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Poster Contest Illuminates Sun-Safe Behaviors - Annual competition gives students chance to raise awareness, win prizes; deadline: April 7, 2010

Release Date: 11/05/2009
Contact Information: Dave Bary at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(Dallas, Texas – November 5, 2009) Students can help raise awareness about sun safety and win prizes by entering the 2010 SunWise with SHADE poster contest . The annual contest is a joint effort by the SHADE Foundation of America, WeatherBug Schools and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to teach children ways to protect their skin and eyes from excessive sun exposure. Last year’s winner, a 13-year-old from Bernville, Pennsylvania, showed a girl talking to her friend about her unhealthy relationship with the sun.

Too much sun can lead to skin cancer, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression. Sun protection is especially important for children because unprotected exposure in childhood increases the chances of developing the most dangerous form of skin cancer, melanoma. One in 55 children born in 2005 will develop melanoma during their lifetime—almost 30 times higher than the rate for people born in 1930.

“As the school year gets under way, this contest is the perfect forum to remind families and schools that simple steps like wearing hats, sunglasses and shirts, using sunscreen, and staying in the shade can greatly reduce their risk of getting a sunburn, or worse, skin cancer,” said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Lawrence E. Starfield. “In fact, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The SunWise with SHADE poster contest is a fun, creative way to increase awareness of the importance of being safe in the sun.”

In 2009, the poster contest featured entrants from all states in EPA’s Region 6, a noteworthy accomplishment. State winners included:

      Arkansas: Alexis B. of Greers Ferry
      Louisiana: Deborah K. of Mandeville
      New Mexico: Angel R. of Las Cruces
      Oklahoma: Jessica S. of Tulsa
      Texas: Kaylie M. of Hewitt

The contest due date is April 7, 2010. Starting this year, there are two age categories for poster entries—kindergarten through third grade, and fourth through eighth grade. Students in both categories must submit hand-drawn posters on 8.5 x 11 inch pieces of paper. Entries must be original, creative, show ways to prevent skin cancer and raise sun safety awareness, and must be attached to an official entry form, which can be found at http://www.shadefoundation.org/programs/poster-contest/ .

Poster winners receive state and national prizes, with the national winner in the 4th-8th grade category receiving a family trip to Disney World and a WeatherBug Tracking Station for his/her school with lifetime access to WeatherBug Achieve.
The WeatherBug Schools Program (http://www.weatherbugschools.com ) is committed to providing an engaging teaching tool for schools nationwide. With WeatherBug, teachers can create customized learning activities based on current and historical weather conditions from the WeatherBug Tracking Station and compare local conditions to 8,000 other stations nationwide.

The SHADE Foundation’s mission is to eradicate melanoma through the education of children and the community in the prevention and detection of skin cancer and the promotion of sun safety.

EPA’s SunWise Program is an environmental and health education program that uses classroom and community tools to teach children and their caregivers how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun.

More than 80,000 students have helped spread the message of sun safety by participating in the annual contest since its creation in 2003. Additional information on SunWise and the 2010 SHADE poster contest is available at http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/

More about activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/region6

EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/podcast/nov2009.html
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