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Seeing Football Through Urban Trees

When most people think about football they’re not likely imagining urban forests—or planting trees for that matter. But that’s exactly what the U.S. Forest Service and Green Bay Packers through their First Downs for Trees program, wants you to think: Plant trees and lots of them.

In fact, last year through the program’s successful initiatives, more than 400 trees were planted in 22 communities. This year the program, which includes the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division, is expanding with the planting of more than 850 trees in 26 communities.

On May 24, to celebrate this success, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy will be among the dignitaries planting trees during a media event at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI.

Through First Down for Trees, the Green Bay Packers have been reducing their carbon footprint and are helping the waters flowing into Green Bay to be cleaner. And more importantly, local community benefits from the social, economic and ecological well-being of healthy urban forests.

The impact of First Down for Trees is hoped to be extensive. Capturing stormwater runoff is a key component that positively impacts waters flowing into the Fox River and Green Bay. The trees filter and remove pollutants from stormwater runoff which impact aquatic habitats.

First Downs for Trees began in 2011 as a way to help the Green Bay Packers offset their carbon production when flying to away games. By donating trees to be planted based on first downs, the team reduced its carbon footprint and municipalities in Brown County were able to meet urban forestry and community goals.

Funding for this project was provided by the U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area through a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division and through a financial donation from the Green Bay Packers.

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