The NFL is not only celebrating the 2022 Pro Bowl in Las Vegas this week, but also working to help the local community environment during their week here.

On Wednesday, the league and the Las Vegas Raiders partnered with Verizon and Clark County Parks to plant 1,200 native plants and trees at Wetlands Park alongside community volunteers and local students. The restoration project is part of an effort to improve air quality, reduce the urban heat island effect, reduce fuels for wildfires, and create habitat for wildlife and pollinators.

It will also aim to help improve the water quality of Lake Mead, which is the main source of water for residents of the Las Vegas Valley. The quality of the lake’s water is more vital than ever, given the current shortage, officials say.

“The water washes out some of the impurities as it passes through the wetlands,” said NFL environmental program director Jack Groh. “It’s all man-made, and it’s so unique to be out here in the desert and all of a sudden you see a wetland. It serves a really important environmental purpose.”

Clark County Commission Chairman Jim Gibson — who previously served as mayor of Henderson, Nevada, for eight years before transitioning to his current role — said he was pleased to see how well the Raiders have embraced their new home in Nevada and how the city has responded to them.

“That’s all [about] work to improve and maintain that environment and the culture and fabric of our community,” Gibson said. “The Raiders have integrated so well. They really are residents. He’s not a visitor, he’s not just a sports team – he’s a resident. They are our neighbors here in this community.”

The Silver and Black were represented by former Raiders Rod Woodson and Jason Witten, as well as interim president Dan Ventrelle. The three wanted to volunteer on the project with the goal of not only benefiting Las Vegas residents, but additionally the 340 species of birds, 70 species of wildlife and 60 species of pollinators that Wetlands Park is home to.

“We’re thrilled to have people from the NFL – people from other teams, other communities to learn and understand how special this community is and the relationship between the team and the community and to be a part of it and see it firsthand,” Ventrelle said.

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