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Local groups throughout Philadelphia have been organizing cleanup efforts in the city for years, but this Saturday they received a big boost from Mayor Nutter's new initiative to clean up Philadelphia.

Volunteers from all over the city, including many Penn students, spent Saturday morning picking up trash, planting trees and raking leaves as part of Nutter's Philly Spring Cleanup.

College junior Ashley Templeton, a board member at Civic House, organized a group of seven students who worked with local residents and Red Cross volunteers to clean an abandoned lot at 40th and Baring streets.

"I think Philadelphia as a whole is way behind other cities when it comes to anything environmental," she said. "I'm really happy the mayor took the initiative to do something widespread as a city to clean things up."

University City District Marketing Director Lori Brennan said the UCD has been organizing volunteers to cleanup University City for years, but the number of volunteers involved in this campaign is significantly larger, thanks to Nutter's involvement.

"We have a dynamic new mayor and people are excited to rally around him," she said.

The Enterprise Center, a local group that was founded by the Wharton Small Business Development Center - which has also arranged for volunteers to participate in past cleanup efforts - organized a group of more than 300 volunteers on Saturday.

Danielle Toaltoan, who works for the WSBDC's Enterprise Center, helped organize volunteers to clean around 51st and Chestnut streets. She said this cleanup solicited many more offers for help than their usual projects.

"We more than tripled the number of volunteers we had in the fall," Toaltoan said, crediting Nutter's position as a spokesman for the increase.

Engineering sophomore Brian Recchione spent the day planting trees around 47th Street and Woodland Avenue as a part of a project arranged by a variety of Greek organizations on campus.

"I think it's a great cause," Recchione said. "Philadelphia definitely has a chance to become a really great city if people put in the effort to clean it up."

College junior Kevin Levy, who participated in the Civic House cleanup, expressed similar thoughts, saying that it was rewarding "to accomplish something that will benefit the community and make the community look a lot nicer and hopefully make people feel a lot better about where they live."

That is exactly what Nutter hoped to accomplish with the Philly Spring Cleanup, according to his deputy press secretary Luke Butler.

"During the course of the campaign the mayor traveled to all areas of the city," he said. "One thing that struck him was just how dirty some of the streets were."

This observation led Nutter to implement a cleanup campaign when he was inaugurated to make Philadelphia a cleaner and safer city. Butler said the campaign will continue throughout the summer, though he did not know any specific plans for future projects.

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