Albany, NY (WIBX) - Earth Day is quickly approaching and to mark the event, the New York State Canal System -- in partnership with Parks and Trails New York and the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation -- is calling on volunteers to join the Sixth Annual "Canal Clean Sweep" campaign.

The aim is to mark Earth Day by cleaning up Canal lands and the Canalway Trail. The event is scheduled for the weekend of April 15 - 17, and officials say groups are encouraged to start organizing to help kick-off the beautification activities. "It's an opportunity for people to get out along the Canal and the Canalway Trails to help clean up and beautify the resources," said Trails Director John Dimura.

Dimura says some of the activities can include things like picking up garbage and brush, removing debris, or helping to restore dilapidated areas of the trail. Overall, he says, the activities consist of removing the litter that's accumulated over the winter. "It's being held in recognition of Earth Day and in advance of the 187th consecutive navigation season on the New York State Canal System," he said.

Last year, 95 groups participated and this year organizers are hoping more people will come out to support the green initiative. "We're hoping to top 100 this year and so far we have 25 events registered, which is a little ahead of where we were at last year at this time," Dimura said.

In a released statement Matthew J. Driscoll, president and CEO of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation said, "EFC is proud to partner with the Canal Corporation to celebrate Earth Day and promote the Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep. EFC encourages canal communities, partners, and volunteers to take part in the various cleanup events throughout the canal system and Canalway Trail. Volunteers can take pride in knowing that their cleanup and beautification activities during this weekend-long event will not only help the environment, but protect the beauty and water quality of our historic waterways for years to come."

For more information on the Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep, or to help coordinate an event in your community, please contact Wally Elton of Parks and Trails New York at (518) 434-1583 or email To register events online, please visit Parks and Trails New York's website at

Earth Day is Friday, April 22, 2011, and the deadline to register to join or form a group for the Canal Clean Sweep campaign is March 2.