The Nickel Plate Trail has been a hit with Fishers residents, but its beauty doesn’t come without some helping hands! The Nickel Plate Trail Stewards program is a partnership between the city’s Volunteer Fishers initiative plus residents and businesses who dedicate time to maintaining and caring for the trail. Trail duties include picking up trash, trimming back vegetation, cleaning up animal waste, returning items to Lost & Found at City Services, and reporting damaged structures and graffiti.
We sat down with Fishers resident Larry Dawson and Burn Boot Camp Franchise Partner and Trainer Maggie Browning, both Nickel Plate Trail Stewards, to learn more about how they’re helping to keep the Nickel Plate Trail in excellent condition.
Larry Dawson, Fishers Pointe to South Street Steward
Larry Dawson (far left)
Q: What led you to volunteer as a Nickel Plate Trail Steward?
A: A number of things! I like outside work; I am not a fan of trash. So, over the years it’s been a growing passion where I’ve done various little things to clean things up and be outside more.
Q: Why do you think volunteering in your community is important?
A: In my place in life, I feel as if having some skin in the game is important, and it’s about giving back. I’m also a bicyclist, so I ride many trails, specifically the Monon and the Fall Creek trails and I’m looking forward to riding the Nickel Plate Trail.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about the Nickel Plate Trail?
A: I like the way it goes through the downtown area of Fishers –– I think that was very well done. I think the added width in the tunnel under 116th is great. Like so many trails, it shows you so many things you wouldn’t see without the trail being there.
Q: If you were trying to convince someone to volunteer more in Fishers, what would you tell them?
A: I’d probably say, “Do you feel the love of seeing this trail move forward? Are you willing to, and desire to, give the time to keep it maintained?” Community is an element I feel has diminished over the years. I’m sorry to see that because it detaches us in a way. I think volunteering can reinforce the positive sides of community.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Fishers?
A: The quality of the parks department. The parks are beautiful –– including the soon-to-be Geist Waterfront Park, which is going to be phenomenal. There are so many beautiful parks around the city.
Maggie Browning, Burn Boot Camp Franchise Partner & Trainer; South Street to North Street Steward
Q: Why do you think it’s important for your business to give back to the Fishers community?
A: Giving back to the Fishers community isn’t important; it’s imperative. My gym members live and work in this community and passing on whatever we can to contribute to that being the best experience possible for all residents is what we aim for!
Q: How did Burn Boot Camp become an NPT Steward? Were you asked to do it? Did you ask the city?
A: I believe we asked the city about this program before this program existed! After operating through the construction and seeing the transformation, we were excited to give back to this project and take some ownership in it.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being an NPT Steward?
A: I love the idea of being a contributing part of the community. Not only do we get to enjoy the amenities that Fishers provides, but we help to maintain them, too.
Q: If you were trying to convince someone to volunteer more and give back to their community, what would you tell them?
A: As a business owner and resident in Fishers, the community can only be made better if we all participate. These monumental projects are going to keep happening, and we can all have some ownership in them if we give a little bit of ourselves.
Q: Overall, what is your favorite thing about Fishers?
A: I love that even through growth, it hasn’t lost its small-town feel. People still flock to it for safety and comfort. It’s blossomed into a place that is truly where people want to be and that has been so fun to watch.
Volunteering is a vital part of any thriving community. With Fishers growing more and more each year, there are so many opportunities for residents to get involved. If you’re interested in volunteering in Fishers, check out volunteerfishers.com for more information and opportunities! In addition, if you are interested in being an NPT steward, visit the Volunteer Fishers website.
Ellie Albin is a life-long Fishers resident and graduated from Fishers High School in 2020. She currently attends Indiana University, where she is majoring in Journalism, minoring in Environmental & Sustainability Studies, and getting a certificate in Rock ‘n’ Roll History! She is a previous intern in the City of Fishers PR Department. In her free time, Ellie loves to read, hike, bake, listen to music, watch IndyCar, and cheer for the Colts. She also loves exploring Fishers with friends and family. Some of her favorite things about the city are the local coffee shops, kayaking on Geist, attending the farmers markets, and spending hours on end in the library. Watching her hometown grow into a beautiful city makes Ellie incredibly proud and makes her love Fishers even more.