Neighborhood Post: Local High School Student, Nicholas Ranieri, serves on National Environmental Youth Advisory Council
By Tiffany Smith, for the Neighborhood Post
PALM CITY, Fla.– Banner Lake and Booker Park are more beautiful thanks to the efforts of a Martin County High School student, Nicholas Ranieri, 16, of Palm City. For two years in a row, Ranieri has served on Keep America Beautiful’s Youth Advisory Council, a prestigious service-learning and leadership development program, along with ten other high school students from across the nation. In this time, he has successfully completed multiple community service projects in Martin County that have creatively reshaped the environment.
During Ranieri’s first term on the Youth Advisory Council, he implemented his own beautification project in Booker Park, an economically-challengedneighborhood in Indiantown, and coordinated the planting of several trees throughout the area. During his current term on the Council, Ranieri partnered with the Banner Lake Club, the Boy Scouts and Jenkins Landscape to create a unique trail in Banner Lake Park in Hobe Sound. The trail, called “Story Walk®” is made up of a dozen trees: four newly planted and eight existing trees. A page of a story is posted at each tree. Teachers, students, families and others are now able to use it as a self-guided educational tool walking through the trail, encouraged to stop at each tree along the way to complete the story.
“I’ve been involved in different ways with Keep Martin Beautiful and community improvement projects since I was a little kid. Being on the Youth Advisory Council was a natural extension of that. It’s been very rewarding to be given some funds from Keep America Beautiful that I could use for these and other projects at my school and know my small contribution is making a difference in the community,” said Nicholas Ranieri. “It is vital that the importance of environmental stewardship begins with us. The values instilled with the youth of our community will carry on with us to adulthood. The Story Walk® tree trail will serve as an educational tool to young and old for generations to come.”
“We appreciate the work that Nicholas has done and how others have stepped up as well and shown such generosity toward improving the Banner Lake community,” added Simone Scott, Banner Lake Club Director. “When it was time for Nicholas to write the check to the owner of Jenkins Landscape to partially reimburse them for the thousands of dollars worth of trees they installed for our Story Walk® project, newly elected Martin County Commissioner Harold Jenkins refused. Instead, Mr. Jenkins asked that those monies be donated to the Banner Lake Club. The $500 will help us to continue to maintain and beautify Banner Lake Park and we are very grateful for everyone’s support.”
This year, Ranieri is planning to implement another tree trail project in Golden Gate, a historic neighborhood in Stuart. In addition to his beautification efforts in Martin County, he will continue to learn the latest practices in environmental protection and preservation at the annual Keep America Beautiful National Conference in Washington D.C. on January 24-26, where he will join members of the Youth Advisory Council, as well as affiliates of Keep America Beautiful from throughout the country.
About Keep Martin Beautiful
Keep Martin Beautiful (KMB) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization founded in 1994 as an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. Its mission is to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Martin County through litter prevention, the promotion of recycling, improvement of solid waste management practices, and beautification and community revitalization activities. KMB signature events and programs include the annual Environmental Stewardship Awards, the International Coastal Cleanup, the Great American Cleanup, the Adopt-A-Road and Adopt-A-Street programs, and other educational and outreach activities. For more information visit keepmartinbeautiful.org, or call 772-781-1222. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter& Instagram.
About the Banner Lake Club
The Banner Lake Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Hobe Sound, primarily those in and around the Banner Lake Community requiring income