Super Bowl Program Supports Growing Urban Forest In Phoenix

By Andrew Bernier, KJZZ

Phoenix is known as an oasis in the desert, but can it become a city in a forest? There are some big local organizations and a big game that are trying to make that happen.

With the Super Bowl coming to Arizona, the game is bringing a lot of economic activity and excitement to the state, but it’s bringing something you would not have expected — trees.  

“Well, this is the 10th anniversary of urban forestry at Super Bowl,” said Jack Groh, the Program Director of the NFL’s Environmental Program. “The environmental program at Super Bowl has been going on 22 years now.”

Groh said the program had difficulty with its original intention, but rooted itself as a Super Bowl tradition.

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

The city is aware of the carbon footprint big events have. Phoenix City Council member Bill Gates said Phoenix is pushing to expand its urban forest.

“We have this focus on creating more shade through urban forestry, planting more trees in our city parks, in medians and things of that sort,” Gates said. “One of the challenges, especially with trees that require more water, is that we’re doing everything we can to conserve water. That’s why going with the indigenous trees is a real plus.”

And it isn’t just water that makes native trees ideal for planting. Arizona State Climatologist Nancy Selover said the soil here limits the options for tree selection.

Read the entire article on KJZZ.com here.