Tampa, Fla. – (January 21, 2021) – The countdown to Super Bowl LV is on and numerous community environmental events will take place in the days leading up to the big game. The events of Super Bowl Green Week will focus on building community gardens, planting fruit trees, removing marine debris from the mouth of Tampa Bay, and restoring a coral reef.
The projects cap off a season of community greening projects implemented in the Tampa Bay area by NFL Green in partnership with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, NFL partners Verizon, Oikos Triple Zero, Castrol®, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee Sustainability Program presented by Tampa Electric under its Forever 55 social legacy initiative.
Monday, January 25 – Dive 55 Marine Debris Clean Up
Where: Manatee Public Beach, 400 State Road 64 and Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, FL
Dive and beach clearing operations will take place between 33rd and 31st Street (enter on 33rd)
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. (best media opportunities around 12:30 p.m.)
(Weather date Wednesday, January 27)
Media who would like to attend, please RSVP to email@example.com.
Retired special operations military veterans from Force Blue are teaming up with NFL Green, Pepsi Stronger Together, and the Super Bowl LV Host Committee to tackle ocean debris. The project called Dive 55 will bring together 55 divers to retrieve marine debris and discarded fishing gear from the waters near Spanish Rocks Reef in Anna Maria, Florida.
About 640,000 tons of fishing gear is lost in our oceans each year creating a danger for marine life. 92% of animal encounters with debris can be lethal. The marine debris that is retrieved will be sorted for repurposing or proper disposal. Some of the items will be turned into artwork by Hillsborough county students, then displayed at The Florida Aquarium to help build awareness about marine debris.
This unique project is a Super Bowl first and brings together diverse partners including The Florida Aquarium, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Fish and Wildlife, Pepsi Valor, Tervis, NAUI, Ocean Conservancy, University of Miami and Frost Science Center.
Tuesday, January 26 – Reed Park Community Garden and Compost Center Build
Where: Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Environmental Education Center at Reed Park – 4398 N. Riverside Drive, Tampa
Time: 8 a.m.
The Environmental Education Center sits on the eastern shore of the Hillsborough River and is part of the South Seminole Heights Neighborhood. Community volunteers will work with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to install two hydroponic grow towers, build and plant garden beds and a pollinator garden. They will also plant fruit trees and install a community compost area. The gardens and compost area will then be used by neighbors, volunteers and students as they participate in hands-on activities and learn how to grow fresh, healthy food and learn about nutrition and healthy eating.
Thursday, January 28 – Fruit Tree Orchard Planting
Where: Mango Recreation Center, 11717 Clay Pit Road, Seffner, FL
Time: 8 a.m.
Nearly 50 assorted fruit trees will be planted near the Mango Recreation Center, creating an orchard that will provide nutritional snacks and educational opportunities for the children who use the center. The center provides after school programs and offers gardening, nature-based programming and education about nutrition in addition to team building programs that stress fun and sportsmanship. Community volunteers will join staff from Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and Hillsborough County Parks to plant the fruit tree orchard.
Thursday, January 28 and Friday, January 29 - Coral Reef Restoration, near Miami
(Media may join on the boat but must make arrangements in advance)
Time: 8 a.m. -1 p.m.
NFL Green is working with Force Blue special operations military veterans, the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and The Florida Aquarium to continue restoring a section of Florida’s endangered coral reef by planting corals that are resilient in the face of a changing climate. On January 28 and 29 Force Blue divers will join UM scientists to monitor coral health and plant more than 150 elkhorn corals at the site. The planting of so many elkhorn corals, a threatened species, is rare and will exponentially add to the genetic diversity of the reef, which is nearing completion.
The coral restoration project unites the Super Bowl host communities of Miami and Tampa. What started as an environmental initiative for Super Bowl LIV in Miami when 100 staghorn corals (another threatened species) were planted in honor of the NFL’s 100th season, expanded for Super Bowl LV in Tampa to become 100 Yards of Hope, a football field-sized coral restoration project. The endzones and center of the field were established in the fall when divers planted 100 two-year-old juvenile staghorn coral colonies from The Florida Aquarium (genetically unique individuals that may help unlock answers to coral resilience), and more than a thousand staghorn corals from the University of Miami’s Rescue a Reef program. Thousands of mountainous star coral larvae (yet another threatened species) reared by SECORE International and Frost Science were also added to the reef.
A final planting of a massive star and brain corals in the spring will complete the football field-sized effort. The 100 Yards of Hope project has utilized the best available restoration techniques to accelerate the recovery of key coral species and build a blueprint for saving Florida’s Coral Reef. A diverse group of partners has teamed up with Force Blue and the National Football League for the Super Bowl LV coral restoration project. They include the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation program, University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School and Rescue a Reef program, The Florida Aquarium, Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, SECORE International, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee Sustainability Program presented by Tampa Electric, NFL partners Verizon, Oikos Triple Zero, Castrol®, Tervis and others as government, public and private partners work together to restore the national treasure that is Florida’s Coral Reef.
Nine community greening projects have been completed in the Tampa Bay area since the beginning of the football season. They have included significant mangrove plantings and shoreline restoration projects at Picnic Island, Maximo Park and Mosaic Park, creation of a pollinator garden at Veterans Memorial Park, a large tree planting at the Boys & Girls Club in Wimauma, native plantings and removal of invasive plants at Lowry Park and McKay Bay Nature Park and the creation and planting of sand dunes at Picnic Island to prevent erosion and protect against storm damage. A final “passing of the golden shovel” community greening event will take place next fall. That event will mark the passing of Super Bowl community greening projects from Tampa Bay to Los Angeles, site of Super Bowl LVI.
NFL sustainability partner Verizon will also plant 5,500 trees (100 trees for each Super Bowl) at the Withlacoochee State Forest. The reforestation effort will help restore the area back to its natural longleaf pine, sandhill ecosystem. It will also support watershed health and provide critical habitat for wildlife.
A unique fan engagement project was created this year called “Green and Win.” This project gave fans a chance to win a unique Super Bowl hat by posting on social media. Fans were asked to post a photo showing themselves involved in an environmental activity such as recycling, tree planting, a beach clean up or gardening. One hundred lucky fans were awarded Super Bowl LV hats and a chance to be recognized on NFL social media.