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Carmel Clay Parks & Rec offers reward for removing invasive species

Are you up to the challenge? Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR) is working to eradicate invasive species and they need your help!

In celebration of Earth Day (April 22), Arbor Day (April 26), and Indiana’s Invasive Species Awareness Week (April 7 – 13) CCPR challenges you to trade invasive for native. Remove an invasive Bradford pear tree or bush honeysuckle shrub on your property, or volunteer with CCPR in April, and you will receive a free Indiana native tree or shrub seedling.

“We’re dedicated to providing quality habitat with our park land, which often includes resource restoration and removing invasive species,” said Michael Allen, director of parks and natural resources for CCPR. “We’re thrilled to educate our community about the negative impacts of invasive species and invite them to have a hand in protecting the natural resources that belong to all of us.”

Remove invasive species from your property

As we move further into April many backyard invasive species begin to green. Invasive species are aggressive plants – not native to the area where they are growing – that cause harm to the surrounding ecosystem. Some of the most aggressive invasive species in local neighborhoods are Bradford pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) and bush honeysuckle shrubs (Lonicera maackii). Both of these invasive species can easily be wrangled by the property owner before they take off for the growing season.

All you have to do is send a picture of yourself with your cut down or removed invasive species to, and you can come pick up your free tree seedling. Tree seedlings are sourced from the Department of Natural Resources’ tree nursery and are ~1 year old bare root seedlings.

Volunteer with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation

Volunteers for any CCPR program or service day in April will receive a free Indiana native tree or shrub seedling. Volunteer days in April include National Playground Safety Week on April 24 where volunteers will assist in mulching playgrounds, and Arbor Day on April 27 where volunteers will assist in planting native trees and removing invasive species at Lawrence W. Inlow Park. CCPR also has several opportunities for volunteers to help with recreational programming.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities and register at

Seedlings can be picked up at the CCPR Dog Park parking lot, at 1427 E. 116th Street, on Monday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you are unable to pick up your seedling during the scheduled pick up times, please contact CCPR volunteer coordinator Joanna Woodruff at

If you are unsure of your property lines, please confirm with your local jurisdiction before cutting down the invasive species and planting your new seedling.

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