Super Bowl XLIX is coming to University of Phoenix Stadium, the Glendale home of the Arizona Cardinals, on February 1. As part of the NFL’s marquee event, the league will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its urban forestry program by assisting the area’s ongoing efforts to increase the number of trees in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The NFL’s urban forestry program, part of the larger Super Bowl environmental program that enters its 22nd season this year, will assist in the implementation of Phoenix’s goal to have 25 percent canopy coverage of its urban spaces by 2030. The NFL could potentially work with both the city and local organizations like the Valley Permaculture Alliance, which works with local utilities to promote sustainable urban living in the desert through a program that gives free trees to homeowners to mitigate cooling costs and provide residential shade.

The NFL’s urban forestry program has changed its core mission over time, though the benefits of its tree-planting efforts have provided numerous benefits for its Super Bowl host cities – from shade to evaporative cooling, pollution scrubbing, and carbon sequestration.

“When we originally started tree planting, we did look at it as a carbon offset,” said NFL environmental program director Jack Groh. “How exactly do you measure the carbon sequestration of trees? But in the meantime, this is part of our overall greening strategy for Super Bowl, and it also leaves a nice legacy.”

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