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Langford student, 11, launches environmental club and inspires all ages to protect planet

Avery Stepaniuk had watched nature documentaries with her mom before, but this time felt different.

"I was sad about the earth," Avery says. "Because [I saw] there were fires going on and the ice was melting."

While many might feel overwhelmed or hopeless, the 11-year-old felt curious.

"I was like, 'What can I do [to help]?'" Avery recalls thinking.

It was a question her mom had heard before.

"She has a can-do spirit," Lisa Clarabut smiles.

Like when Avery learned that a lot of animals weren’t as lucky as her pet, she used her birthday money to donate to the SPCA. Or when her grandma was battling cancer, Avery set up a lemonade stand to raise money for research.

"She likes to do something good for the world," Lisa says.

So when Avery learned about the state of the planet, she wrote a list of things she could do to help it, which included making a couple climate change posters to inspire her fellow students, and asking her Grade Five teacher if they could be hung in the classroom.

"I thought it was really inspirational that this child had these big ideas," teacher Matthew Barker says.

Barker says Avery’s list of ideas also included the creation of some sort of environmental club at the school.

"I want everyone to know that our world is not OK," Avery says. "We need to stand up for it."

So Avery started brainstorming ideas with her mom, before getting approval from the principal at Pexsisen Elementary to launch a club, enlisting members over the morning announcements and launching weekly meetings during the lunch hour.

"Avery is a really remarkable student," Mr. Barker says. "She is just a natural leader."

Avery and her Eco Club team are committed to achieving weekly goals, from making organic compostable bird feeders to support the local wildlife, to creating informative posters to hang in the hallways, to picking up garbage around the school grounds.

"I hope more people are inspired to do what we do in a day," Avery says.

Because if we want to make a better tomorrow for young people — Avery says —all people need to do is something tangible today.

"It’s not going to get any better unless we change," Avery says. 

If you know any inspiring children you can nominate them for CFAX-1070's "Community Kids" award for a chance to be featured on CFAX Mornings Live with Al Ferraby and to win $250 to donate to a charity of their choice. Top Stories

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