ST. PAUL, Minn. — The final report of net spending by visitors to Super Bowl LII was released this week, but it wasn’t the only instance of “green” brought to Minnesota for the big game.
Nearly 13,000 trees were planted in 10 communities across the state from May of 2017 through Tuesday’s final installation of 18 trees at Highwood Hills Elementary. The trees included 800 substantially sized trees and more than 12,000 seedlings at Chippewa National Forest.
Vikings Ring of Honor running back Chuck Foreman, Viktor the Viking and Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders visited the school to support students who participated in the final planting and a pass-off ceremony of the Golden Shovel to Atlanta, which will host Super Bowl LIII.
The hillside behind the school was baking in the sun after a rare span of extremely high heat on Tuesday morning, but by midday, trees that will provide shade and animal habitat had been placed by enthusiastic fifth graders to leave a legacy to future students.
Many were first-time planters. Some dived into digging with direction of members from Tree Trust and volunteers from Verizon and Andersen Corporation. Other students appeared more timid with regard to digging but learned the important roles that trees can play.
“It’s hot, number one, but it’s a great event,” Foreman said. “The tree planting, the kids are involved in it, it’s something for the environment and something they’ll remember forever because this is a big thing the NFL puts on.
Tree Trust Director of Community Forestry Karen Zumach said the organization that is based in St. Louis Park appreciated the opportunity to partner with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, the Vikings and NFL Green.
“It’s been great as part of a nonprofit that kind of specializes in planting trees mostly across the Metro area,” Zumach said. “This opportunity presented itself to get us into places like Winona. It’s just been really great to bring trees to different communities. We need them more than ever now,…