By Mike Lauterborn

It was a celebration rooted in the "Good Earth." Fairfield's annual Earth Day program on Saturday featured diverse ways to enjoy the environment now and help preserve it for future generations.

The annual event at Fairfield Warde High School featured a vendors focused on energy and conservation, alternative fuel vehicles, student exhibits, sustainable gardening, recycling, music, food and even "trashy" fashions.

"Looking at all the generations on site is an embodiment of Earth Day," said state Rep. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield. "The environment is a key part of our future and this event allows people to interact and understand responsibility is a lifestyle decision."

In Fairfield, some programs are geared to instill that responsibility early on, thanks to educators like Charlene Brauns-Schindler, president of the board of the Mill River Wetland Committee. She was at the program showing kids magnified samples of water and organisms from local marsh areas, using a microscope hooked to a monitor.

In Warde's grassy courtyard, Debra Mahoney and her young team were championing the preservation of frogs. "Over 2,000 frog species have become extinct since 1967 due primarily to pesticide use. We're here from today to encourage people to sign a petition banning atrazine, the most harmful pesticide."

Elsewhere, the All-Star Energy Band was playing musical accompaniment for the "Trashy Fashions" show, featuring elementary and high school students modeling clothing they had fashioned from plastic bags, tin foil, can lids, food wrappers and other recycled materials. Cameras clicked and video cameras whirred as the young models strutted their stuff.

Visitors were all abuzz at Nancy Campbell's display. A member of the Backyard Beekeepers Association, Campbell was sampling honey and showing beeswax products. Live bees scurried about inside a vertical container. "Bees are endangered because of colony collapse, driven by pesticides," she said. "We're encouraging people to keep bees to increase the populations. We meet once a month and also mentor kids with educational programs."

At another vendor station, Alicia Palmieri, with the Fairfield Warde FCCLA (Family Career & Community Leaders of America), said, "We're selling baked goods and student-made recycled products to benefit Share Our Strength, a non-profit finding solutions to childhood hunger in the U.S."

Troop 88 Scoutmaster Bill Hall and Scouts focused on promoting square foot gardening. "Anybody can square foot garden," he said. "We're selling the kits but our scouts will also install them."

Scout Jonathan Heinzman added, "Square foot gardens are very easy to use and you can plant a variety of plants and vegetables in each grid."

Amy Bowman, whose daughters Audrey and Lilli were making noisemakers from recycled materials, said, "This is a great town program to come attend and teach our kids about the importance of protecting the environment."