December 7, 2014|By Alterra Hetzel| Partnerships
Bald Eagle with FishOn the seventh anniversary of a partnership between The Philadelphia Eagles and The Conservation Fund, which helps protect and restore forests for wildlife and people, there are many reasons to stand up and cheer.

The Eagles have been all star players for The Conservation Fund, donating each year to zero out the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with the team’s travel by planting trees and restoring habitat for wildlife.

Thanks to the Eagles’ Go Green goals, we have made significant strides since the team’s first donation in 2007. The result? A big win for wildlife, including the bald eagle, thanks to the planting almost 19 football fields worth of oak, hickory and elm trees over several locations:

Neshaminy State Park - On a six and a half acre lot in Bucks County Pennsylvania’s State Park, Eagles fans, volunteers and park staff planted 1,200 native trees and shrubs to create the “Eagle Forest,” restoring wildlife habitat and enhancing the pleasurable experience for visitors at the park.

Red River National Wildlife Refuge - Along the river banks of the Red River, reforestation of native hardwood trees here removes CO2 from the air benefitting our climate and more than 200 species of song birds that use the trees for shelter and the tree seeds for food.

Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge – Located in Louisiana, this wildlife refuge links vast tracts of forestland required by the threatened Louisiana black bear, Support from donors like the Eagles has helped The Conservation Fund to plant over one million trees on this refuge alone.

Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge – Louisiana’s forests and wetlands are migratory crossroads for tens of thousands of ducks, geese and other birds. Restoring these lands is particularly important to the growing populations of bald eagle, a species that was once endangered and is now on the road to recovery.

Greening operations at home matters too. For example, a year ago this month, the U.S. Green Building Council gave LEED certification to the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field. The award recognizes the stadium’s strong pro-environment practices.

It also requires collaboration. The Philadelphia Eagles are members of the non-profit Green Sports Alliance, which works with sports teams to promote sustainability by engaging sports leaders, fans, and players alike in the spirit of responsible environmental stewardship.  As Eagles Linebacker Conner Barwin says, “I think it’s important to be environmentally conscious because this is the only environment that we have.”

“It’s important for all of us, both individually and collectively, to make an effort to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Christina Weiss Lurie, President of Eagles Youth Partnership and Social Responsibility. “As a professional football team, we are faced with an incredible challenge when it comes to the amount of energy we consume and waste we produce, not just on game days, but throughout the entire year as well. We also see this challenge as an opportunity to be a leader and use our unique platform to help create awareness about the steps we all can take to become more sustainable. Without the help of The Conservation Fund and our other great partners, we would never be able to achieve that vision. But through programs like carbon offsets, we have been able to reduce our impact on the environment while encouraging others to do so as well.”

“For the past seven years, The Philadelphia Eagles have proven that they are committed to reducing their environmental footprint through Eagles Go Green.  The team’s leadership on and off the field delivers real, measurable and lasting results for America’s forests, climate and wildlife – especially bald eagles.  All told, the Eagles have helped us plant more than 6,200 trees that will trap over 7,000 tons of CO2 as the forests mature. It’s a restoration legacy of which they should be proud,” said The Conservation Fund’s Vice President of Business Partnerships, Jena Meredith, “and it certainly gives renewed meaning to the phase, ‘Fly Eagles, Fly.’ Go Eagles!”