NYC Parks Teams with NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, NFL to Plant 20,000 Trees in Rockaways

On Saturday, NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White joined NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee President and CEO Al Kelly and Co-Chairman Jonathan Tisch, NFL Environmental Program Director Jack Groh, Council Member Donovan Richards, the Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks Restoration Corps, and more than 1,200 volunteers at Rockaway Community Park in Queens to plant 20,000 new trees and 5,000 shrubs at the MillionTreesNYC Fall Planting Day.

"Since the MillionTreesNYC initiative began six years ago, New Yorkers have rolled up their sleeves and dug in to make New York City nearly 800,000 trees richer," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Trees need us just as much as we need them and New Yorkers have been volunteering all week with the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee and the NFL during stewardship events citywide. Thanks to these great organizations, we are able to replace thousands of trees lost along the coast by Hurricane Sandy in a community most in need."

"This year, Rockaway Community Park hosted the largest single-site tree planting event in MillionTreesNYC history, with more than 1,200 volunteers digging in to plant 20,000 trees," said Commissioner White. "These new trees will provide an important buffer to the adjacent Rockaway community by protecting against wind and rain and will help to catch storm water runoff and prevent erosion. Thanks to the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, the NFL, the Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks Restoration Corps, and all the volunteers who have helped us on our way to meeting our ambitious goal of planting one million new trees."

"We are honored to be here on this very important day and partner with the Mayor's MillionTressNYC Initiative and refurbish this beautiful landscape," said Al Kelly. "From the beginning, the Host Committee has been committed to giving back to communities and what better way to leave a lasting legacy than by planting 20,000 trees and 5,000 shrubs and bring back the vitality to the Rockaway Community Park."

"The NFL has been addressing the environmental impact of Super Bowl for 20 years," said NFL Environmental Director Jack Groh. "In partnership with the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee and the City of New York, and with support from Verizon, we have taken the 'greening' of this event to a higher level. The planting at Rockaway Community Park is the single-largest urban forestry project in Super Bowl history and will leave a positive legacy for generations to come."

"Rockaway Community Park has been a hidden jewel for far too long," said Councilmember Donovan Richards. "This is why we welcome events like MTNYC's Fall Planting Day, which will help beautify this oasis."

This spring, NYC Parks, in partnership with the National Park Service, launched the Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks Restoration Corps. Approximately 200 workers were hired to assist in clean-up, restoration and reconstruction of Jamaica Bay and Rockaway Parks. The Corps was able to remove weeds, invasive species, litter and debris from this weekend's planting site and has been invaluable in helping to prepare the way for these new trees so that they can thrive.

Verizon came out with 100 volunteers who donated their time along with volunteers from the Green Schools Alliance, Boy & Girl Scouts of New York City, New York University, Bloomberg LP, and from City agencies including DOITT, NYC Law Department, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Human Resources Administration, and Department of Homeless Services.

Image Credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

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