/New Jersey region.

These events are a preview of the environmental projects being developed as part of Super Bowl – addressing solid waste, food waste, material reuse, and overall climate impact of Super Bowl activities and events. NFL support for urban forestry projects reduces the environmental impact of Super Bowl. It also allows the NFL to support ongoing community initiatives including the MillionTreesNYC project.

Environmental projects at Super Bowl involve broad community relationships. This week’s events are made possible by support from the NFL, the NYNJ Super Bowl XLVIII Host Committee, NFL sponsor Verizon, the City of New York – MillionTreesNYC, the New York Restoration Project, the State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Tree Foundation.

The NFL Environmental Program plays an active role behind the scenes at Super Bowl. The Environmental Program is responsible for recycling solid waste from Super Bowl events and donating building, decorative and office materials to local organizations for reuse. Tens of thousands of pounds of un-served food from Super Bowl events are distributed to local food banks. An annual project called Super Kids-Super Sharing puts thousands of pieces of sports equipment and books into the hands of local children in need of these items. A comprehensive climate change initiative combines support for urban forestry projects, use of biofuels, offsets for travel emissions and use of renewable energy to address the greenhouse gas production associated with Super Bowl events and activities. These projects are developed in partnership with the Super Bowl Host Committee, our sponsors and local and state agencies as well as local non-profit organizations.

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Support for these initial Super Bowl tree plantings comes from :

MillionTreesNYC, a cornerstone of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC vision to establish a healthier, more sustainable New York City, is a public-private partnership between the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, through which one million trees will be planted and cared for throughout the five boroughs. As part of MillionTreesNYC Parks is reforesting 2,000 acres of parkland into new, ecologically healthy, multi-story forests.   New forests help expand canopy cover in New York City, increasing the myriad environmental benefits already provided by our urban forest. Since MillionTreesNYC was launched in October 2007,  739,108 trees have been planted.  For more information, visit  www.milliontreesnyc.org.

Founded by Bette Midler in 1995, New York Restoration Project (NYRP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming open space in underserved communities to create a greener, more sustainable New York City. Unlike traditional conservancies that care for a specific place, NYRP is the only New York City conservancy that works citywide, bringing private resources to spaces that lack adequate municipal support. To learn more, please visit www.nyrp.org.

Verizon has a robust sustainability strategy, which includes free recycling rallies that have collected more than 1 million pounds of e-waste; an aggressive commitment to various ENERGY STAR programs resulting in more than 115 ENERGY STAR-certified stores; a wireless phone trade-in program, which has collected more than 1 million phones; and Verizon’s HopeLine program, which provides no-longer-used wireless phones into support for victims of domestic violence. The strategy supports Verizon’s goal of cutting by 50 percent its carbon intensity – the company’s main sustainability metric that measures the amount of energy needed to transport a terabyte of data over its networks – by 2020.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 98 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with nearly $116 billion in 2012 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 183,400. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

The New Jersey Tree Foundation is a state-wide non-profit organization dedicated to planting trees in New Jersey’s most underserved neighborhoods. Through tree planting, volunteerism and education we assist numerous communities in improving their environment and quality of life. Tree Foundation programs are innovative and volunteer driven. Community-based tree plantings involving city residents work. We do not do the work for the people; we train them to take charge and complete the project themselves. That is empowering for folks who must face some of life’s most difficult circumstances. In the same vein, by employing ex-offenders, the Tree Foundation is providing the first stepping-stone of reintegration into society for men who have been imprisoned for years. For more information, visit  www.njtreefoundation.org

The 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee: In an unprecedented decision by NFL team owners, the New York/New Jersey region was awarded the 2014 Super Bowl on May 25, 2010.

The New York and New Jersey region will provide visiting fans an unparalleled Super Bowl experience – complete with a multitude of exceptional venues, landmark destinations, and sightseeing and shopping opportunities. The area offers 40 Broadway theatres, 60 Off-Broadway theatres, more than 100 museums and nearly 1,700 public parks, as well as more than 18,000 restaurant choices and 275 world-class hotels with 100,000 hotel rooms, suitable for a wide range of tastes and budgets.

Met Life Stadium is the only stadium to serve as the home to two NFL teams, the New York Giants and New York Jets. As such, it is able to provide equal “home field advantage” to both competing teams, with two of everything – including locker rooms, training rooms, home team coaches booths, and premium in-game medical treatment facilities, as well as two full-practice training facilities, the Timex Performance Center and Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.

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