Inspiring Young Change-Maker: Kira’s Journey from Art to Activism 

Oct 10, 2023 | Taylor Piotrowski, Canada's Forest Trust

Read Time: 5 Minutes 

Meet Kira, an inspiring young change-maker in Grade 6 with a passion that extends far beyond her classroom. While many know her as a competitive tennis player or for her beautiful singing voice, her heart lies with art and our environment, and her journey intertwines the two in the most fascinating way. 

Do you have memories of your childhood at the cottage or campsite? Kira sure does, and for her, it’s more recent. One of her fond memories is of the path leading down to the lake, painted with beams of golden sunlight during sunset. But more than the breathtaking visuals, the forest path symbolizes Kira’s sanctuary – her chance to disconnect from the city’s hustle and reconnect with herself and Mother Earth.

A small business that gives back

It was during summer camp that the Windswept Pine became the symbol of her memories at the cottage. This iconic tree of Georgian Bay, often illustrated by the famed Group of Seven, inspired Kira to carve its image into a stamp. But what started as a camp project soon blossomed into something much more impactful.

Seeing the impacts of climate change and pollution on our world, Kira turned her stamp into a line of sustainable products – right down to the packaging itself. She calls her company Windy Pine Co. From block print artwork to cards, t-shirts and more collections to come, each item embodies her commitment to the environment. To add to her mission, Kira is donating a portion of her product sales towards the growth of the Sunnybrook School Smart Forest. This commitment didn’t just start yesterday; she recalls sustainability lessons from as early as Grade 1, where she crafted eco-posters and participated in school eco-initiatives. Going to a school with eco-conscious learning built into their yearly programming has shown to be a fantastic way to educate and empower Sunnybrook Elementary students into a lifelong journey of eco-conscious living. 

Windy Pine Co. Products - Tote Bag and Block Printed Art

But it’s not just about individual actions. Kira and her peers at Sunnybrook School recognize the collective impact of small steps. When they calculated their carbon footprint, the results were eye-opening, pointing towards the increased emissions from more bussing and field trips in the post-COVID world. Seeing the significance of their school’s carbon impact drove home the point that change begins at home and every bit counts.

When learning about the many ways students can give back to our planet, Kira took to trees and waste reduction. She sees trees as providing much more than just clean air. They offer multiple benefits, such as mental health sanctuaries and areas where biodiversity can thrive. She also believes that the youth, despite feeling overwhelmed at times, can play a pivotal role in combatting climate change. From cycling to school to reducing plastic consumption, every act counts. And she’s proof of that. Through initiatives like paper reuse campaigns and trash collection drives, Kira and her Sunnybrook mates are making a difference. 

Looking ahead, Kira is excited about several initiatives, particularly her School Smart Forest Campaign. This year, Sunnybrook’s Green Team will work together to calculate the school’s carbon footprint before starting their Smart Forest Campaign to compensate for each student’s carbon emissions. Last year’s campaign was a huge success in which the school went above and beyond their carbon capture targets. With unwavering support from her parents, who share her concern for the environment, she’s on a mission to do as much as she can to reduce her footprint and encourage others to do the same. 

Sunnybrook School Grade Five Class of 2022/23

So, in a world where every little step counts, let’s cheer on and support our youth in their mission to make a substantial impact. Because, with young changemakers like Kira at the helm, there’s hope for a prosperous and sustainable future for the next generations.

To support Kira’s company and mission, head to her Instagram at @windypineco.