The 10 kids who gathered at the Toronto Botanical Gardens Oct. 5 have done more in a few short years to reduce their community’s environmental footprint than many adults have done in a lifetime.

There was 10-year-old Adrian, who, after watching An Inconvenient Truth, took it upon himself to survey his neighbours in Hamilton to find out whether they knew how to properly recycle.

He found an alarming number of people didn’t know what could and couldn’t be recycled, so he took a plan of action to the city’s waste management department and convinced it to change its website so proper recycling practices were much clearer for the public to understand.

Then there was 13-year-old Ciara from Stratford, Ont., who enlisted a group of her school peers to help her collect, rinse and recycle milk cartons at school. “Roughly 1,000 milk cartons went into the landfill every two weeks,” she explains.

In six months, Ciara and her crew recycled some 13,000 milk cartons and launched the school’s ongoing milk carton recycling program.

These youth, ranging in age from six to 13 years old, from communities across Canada, were on hand to help launch an inspiring new program called Sunlight Green Clean Kids that aims to reward other environmentally conscious Canadian youth with grants of between $250 and $1,500 to help them put their green ideas into action.

In total, Sunlight is giving away $50,000 in grants over the next year.

Along with eco-experts from various Canadian environmental organizations, the eco-conscious kids are part of a panel that will review grant applications submitted by other kids and award Green Grants to those with the best ideas.

“Think about the impact they alone have had on other kids, neighbours, friends, their parents, schools and the community,” said Sarah Deller, a project manager with Evergreen, a non-profit group that preserves and enhances urban green spaces.

“Now imagine the groundswell of positive eco efforts that will happen when other kids across the country are encouraged to take similar eco-action.”

To apply, kids have to send in an application and share their green ideas in 150 words or less. To learn more about the program, visit www.SunlightGreenCleanKids.ca.