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Super Bowl LI to Develop “Green” Legacy for Greater Houston Area

The NFL and the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee have teamed to develop a series of initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of Super Bowl activities and leave a “green” legacy throughout the Greater Houston Area. Verizon has joined as a key partner in several of these projects, including the Super Kids – Super Sharing book and sports equipment donation project, the Super Bowl LI Urban Forestry Project and a public E-Waste Recycling Rally. Additional community partners include the Houston Texans, Trees For Houston, NRG, the Houston Zoo and the Houston Food Bank.

Several environmental projects are taking place throughout the Greater Houston area during the month of January, including:

Monday, Jan. 16 – Urban Forestry, Pollinator Planting Project: 10 a.m., The Houston Zoo

Event will include participation from Houston Texans Cheerleaders, team mascot TORO, and representatives from the Houston Zoo, NFL, Verizon and the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee. The event will begin with a brief program at the Houston Texans Enrichment Zone followed by a “parade” to the new pollinator garden located near the giraffe barn. Houston is in the flyway for numerous pollinators as they journey from Canada to Mexico and provides a key resting stop. This project helps draw attention to the importance of pollinators.

Tuesday, Jan. 17 – Urban Forestry Event: 9 a.m. MacGregor Park

The media event will include representatives from the NFL, Verizon, the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee, Trees For Houston and elected officials. This project expands on the tree planting efforts of Trees For Houston at one of the city’s neighborhood parks. Community volunteers will join in the tree planting as they work to improve the park and surrounding neighborhood and provide a healthier environment for all to enjoy.

Thursday, Jan. 19 – Super Kids – Super Sharing Sports Equipment and Book Donation Event – 9 a.m. The Houston Texans YMCA

Dozens of participating schools will bring items to this large donation collection event. Tens of thousands of books, school supplies, games and pieces of sports equipment will be sorted, inventoried and distributed to low-income schools and youth programs throughout the region. Houston Texans special guests, Texans cheerleaders, team mascot TORO, and Host Committee mascot, TD, will be on hand to greet and thank the students and coordinators. The Texans will also host a PLAY60 camp for participants to enjoy once donated items have been sorted.

As part of Super Kids, local students have also been collecting used cell phones to donate through HopeLine® from Verizon. HopeLine® collects wireless phones and accessories no longer in use and turns them into financial support for domestic violence organizations nationwide. At the event, Verizon will present a $45,000 grant to the Houston Area Women’s Center to provide support for local domestic violence prevention and intervention services. Media interested in attending Super Kids are encouraged to come between 9:45 – 10:45 a.m. There will be a brief ceremony at 10 a.m.

Saturday, Jan. 21 – Super Bowl LI E-Waste Recycling Rally – 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The Houston Zoo, Medical Center Entrance

This recycling rally, sponsored by Verizon, will be open to the public and local residents may drop off all types of electronic waste to be recycled responsibly and kept out of local landfills. Items such as computers, printers, monitors, cell phones and televisions will be accepted. (Large appliances such as refrigerators will not be accepted.) Each family bringing in items will receive a tote bag and a voucher for half price admission to the Zoo (valid for up to 4 guests).

Saturday, Jan. 14 – Bastrop Reforestation Project: 1 p.m. Bastrop State Park

In addition to projects taking place in the Houston area, the NFL and Verizon are funding a project to restore 12,000 trees at the site of Texas’ worst wildfire near Bastrop State Park. On January 14, beginning at 1:00 p.m. community volunteers will plant 1,500 trees in the first phase of this project. The NFL, Verizon, the Arbor Day Foundation and TreeFolks are joining in this effort to plant loblolly seedlings to accelerate recovery of the Lost Pines ecosystem through reforestation.

Verizon, the Arbor Day Foundation and NFL are also teaming up to plant several hundred trees in Galveston neighborhoods. The 4-foot tall American Elm, Eastern Redbud, Red Maple and Tulip Trees will be planted by homeowners.

Additional Urban Forestry Projects: The NFL, in partnership with Verizon, the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and Trees For Houston, has made urban forestry grants available to numerous local organizations. Additional urban tree plantings will take place at Songwood Park on January 14 and at Memorial Park on January 28. Several other “greening” projects will be implemented throughout the Houston area at MacGregor Park, Exploration Green Park, Willow Waterhole Greenway, the Houston Zoo and Turtle Bay Nature Preserve.

Other environmental projects include:

GREEN ENERGY

“Green” energy will be used to power major Super Bowl event venues throughout Houston including NRG Stadium, the George R. Brown Convention Center (site of the Super Bowl Media Center and NFL Experience), and the hotels being used by the NFL and AFC teams and by the NFL Super Bowl staff. NRG will be providing renewable energy certificates (RECs) equivalent to the electricity usage at these facilities to mitigate the climate impact of energy emissions.

FOOD RECOVERY

Extra prepared food from Super Bowl events will be recovered in partnership with the Houston Food Bank and a number of local nonprofit organizations to provide meals for shelters, missions, soup kitchens and other community programs. The food being recovered has been prepared in event facility kitchens but has not been served or placed in public areas.

MATERIAL RECOVERY

Recovery of all event materials will begin immediately after most Super Bowl events. During the week following the game, there will be an intensive drive to collect and donate items left over from Super Bowl including building materials, décor, fabric, carpeting and sign materials. These items will be donated to local organizations that can reuse, repurpose or remanufacture the material. This project keeps material out of local landfills and turns it into valuable items for resale or reuse.

The NFL has incorporated environmental projects into the management of Super Bowl for more than 20 years.

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