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NFL Honors Super Bowl LVI with Greening Project
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer
Published September 30, 2021

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders and mascot Rampage receive the Super Bowl Golden Shovel from Tara Battiato, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are joined by Susan and Jack Groh, Directors of the NFL Environmental Program (Courtesy photo)

To celebrate Inglewood hosting Super Bowl LVI, the NFL partnered with the L.A. Rams and several other organizations to host a beautification project at Edward Vincent Park on Saturday. Volunteers planted 56 trees at the park to honor Super Bowl LVI.

The event would not have been a success without the 140 volunteers that signed up. Not only did they plant trees, but they planted flowers and other types of foliage. They also took part in a park clean up and painted certain areas of the park.

“Inglewood’s Edward Vincent Jr. Park is the perfect place to kick off Super Bowl LVI’s community and sustainability efforts,” said Los Angeles Super Bowl Host Committee vice president of major events Karina Harold. “We are dedicated to using the spotlight of Super Bowl LVI to positively impact the Inglewood and Los Angeles communities and we look forward to many more projects to come leading up to Super Bowl LVI in February 2022.”

Los Angeles Rams mascot Rampage assists in the planting of 56 trees in honor of Super Bowl LVI at Inglewood’s Edward Vincent Junior Park (Courtesy photo)

Inglewood Mayor James Butts was also in attendance to receive the symbolic Super Bowl “Golden Shovel” that is passed to every Super Bowl host community. Vice president of community impact and executive director of the Glazer Vision Foundation of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tara Battiato handed the golden shovel to mayor Butts.

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“Today’s event marked the passing of the Golden Shovel, the symbol of Super Bowl community greening, from the host community of Tampa Bay to the Los Angeles region, and the first in a series of Super Bowl LVI community greening projects,” said NFL Environmental Program director Jack Groh.

Mayor Butts recalled the times when Inglewood was the home of the Showtime Lakers and the L.A. Kings during the years he served on the Inglewood Police Department. Since he has been mayor, two NFL teams, one NBA team, and The L.A. Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Program decided to call Inglewood home.

“The Girl Scouts of greater Los Angeles headquarters are leaving Marina Del Ray to come here and then the NFL media headquarters, NFL Networks are leaving Culver City to come here,” Butts said. “Then to come to this event where we’re celebrating the transference of the Golden Shovel … it’s a total renaissance and transformation and a total change in our brand as a city.”

More than 100 volunteers helped to plant 56 trees at Inglewood’s Edward Vincent Junior Park in honor of Super Bowl LVI. (Courtesy photo)

Edward Vincent Jr. park is the largest park in the south bay and the oldest park in Inglewood.

“It is the anchor park in the city of Inglewood,” Butts said. “These trees will be here decades into the future, so they are a reminder of Inglewood’s evolution.”

Several other greening projects will be taking place throughout the Los Angeles area all the way until the Super Bowl. The NFL and the City of Inglewood Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department are partnering to enhance the Queen Park Community Garden. The NFL will also partner with the organization TreePeople to plant trees in Watts.

Boyle Heights-Mott Street Community Garden in East LA will be refurbished in partnership with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps; West Carson’s Wishing Tree Park Memorial Plaza will be given a large ‘wishing tree’ with the help of the LA Neighborhood Land Trust. CultivaLA will also install a vertical herb and vegetable garden along with fruit trees at Westlake Community Garden.

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The project at Edward Vincent Park was a gift from Tampa Bay with funding from the NFL, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee and Verizon.

Inglewood police officers join in the effort to plant 56 trees at Inglewood’s Edward Vincent Junior Park (Courtesy photo)

The NFL has been organizing community outreach events to coincide with their major events like the Super Bowl for around 20 years. NFL Green partners with local organizations to plant trees, cultivate community gardens, build places for youth to play, restore habitats and work on reforestation projects.

This kickoff greening project happened on the day before the Los Angeles Rams defeated the reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers 34-24.

In March, the Los Angeles Super Bowl Host Committee created the Super Bowl LVI Legacy Program that awarded 56 nonprofit and grassroot organizations with a $10,000 grant each.

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