TCPalm: Martin County High student completes another beautification project
By Tiffany Smith, for TCPalm
PALM CITY — 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 10 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 challenged neighborhood 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. A page of a story is posted at each tree. Teachers, students, families and others are 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,” Ranieri said. “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 shown such generosity toward improving the Banner Lake community,” said 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 the money 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 in Golden Gate, a historic neighborhood southeast of Stuart.