Utica, NY (WIBX) - The Genesis Group and Rome Clean & Green, were at Hugh R. Jones Elementary School in Utica this morning, to kick-off a regional cleanup initiative. The move is part of a national community improvement program titled, Keep America Beautiful. Ray J. Durso, Executive Director, The Genesis Group, said the entire month of April will be designated as Clean & Green Month in the Mohawk Valley region.

"The campaign will be on-going throughout the month and will be highlighted by a nationally themed clean-up day on Saturday, April 28th. Teams of volunteers from across the region will be out picking up litter along area roadways. We encourage all residents and business owners to get involved by cleaning up their own properties," he said.

Christian Mercurio, Deputy Director, Community and Economic Development for the City of Rome, was in attendance this morning along with students from the Rome School District. He says Rome has been very active with Clean & Green for the past decade. "Part of being sustainable is being clean and presentable. We're not going to attract the people and the jobs and the industries we want to attract by being a dirty region. So, this is one way to at least raise awareness for people to get out, go clean up their city's, take some more pride in our city's and get ready for the recovery that's going to happen and we have to take an active role in making it happen. Everybody can't contribute to certain things but everybody can do their part to make their community look better," he said.

Tanya Davis is president of the Parent, Teacher Group at Staley Upper Elementary School in Rome. She says since adopting the green initiative, Terra-Cycle Program, which kicked off on October 18, 2011, the group saw a 32.5-percent reduction in waste by the end of January 2012. She says the program really works because it instills the importance of recycling to young people.

To join the 2012 Keep America Beautiful campaign, contact, Lauren Barone in the Rome area at (315) 271-7226. Those living in Herkimer County can contact, Laura Hailston at (315) 868-0233. And, to sign up in the Utica area, contact, Ray Durso at (315) 792-7187. Officials say gloves, garbage bags and other cleanup material will be provided to all volunteers.