MINNEAPOLIS - When Super Bowl LII is over, the National Football League wants to leave something positive behind in its host city. This month, the NFL kicked off its environmental program in Minnesota by planting trees at Currie Park in Minneapolis.

For more than 20 years, the NFL has incorporated environmental projects into the Super Bowl.

"Can we create a green legacy that makes the city somehow better than it was when we got here?" said Jack Groh, NFL Environmental Program Director.

Last week, Houston passed the "golden shovel" over to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. The Super Bowl LI host city just finished its final planting project. The planting project at Currie Park is the first of many urban forestry projects leading up to Super Bowl LII.

"In the wake of emerald ash borer, which is one of the most destructive forest pests to ever hit the United States, the presence of it here in Minnesota is really prevalent and this initiative comes at a great time for us to really start replanting trees in our communities," said Karen Zumach, Tree Trust director of community forestry.

A river birch tree was gifted from Houston to Minnesota and planted along with 14 other trees at Currie Park.

Kids with the Brian Coyle Community Center, Minnesota Vikings players, as well as representatives for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, Verizon and Tree Trust helped plant the trees.

"This is very exciting for the neighborhood and for the city," said Amano Dube, director of the Brian Coyle Community Center.

"We'll be doing as many as a dozen grants around the state to help communities not only plant trees but also put in some important things like pollinator habitat protection areas to protect bees, butterflies and hummingbirds," Groh said.

They'll also give unserved food from Super Bowl events to local shelters and community kitchens, use renewable energy to power Super Bowl event venues and recycle and repurpose leftover decor and construction materials.

The NFL's Super Bowl Environmental Program is carried out in partnership with the local Super Bowl Host Committee and Verizon.