Charen Fegard is a Recycling and Toxics Educator and single mom in Vermont

After leaving an RN program and earning a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Charen Fegard worked in the Civil Service in Haz-Mat Environmental Compliance on overseas military bases. She has worked for local non-profits including Forest Watch, the Boys & Girls Club of the White River Valley and, since 2006, AVR. As AVR’s Environmental Health Programs Manager, she performed outreach, education and technical consulting with school students, staff and administrators and the public about toxic chemicals commonly found in cleaning products, working in over 70 Vermont schools leading workshops or helping staff and administrators learn how to reduce toxins and improve indoor air quality. In 2008, Charen’s professional responsibilities expanded to include addressing solid waste issues. Now she also helps institutions identify opportunities to reduce solid waste through education and technical assistance and she educates youngsters and adults about the connections between waste and global climate change.

“I am a mother. I have two precious children. Like all children born today, they took their first breaths with at least 25 toxic petrochemicals coursing through their veins, altering their immune, organ and neurological systems, silently setting the stage for health complications and earlier deaths. But first, I was a daughter, who was orphaned by Breast Cancer. My mother was 26 when the disease stole her life. I am an only child because there was no time to nurture more life in her failing body. One in seven women will struggle with this disease now, up from one in fifteen when I was a child. The only difference is the number and quantity of petrochemicals we are being exposed to. In the E.U., governments pay for the people’s health care. This is the powerful incentive that has them banning toxins like Atrazine and other pesticides that are destroying us one mono-culture crop, one farm field, one lawn, one flea treatment, one hand-wash at a time. These chemicals not only accumulate in our bodies and wreak havoc; they wipe out the natural predators of pests, they poison waters, fish, birds, other mammals, reptiles, amphibians. They are altering our world with such speed and efficiency, that we cannot record what we are losing fast enough to fully understand what we have lost.“