Passing of the “Golden Shovel” from Minnesota to Atlanta

ATLANTA – The National Football League (NFL) has teamed up with the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee, Verizon and Trees Atlanta for a Super Bowl urban forestry program that will plant trees, create pollinator habitat and build community gardens in neighborhoods in and around Atlanta. Sustainability is one of the Host Committee’s Legacy 53 program pillars, dedicated to celebrating and elevating Atlanta communities. The Super Bowl environmental program kicks off with a tree planting and passing of the “golden shovel” ceremony at Castleberry Hill on Monday, October 8, 2018 at 9 a.m. The address is 310 Trenholm Street SW, Atlanta.

Each year a symbolic Super Bowl “golden shovel” is passed from one Super Bowl host community to the next. During a ceremonial presentation the “golden shovel” will be passed to the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee as they prepare for Super Bowl LIII. The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee has provided funding for this first urban forestry event in Atlanta, supplemented by funds from the City of Atlanta. Volunteers will plant trees in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood on Atlanta’s westside, adjacent to a new soccer field and green space that is currently under construction.

Among those taking part in the ceremony will be representatives from the NFL, Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee, Verizon, Trees Atlanta, Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association, Mayor’s Office of Resilience, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, HJ Russell & Company and the Castleberry Hill Athletic Club.

More than forty trees will be planted with the help of Castleberry Hill residents and volunteers from Verizon, the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee and Trees Atlanta.

“The NFL is committed to leaving a positive legacy in Super Bowl host cities, and a core component of this effort is sustainability,” says Jack Groh, NFL Environmental Program Director. “For more than two decades, the league has developed environmental initiatives, such as urban forestry projects, that have positively benefitted host communities. As we prepare for Super Bowl LIII, we are excited to continue this ‘green’ tradition with our partners in Atlanta.”

The Castleberry Hill neighborhood tree planting is the first of many Super Bowl LIII urban forestry projects that will take place in the months leading up to Super Bowl. The NFL, in partnership with the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee and Verizon, has awarded Super Bowl urban forestry grants to numerous projects in the greater Atlanta area to restore, beautify and enhance local areas. Recipients of those grants have been invited to attend this kick off event at Castleberry Hill.

Super Bowl LIII Urban Forestry Projects include:

  1. Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – 777 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy NW
  • 40 to 45 trees to add shade near play and picnic areas and along fence.
  1. Warren Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta – Berne Street & Marion Street
  • Trees to provide shade and color to the front and side of the building.
  1. East Point – near City Hall
  • Variety of tree species to add shade and beauty
  1. Clarkston
  • Dozens of trees to be planted to add shade and beauty
  1. Decatur – southeast corner of city damaged by Hurricane Irma
  • Street tree planting to replace old growth trees lost to severe weather events 
  1. Doraville
  • Planting dozens of trees to enhance the city’s tree cover
  1. Hapeville
  • Planting large shade and understory trees
  1. Zoo Atlanta pollinator garden
  • Creation of pollinator habitat/to be used for education
  1. Whitehall/I SIP Earth Garden
  • Construction of raised garden beds, planting winter vegetables and fruit trees
  1. Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill
  • Installation of organic and heirloom berry bushes and vine trellises, planting of winter community garden and enhancement of nature trail
  1. Spring 2019 Location TBD
  • Final Super Bowl LIII urban forestry project/Golden Shovel ceremony pass to Miami


About the Super Bowl LIII Environmental Program

The NFL has incorporated environmental projects into the management of Super Bowl for more than 25 years. These environmental projects are part of a larger program of community events and initiatives implemented each year by the NFL and Super Bowl Host Committee to leave a positive benefit in each Super Bowl host community.

The Super Bowl Environmental Program is part of the NFL’s sustainability platform. Carried out in partnership with the local Super Bowl Host Committee and Verizon, the program aims to reduce the environmental impact of Super Bowl events and leave a positive, “green” legacy in host communities. These efforts include food recovery and distribution, recycling and solid waste management, recovery and donation of event and building materials, urban forestry projects and the use of “green energy” to power events.