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Salisbury High students hold baby-friendly Environmental Fair

SALISBURY — A stroll through the Salisbury High School media center Wednesday gave a market-like experience. Students stood poised and ready by informational posters, ready to peddle their handcrafted wares.

In one corner, a group offered samples of organic, homemade baby food. Others offered the chance to touch and feel chemical-free baby wipes, while paces away a pair spooned out infant-safe lotion made from natural and essential oils.

Despite the baby-centric theme of the presentations, the cause of the gathering was something else. The students had prepared presentations as part of Salisbury High School’s fourth annual Environmental Fair.

Some of them, preparing presentations on eco-friendly holidays or vertical gardens, were students of earth and advance-placement environmental science teacher Carie Fugle. But the masses, those standing waiting and ready with products to share, are enrolled in Salisbury High’s parenting class, led by family and consumer science instructor Caasey Pegram-Tench.

“I’ve always loved bringing kids down to see all the presentations,” said Pegram-Tench, “but this year they told me they’d be interested in presenting something.”

So she used her own, environmentally friendly style of living to inspire the projects.

“I wanted them to really explore these items and the effects they have on our bodies and babies,” she said.

The products helped students put to practice the theme of this year’s fair: “One simple change can make a difference.” Going chemical-free can reduce rashes and irritation in baby skin care; making rather than buying buying food can reduce costs and contact with harmful pesticides and preservatives; and cloth rather than disposable diapers can reduce waste.

Students said their research is sure to greatly impact their choices in the future as parents.

“When I was researching this, I went to the store and looked at the ingredients in baby foods and I was shocked,” said ninth-grader Jamiyah Worthy as she showed off a simple food created with apples and carrots.  “Making this was easier and kind of fun, not to mention it’s healthier and less money.”

Jailene Trejo-Garcia and classmates prepared wipes from paper towels, dampened with a mixture of witch hazel, aloe vera, boiled water, castille soap and citrus fresh essential oil.

The group had even taken care to prevent chemical leakage from their reusable wipe container, spraying the canister with a protective coating.

“Store-bought wipes have more chemicals and additives. They’re less damp, which  requires you to use more,” she said.

“These students really took off with this task,” said Pegram-Tench. “I’m so proud of the products they’ve been able to produce. They’ve really learned that these things work just the same.”

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