The NFL kicked off Super Bowl LIII environmental program with tree planting at Castleberry Hill and passing of the “Golden Shovel” from Minnesota to Atlanta. CONTRIBUTED

NFL plants trees in advance of Super Bowl LIII

The National Football League has teamed up with the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee, Verizon and Trees Atlanta for a Super Bowl urban forestry program that will plant trees, create pollinator habitat and build community gardens in neighborhoods in and around Atlanta. Sustainability is one of the Host Committee’s Legacy 53 program pillars, dedicated to celebrating and elevating Atlanta communities.

The Super Bowl environmental program kicked off with a tree planting and passing of the “golden shovel” ceremony at Castleberry Hill last month.

Each year a symbolic Super Bowl “golden shovel” is passed from one Super Bowl host community to the next. During a ceremonial presentation the “golden shovel” was passed to the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee as they prepare for Super Bowl LIII. The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee has provided funding for this first urban forestry event in Atlanta, supplemented by funds from the city of Atlanta. Volunteers will plant trees in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood on Atlanta’s westside, adjacent to a new soccer field and green space that is currently under construction.

Among those taking part in the ceremony were representatives from the NFL, Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee, Verizon, Trees Atlanta, Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association, Mayor’s Office of Resilience, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, HJ Russell & Company and the Castleberry Hill Athletic Club.

More than forty trees will be planted with the help of Castleberry Hill residents and volunteers from Verizon, the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee and Trees Atlanta.

The program will continue through 2019 with tree plantings throughout metro Atlanta.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.