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Freeport scout inspires grant donation

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The Peter & Jeri Dejana Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that donates to humanitarian causes, awarded the Girl Scouts of Nassau County a $5,000 grant in recognition of Girl Scout Leanna Pignataro, of Freeport, from Baldwin’s Troop 2144. 

In 2018, Leanna, 16, focused her Silver Award project on helping restore the honeybee population on Long Island. Leanna said the environment has long been important to her, so she and her father built a hive for about 35,000 bees. 

“The bees’ population has been decreasing over the years, which causes a lack of pollination and affects our food supplies,” Leanna said. “They’re a critical part of our ecosystem, and I had to do something to help.” 

As part of her project, “Bee Cause,” Leanna worked with a mentor, Jean-Marie Posner, the Beekeeper at the Sands Point Preserve. Posner showed Leanna the ropes on how to build the hive and care for the bees. 

At the conclusion of the project, Leanna donated her bee colony to the Sands Point Preserve, which works to conserve the local bee population and promote beekeeping through family programs.  

Posner, who also serves as a grant advisor for the Peter & Jeri Dejana Family Foundation, was the one who recommended the grant for the Girl Scouts of Nassau County in honor of Leanna.  

“I particularly admired the determination and enthusiasm displayed by Leanna,” Posner said. “I feel certain that Leanna’s achievement will inspire others to follow her leadership example.”

“I had no idea a project I worked on two years ago would come back and help the Girl Scouts like this,” Leanna said. “It feels great to see the project valued like this.” 

The funding will help support various programs and services run by the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. 

““During an unprecedented year, we are particularly reliant on generous grants such as this that will help support our Girl Scouts and the mission of our organization,” added Rande Bynum, chief executive officer, Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “We are incredibly thankful to the Peter & Jeri Dejana Family Foundation for the contribution and so grateful for incredible mentors like Ms. Posner who help our girls work on an issue they care about to take action and make a difference in their community. Leanna is a wonderful example of what Girl Scouts can do, and I commend her for her dedication.”