SunWise Program for communities
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SunWise Communities is a pilot program that seeks to reach more people with sun safety messages by coordinating and promoting the use of SunWise educational activities in school classrooms, informal education venues such as science and children’s museums and other community-based programs. The idea is to reinforce sun safety messages throughout the community—not just in K-8 classrooms—to get people to change their behavior when it comes to protecting themselves from the harmful health effects of UV exposure.
Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon proclaimed May 22, 2009—the first-ever Don't Fry Day—"SunWise Day" in Salt Lake County, Utah in an effort to encourage County residents to adopt sun-safe behaviors. As part of Mayor Corroon’s proclamation, Salt Lake County has asked area schools to participate in SunWise Schools, a program designed to teach children how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun.
Additionally, all 10 Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation outdoor swimming pools will host a county-wide “Don’t Fry Day” event to encourage sun-wise behaviors. Additionally each County pool has partnered with a local school to provide SunWise teaching packets and interactive lessons. The Parks and Recreation staff throughout the summer will encourage Salt Lake County residents to incorporate sun-safe behaviors into their daily activities.
Read the press release.
Read the letter to schools.
Read the proclamation.
In July 2008, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and EPA's SunWise Program began working to make Washington a "SunWise State." According to the most recent data (2004) from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER), Washington has the fifth-highest melanoma incidence rate and the seventh-highest melanoma fatality rate in the country. Additionally, incidence rates in counties bordering Puget Sound and those located in the state’s extreme eastern area are among the highest in Washington. In fact, melanoma occurs as often, if not more often, in the cloudy and rainy parts of the state as in the traditionally sunnier regions.
Because of this, Gregoire is asking schools across the state to participate in SunWise Schools, teach children about the dangers of overexposure to the sun and equip them with the skills to protect themselves. By using the program’s SunWise Tool Kit, students will learn about sun-safe activities, such as wearing sunscreen, seeking shade during midday hours, wearing a hat and sunglasses, and other actions that can significantly reduce their lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.
EPA estimates that if every K-8 school in Washington taught SunWise every year for five years, more than 500 cases of skin cancer and 2 premature deaths could be prevented.
Read the press release.
Read Governor Gregoire's proclamation (PDF) (2 pp, 52K).
Since melanoma incidence in Cobb County is more than 50 percent higher than the national average, EPA, Wellstar Health System and the Cobb County School District teamed up in the summer of 2007 to improve sun protection in the county. To start, every K-8 school in the district received SunWise Tool Kits, and EPA attended several community fairs in the county. On May 7, 2008, Cobb County Board of Commissioners Chairman Samuel Olens proclaimed it "SunWise Day" in Cobb County, and has pledged to encourage all county students and their families to learn about and practice sun-safe behaviors. To celebrate this occasion, a kick-off event was held at Harmony Leland Elementary School in Mableton, GA. Read the press release.
Additionally, working with the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Relay for Life event on May 9, 2008 will be designated SunWise. Information for children and adults on sun protection will be distributed. Future plans for SunWise Cobb County include:
- In-school public service announcements broadcast over school TV station
- Presenting information to the school district parent teacher organizations
- Sending home a letter to parents with information on sun safety and what's in a good sunscreen
- Reaching out to youth sports coaches
- Collaboration with County parks and recreation facilities
On April 22, 2008 -- Earth Day -- Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, with the help of SHADE Foundation of America’s Founder and President, Shonda Schilling, and then-EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, announced Boston’s commitment to protecting the environment and its residents from skin cancer by becoming a model SunWise Community. As part of becoming a SunWise Community, Mayor Menino proclaimed April 22, “SunWise Day” in Boston, and pledged to work with SHADE and EPA throughout the year to provide shade, sunscreen, and a quality SunWise education to the City’s youth and families.
The City of Boston has pledged to plant 100,000 trees by 2020, increasing the city's canopy cover by 60 percent, and will be incorporating SunWise into this summer's Boston R.O.C.K.S!!! program. EPA selected Boston as a SunWise Community because of these actions, and the city's commitment to educating residents and city staff about the need for sun protection, and providing them with sun safety tools and resources. The Swingset Mamas were also on hand to perform their hit song, "Sunscreen Dance."
Read Mayor Menino's proclamation (PDF) (2 pp, 57K).
Read the press release.
On May 15, 2007, State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster and representatives from Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Wisconsin's Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and EPA were on hand at Northside Elementary in Sun Prairie, WI to announce Wisconsin’s becoming a SunWise Community. EPA, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Wisconsin's Comprehensive Cancer Control Program joined forces to distribute EPA's K-8 skin cancer prevention program, SunWise, to every school district in the state. More than 400 health educators received the SunWise Tool Kit with lesson plans and activities for learning about sun safety.
By using EPA's SunWise Tool Kit, students learn about sun-safe activities, such as wearing sunscreen, seeking shade during midday hours, wearing a hat and sunglasses, and other actions that can significantly reduce their lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.
Read the press release.
In May 2007, EPA continued its successful rollout of SunWise Communities in Pierce County, WA. On behalf of Pierce County, which is located next to King County, WA, Executive John Ladenburg:
- Proclaimed May 7 SunWise Day and encouraged Pierce County residents to practice EPA’s SunWise Action Steps when participating in outdoor activities.
- Sent a letter on behalf of EPA to all Pierce County schools encouraging staff and students to use the free SunWise Tool Kit.
To kick-off SunWise in Pierce County, EPA held an event at Lowell Elementary School in Tacoma, WA with the 4th grade classes, their teachers and principal, Deputy Superintendent of the Tacoma School District, Ethelda Burke, and Suzie Dicks, member of Congressional Families Action for Cancer Awareness and wife of Congressman Norm Dicks.
On the first day of summer, June 21, 2007, King County announced its plans to continue promoting sun safety. With the help of King County Executive Ron Sims, King County encouraged its residents to be smarter about protecting their skin in the sun.
- Executive Sims proclaimed June 21, 2007, SunWise Awareness Day and encouraged King County residents to practice EPA’s SunWise Action Steps when participating in outdoor activities. [Read the proclamation]
- The county posted sun safety messages on the Public Health and County Executive Web sites.
- The county will send a letter to summer camps, day camps and child care centers encouraging them to sign up for EPA’s free SunWise Tool Kit.
- The county will distribute EPA’s Be SunWise UV-sensitive wristbands to summer and day camps, and at outdoor-related public health events, health fairs, and other summer events.
The 2007 efforts build on the May 2006 launching of SunWise Communities program in King County. As the first SunWise Community in the nation, Executive Sims:
- Proclaimed May 1 SunWise Day by encouraging King County residents to practice EPA's SunWise Action Steps when participating in outdoor activities.
- Sent a letter on behalf of EPA to all King County schools encouraging staff and students to use the free SunWise tool kit, which provides a fun and easy-to-use sun safety and ozone science curriculum.
- Created a “SunWise Zone” at a local school to kick-off SunWise Communities in Seattle and encourage the student body to be burn free during the summer.
On August 3, 2005, SunWise joined Houston Mayor Bill White at the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science in Houston, Texas to launch the first SunWise community-wide initiative, SunWise Cities. [Read about Houston's efforts]
Currently, there are more than 180 registered SunWise programs in schools and community organizations throughout Houston. These programs are working to teach children simple steps that will reduce their lifetime risk of skin cancer.
To become a SunWise City, Houston agreed to the following criteria:
Encourage residents to practice EPA’s SunWise Action Steps when participating in outdoor activities.
- Endorse SunWise programs within schools and informal education programs including city parks and recreation, after-school programs, summer camps, and children’s science centers.
- Develop a sun safety policy for city outdoor workers that includes the SunWise Action Steps.
- Promote SunWise Action Steps at all city-sponsored events and venues.
To learn how your community can be come a SunWise Community, please contact Luke Hall-Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.