The Green Bay Packers, Essity and Green Bay Packaging Inc., marked another successful year of the "First Downs for Trees" program Monday by planting trees at Ashwaubenon's Klipstine Park.
Essity and Green Bay Packaging, Inc., the program's corporate partners, once again provided funds to result in the planting of 477 trees in 17 Brown County communities. One of the Packers' Green Team initiatives, the program donates trees to participating Brown County communities based on the number of first downs scored by the Packers in the previous season.
Three nurseries, Meacham Nursery, Leaves Inspired and Silver Creek provided the trees this year. A combination of elm, maple, lilac, oak, honey locust and flowering crab trees are among the species that were planted.
Receiving trees this year were Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Bellevue, Brown County, De Pere, Green Bay, Holland, Howard, Lawrence, Ledgeview, Morrison, Oneida Tribe, Pulaski, Scott, Suamico, Town of Wrightstown and Village of Wrightstown.
"The Packers and our partners, Green Bay Packaging and Essity are proud to support the surrounding communities with 444 new trees from the program this year," said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy at the event. "We're pleased that our success on the field has allowed us to focus on sustainability and renewable resources in a way that will benefit local communities for years to come."
The program receives administrative support from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Public Service.
Packers alumni Gerry Ellis and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila joined Murphy at the planting event, as well as Ashwaubenon President Mary Kardoskee and DNR Secretary Dan Meyer. In addition, Carrie Schuster, Essity marketing manager, sustainability and hygiene, and Jeff Walch, Green Bay Packaging vice president of corporate container board sales, made remarks on behalf of the program.
First Downs for Trees complements the team's recycling and landfill diversion programs at Lambeau Field by targeting the carbon emitted by the Packers' air charters to road games, which is approximately 450 tons in a year.
Since 2011, 4,707 trees have been planted through the program, providing total lifetime benefits of $22.7 million through stormwater runoff reduction, CO2 reduction, energy savings, air quality improvement and property value increase. Over their lifetime, the tree benefits exceed the costs of planting and care, representing a 300 percent return on investment. Tree benefits increase over time, highlighting the importance of not only planting trees, but of providing ongoing maintenance and protection.