Carmel Cleanup Crew aims to plant 10K trees in 10 years


The Carmel Cleanup Crew aims to plant 10,000 trees in Carmel in the next 10 years, and the community is invited to help place the first saplings in the ground on United Nations World Habitat Day.

The 10,000 Trees in Carmel Campaign will launch its mission with the planting of 100 trees from 9 to noon Oct. 5 on the southern edge of the Vera J. Hinshaw Nature Preserve, located along the Monon Greenway north of 96th Street.

Carmel City Councilor Miles Nelson and his daughter, Olivia, founded the Carmel Cleanup Crew in 2019. Both were troubled by global warming and related issues, so they decided to do something to help the environment in their corner of the world.

“We may not be able to solve global warming, but we can certainly pick up a piece of trash and recycle it,” said Miles, the first Democrat to be elected to the Carmel City Council.

Olivia, 13, an eighth-grade student at Park Tudor School, said she hopes her efforts will encourage other young people to get involved.

“I just wanted to make a difference and show other people that they can make the same difference, no matter the age,” she said. “I really want to make my community better and safer, because if that’s the community I want, I feel like other people would want it, too.”

The Carmel Cleanup Crew has spent many Saturday mornings beautifying sites and streets around town, but they wanted to do something more. The Nelsons enjoy spending time in the shade of trees outdoors and thought planting thousands more in Carmel would benefit the community.

The Carmel Cleanup Crew is working with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation and the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Dept. to identify initial sites for tree plantings, but they plan to eventually expand their efforts to local businesses. Miles said he is funding the first round of trees, but he wants to transform the Carmel Cleanup Crew into a nonprofit so that the community can donate to the cause.

For now, hopes his neighbors will show support by showing up to plant trees.

“The idea is we’re not relying on the federal government to do anything. We’re doing it on our own as individuals, people who care about their communities,” he said.

Attendees at the Oct. 5 tree planting must wear a face covering. Register here