Carmel Cleanup Crew readies to plant at least 1K trees this spring


Miles Nelson had a specific purpose for creating the Carmel Cleanup Crew in 2019 with his two children, Noah and Olivia.

“The idea behind it was to give them an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the environment and to help fight global warming,” Nelson said. “We would go around picking up trash on the streets of Carmel. We decided we probably need to do something that would have a greater impact.”

So, Nelson created the 10,000 Trees in Carmel Campaign with the goal of planting that many trees in the city in 10 years. He has 1,000 black cherry, black maple or redbud saplings, or baby trees, in his garage to distribute this spring.

“These trees are all native species to Indiana, which is very important to us,” said Nelson, who is a Carmel city councilor. “Now, the goal is to distribute them to anyone who wants them to plant in their yard or places of work or at their churches, synagogues or mosques, and take care of them and help them grow.”

The Carmel Cleanup Crew officially became a nonprofit last year. Nelson said approximately 400 trees were planted in 2021. This year, in honor of Earth Day on April 22, Nelson said the organization will work with Carmel High School’s Green Action Club.

“We are trying to set up something with Ivy Tech, supplying them with trees and helping them to distribute with their students,” Nelson said. “We hope youth groups, religious organizations, universities, schools and clubs will join our efforts, roll up their sleeves and get involved in the distribution and planting of trees.”

Tree Distribution Events are being planned for the weekend of April 23-24 in observance of Earth Day. Nelson has set some other events prior to Earth Day to distribute trees.

“We’ll even be going door-to-door in some neighborhoods giving away trees,” he said.

At Aaron-Ruben-Nelson Mortuary, where Nelson’s sister is president and CEO, trees will be given away to honor loved ones.

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