Contact(s): Tracy Salisbury, urban forestry coordinator (920) 662-5450
GREEN BAY, Wis. - The highly successful First Downs for Trees program scores again, this time with a $48,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service.
This is the third year for the cooperative program with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Green Bay Packers, and Wisconsin Public Service. It is the second year the U.S. Forest Service has been involved, providing Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) monies.
Last year's U.S. Forest Service grant resulted in the planting of 848 trees in Brown County. This new, two-year grant expands the original program's goal of one tree per first down made by the Green Bay Packers to four trees per first down.
"Talk about a win-win program," said DNR Secretary, Cathy Stepp. "The Packers notch first downs and trees go in the ground, helping increase the urban tree canopy and reduce storm water going into the Great Lakes."
"Every time the Packers move the sticks, Wisconsin is reforested," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "It's great to team up with the state and this storied franchise on planting trees to benefit local communities, ecosystems and water quality."
The 2013 grant includes new components. First, trees will be planted in locations where they will be able to take up large amounts of stormwater. Second, DNR is charged with creating a "playbook" to be used by other NFL teams interested in implementing the program in their communities.
"The Packers are looking forward to more trees going into our communities with the help of our first downs," said Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. "We are excited to further our efforts again with the additional help of the U.S. Forest Service."
The first two years of the First Downs for Trees program led to the planting of nearly 1,300 trees in more than 25 Brown County communities.