At the beginning of the major league baseball season, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) teamed up with the Minnesota Twins to launch "Break a Bat, Plant a Tree," an innovative partnership that has given both sports fans and outdoors enthusiasts good reasons to cheer.
According to the agreement, every time a Twins' pitcher broke the bat of an opposing player during the 2010 season, 100 trees would be planted in one of the 73 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas or along one of the 21 Minnesota state trails. When the regular season ended Sunday, Oct. 3, Minnesota pitchers had broken a total of 180 bats, which will result in the planting of 18,000 trees.
"The Break a Bat, Plant a Tree partnership has been a big hit, and we're grateful to the Twins for coming up with the idea," said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR's Parks and Trails Division. "It added an element of excitement to every at-bat, and our parks and trails will benefit greatly."
Nelson noted that the National Association of State Park Directors recognized the Minnesota Twins "Break at, Plant a Tree" partnership with Minnesota State Parks and Trails at their annual conference in September.
"The partnership was a natural fit," said Patrick Klinger, vice president of marketing for the Minnesota Twins. "The DNR wants to get people outdoors, and now that we have a new outdoor stadium, so do we. The state parks and trails contribute significantly to the quality of life we enjoy here in Minnesota, and we're glad we could help draw some attention to that during the Twins' season."
On Friday, Aug. 13, former Twins pitcher and Fox Sports North television analyst Bert Blyleven and Forrest Boe, deputy director of the DNR's Division of Parks and Trails, planted the first ceremonial tree on the Luce Line State Trail, a 63-mile trail that runs from Plymouth to Hutchinson. The rest of the trees will be planted next spring at park and trail sites yet to be determined.
Based on the success of "Break a Bat, Plant a Tree" in 2010, the DNR and the Twins plan to continue the partnership next year.