NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee's capitol will have the chance to showcase its Volunteer spirit and green initiatives this spring for Keep America Beautiful Inc.'s Great American Cleanup.

"My goal is to make Nashville the greenest city in the Southeast, Mayor Dean said. "As a national Spotlight City in this year's Great American Cleanup, we have the opportunity to showcase to the rest of the country our commitment to clean streets and livable communities.

Nashville will host the final national event on May 14 with a day of community projects, volunteer cleanups and educational exhibits in and around the Tennessee Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Planned activities include a kickoff rally, "green exhibits and education programs, and community cleanups in surrounding neighborhoods.

Organizers are looking to recruit 1,000 volunteers from all 95 counties in Tennessee to demonstrate the "Volunteer State moniker in action.

 "Tennesseans have never hesitated to roll up their sleeves and get to work on making our state better, said Governor Phil Bredesen. "I applaud the volunteers who made Tennessee the first state in the nation to achieve 100 percent participation in the Great American Clean-up and I challenge all Tennesseans to keep the momentum going by volunteering for this year's event.

TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely added, "Litter is an eyesore and litter cleanup is one expense I'd like to permanently cut from our budget. Be responsible and put trash in its place. Keeping our state beautiful is a responsibility we all share.

Waveland, Miss., and New York City are the other 2009 spotlight cities. Since Hurricane Katrina, KAB has selected a community in the Gulf Coast region as a host venue to keep attention focused on cleanup and rebuilding efforts still needed there. New York's Times Square has hosted an annual Great American Cleanup kickoff rally in recent years; other host cities in the past include Chicago, Los Angeles and Sacramento, California.

"We are ˜The Volunteer State.' Our statewide voluntarism has set the national standard for the Great American Cleanup. This 2009 Nashville celebration honors these heartland efforts and will be a role model for states across America, Edith Heller, State Leader for Keep Tennessee Beautiful, said.

Each spring, the Great American Cleanup rallies more than 2 million volunteers in projects that engage individuals in improving their community's environment and quality of life. Activities include beautification projects, litter cleanups, educational events, graffiti removals, recycling drives and illegal sign removals.

"The direct impact that volunteer efforts have on a community is truly inspiring, Veronica Frazier, Metro Beautification director, said, adding that in just the last six months, local volunteers have collected approximately 150 tons of trash and debris in Davidson County.

"With that incredible statistic in mind, we enthusiastically welcome volunteers from across the great state of Tennessee for our Spotlight City Event in May, Frazier said. "We know their efforts will benefit residents and visitors to our State capitol, and also be a call to action for the many dedicated Keep America Beautiful volunteers across the nation." 

To learn more about Nashville's Great American Cleanup Party, or to volunteer for an event on May 14, please contact Vickie Ingram at Metro Beautification and Environment, (615) 862- 8418. Or visit

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