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Professional sports establish "green" game plan to benefit trees
10/6/2014 4:44:37 PM

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – First downs, baskets and goals recorded by pro sports teams take on another meaning as more of these organizations develop a playbook-of-sorts on how to promote trees to encourage a greener society.

The number of sports partnerships with community forestry programs across the country is fueling awareness for the benefits of trees, according to The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The program, “Teaming up with Pro Sports to Advance Urban Forestry,” was a featured presentation at ISA’s 90th Annual Conference & Trade Show in Milwaukee this year.

“Professional sports are such a part of today’s culture,” says Jim Skiera, ISA Executive Director. “The partnerships between sports teams and a community help everyone better understand the benefits of trees. These organizations want to do their part and align with a worthy cause.”

More than 1,000 seedlings were planted on the campus of the University of North Florida, thanks to the cooperation of the NFL, the Super Bowl XXXIX Host Committee, and Greenscape of Jacksonville, Florida. The trees cool the campus in the summer months and help the city better weather future storms and hurricanes.

Through NASCAR’s Green Clean Air Program, 10 trees are planted for each green flag that drops during a race to offset carbon dioxide pollution.

”We can quantify the value of the services that trees provide,” says Laura Wyatt, ISA Certified Arborist and partnership specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “For every dollar invested in urban trees, a community gets three dollars in environmental benefits. This includes air quality, storm water mitigation and more, so trees are a solution.”

Sports teams in at least 19 cities throughout the U.S. are involved with tree planting programs, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS and NASCAR. Even minor league baseball teams are supporting tree planting in exchange for broken bats.

“This kind of cooperation between a sports team and a community leads to increasing canopies across the U.S. and overall better care for trees,” adds Wyatt. “The more folks you partner with, the more people are spreading the right message about trees and that’s what makes it successful.”

To learn how you can become involved in tree planting opportunities in your community, visit ISA’s consumer website,

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