In an effort to make this year’s NCAA Final Four the greenest ever, the City of Arlington, NCAA and the North Texas Local Organizing Committee gathered Wednesday at Ousley Junior High School to plant the first four of the 1,014 trees scheduled to be planted throughout North Texas.
Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck joined Arlington ISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos, Experience Arlington CEO Ronnie Price, Arlington’s Urban Forestry & Land Manager Heather Dowell and Ousley Junior High students on the school’s front lawn for a ceremonial planting.
According to Dane Brugler, communications manager for the North Texas Local Organizing Committee, this sustainability effort demonstrates the importance of trees and their environmental impact.
Ousley Principal Lora Thurston was so excited when she was told more trees would be planted at her school. “Long after you and I are gone, trees will continue to make this campus look good,” she said.
Another component of the NCAA’s green effort is its legacy program. The group plans to build a “Green Court” at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in south Dallas. Experience Arlington President and CEO Ronnie Price said, “The multi-sport court will be made almost entirely out of recyclable materials.”
The Big 12 Conference will help provide maintenance for the “Green Court.”
Many of the events and venues at the Final Four will focus on going green, with all volunteers and staff members being asked to keep an eye out for recyclable materials.
Other efforts include a “Clear the Cabinet” promotion for volunteers where they donate four non-perishable food items in exchange for their volunteer uniform. Also there will be a community art program called “Renew, Reduce, Replay,” which will feature artwork made of sustainable or recycled materials. In addition to that, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will have representatives speak at youth clinics on healthy lifestyles and air and water preservation.
The NCAA and the North Texas Local Organizing Committee will work with state officials and transit authorities to provide a green transportation option. The Public Fan Express is a bus and rail alternative to driving that will help ticketholders get to AT&T Stadium in a quick, easy and green way.