Each year, a symbolic Super Bowl “Golden Shovel” is passed from one Super Bowl host community to the next. The National Football League (NFL), Las Vegas Super Bowl LVIII Host Committee, Arizona Super Bowl LVII Host Committee, the City of Henderson, Verizon, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Las Vegas Raiders joined forces for this iconic moment Tuesday, which was the kickoff for numerous Super Bowl LVIII community greening projects throughout Clark County.
The event took place at the Arroyo Grande Sports Complex in Henderson. Following the ceremonial passing of the Golden Shovel from Arizona and Super Bowl LVII, volunteers from Verizon and the Las Vegas Super Bowl LVIII Host Committee joined Henderson parks staff and community volunteers to plant 58 trees at the Arroyo Grande Sports Complex in honor of Super Bowl LVIII.
Low water usage desert trees including Chinese Pistache and Mondell Pine trees were planted and will provide shade, beauty, and cooling at the sports complex. These trees will also increase the city’s tree canopy and help to reduce the urban heat island effect and carbon in the environment. Irrigation has been updated to low-flow emitters, reducing water usage, and contributing to Henderson’s overall conservation efforts.
In addition to the greening project, the Las Vegas Super Bowl LVIII Host Committee surprised community hero Alan O’Neill with tickets to Super Bowl LVIII as a part of the League’s Super Bowl Ticket Giveaway program to recognize his conservation efforts in Las Vegas. O’Neill’s career in conservation has spanned over 56 years, including 34 years with the U.S. Department of the Interior, mostly for the National Park Service and 10 years as founder and Executive Director of the Outside Las Vegas Foundation (now rebranded as Get Outdoors Nevada). He served on the National Park Service “Restructuring and Reengineering Task Force” which developed and implemented a major restructuring plan resulting in a more decentralized organization with leadership vested more in field managers. Alan is the recipient of numerous awards from federal, state, and local governments and nonprofit organizations for innovative program development and leadership and as a tireless advocate for conservation and sound stewardship.
Initial funding for the passing of the Golden Shovel community greening project was a gift from the Arizona Super Bowl LVII Host Committee, the NFL and NFL partner Verizon. Jennie Patel, Vice President of Social Responsibility and Volunteers for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee traveled from Arizona to deliver the ceremonial “Golden Shovel.” The shovel was accepted by Sam Joffray, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Super Bowl LVIII Host Committee, who was joined by Henderson Mayor Michelle Romero and representatives from Henderson Parks, the NFL, Verizon, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and Las Vegas Raiders’ Raiderettes and Raider Rusher.
“The Las Vegas Super Bowl LVIII Host Committee and our partners, including the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, are committed to making an impact beyond the game,” said Joffray. “As we count down to Super Bowl LVIII, we are thrilled to work alongside NFL Green to support environmental initiatives throughout Clark County.”
Additional Super Bowl LVIII greening projects are scheduled in the months leading up to Super Bowl and include:
- Restoration of two acres of habitat at Warm Springs in partnership with the Southern Nevada Water Authority to improve wildlife habitat, water quality and reduce flood impacts and wildfire risk.
- Addition of large fruit trees to the healing garden at Nevada’s only nonprofit hospice in partnership with the Nathan Adelson Hospice.
- Support of the creation of the Ethnobotanical garden at Springs Preserve to educate on Tribal cultures indigenous to this region.
- Creation of a pollinator garden and planting of hundreds of native plants at Aliante Nature Discovery Park in partnership with Get Outdoors Nevada.
- The planting of 32 trees (one for each NFL team) at Silver Mesa Recreation Center in partnership with the City of North Las Vegas. A community seating area and sidewalk will be installed under the trees for all to enjoy the outdoors in shade.
- The planting of 20 large trees and dozens of plants to provide shade, cooling and beauty at the Clark County Wetlands Park Nature Play Corner in partnership with Clark County Wetlands Parks.
- Tree planting and beautification of the grounds at the Las Vegas Indian Center.
- The planting of 100 drought adapted trees around the sports fields at All American Park in partnership with the City of Las Vegas.
- A neighborhood tree giveaway and planting of trees at Cesar Chavez Park in partnership with Nevada Plants.
- Planting of climate adapted shade trees and hundreds of plants and daffodil bulbs to create “Shade Tree Lane” and demonstrate the important role of shade trees in reducing the urban heat island effect in partnership with Springs Preserve.
- Removal of non-play turf, conversion to Xeriscape and planting of trees and plants at Sunrise Mountain High School in partnership with Clark County School District.
- Revitalization of the community garden at the Obodo Collective in Las Vegas’ historic west side.
The NFL has implemented a comprehensive community greening program around all of its tentpole events for more than 20 years. Impactful community projects create greenspace, enhance the natural environment, build community gardens and create shade, cooling and beautification in traditionally under resourced neighborhoods.
Supporting the NFL’s community greening efforts in Las Vegas are NFL partner Verizon, the Las Vegas Super Bowl LVIII Host Committee and Host Committee legacy partner San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.