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Student Poster Contest Shines Light on Northwest Sun Safety

Release Date: 03/04/2009
Contact Information: Luke Hall-Jordan, EPA Outreach and Education/Washington, D.C. 202-343-9591,; Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs/Seattle 206-553-0454,

Annual competition gives students a chance to raise awareness and win prizes
Deadline-- April 13

(Seattle, Wash. – March 4, 2009) Calling all young artists! Do you know something about sun safety? Do you want the chance to go to Disney World? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its partners want to recognize you for your awesome art and your sun savvy. The sun is starting to peek out from behind the clouds in the Pacific Northwest, but the need to take precautions against harmful UV rays is a year-round concern.

Students can help raise awareness about sun safety and win prizes by entering the 2009 SunWise with SHADE poster contest. SunWise is a program developed by the EPA to extend sun safety education in schools and communities.

“Doing my poster was a lot of fun, and so was going around town getting votes,” said 2007 co-winner Katie M. “So many people I met knew someone with melanoma. My dad has had melanoma and I think it’s important to let other people know about it.”

Too much sun can lead to skin cancer, immune system suppression and eye damage. More than 65,000 students have helped spread the message of sun safety by participating in this annual contest since 2003.

In 2008, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire became the first governor in the nation to declare a state SunWise. Washington has partnered with the EPA to make sun safety education a priority in schools by using the SunWise Tool Kit, which offers information on sun-safe activities such as using sunscreen and wearing hats. Washington has one of the highest melanoma incidence rates in the country.

Sun protection is especially important for children because unprotected exposure in childhood increases the chances of developing the most dangerous forms of skin cancer and melanoma. One in 58 children born in 2008 will develop melanoma during their lifetime—almost 20 times higher than for people born in 1930. In fact, more people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined

About This Contest

Students in grades K-8 can submit hand-drawn posters by April 13 with an attached official entry form. Entries must be original, creative, and should show ways to prevent skin cancer and raise sun safety awareness.

This annual contest is a joint effort by the SHADE Foundation of America, WeatherBug Schools and the EPA SunWise Program to teach children ways to protect their skin. Voting will begin in late April, and the national winner will be announced on the first-ever, annual National Sun Safety Day (“Don't Fry Day”) — May 22. Winning posters will receive state and national prizes, with the top national winner receiving a family trip to Disney World and a WeatherBug Tracking Station for his/her school (courtesy of WeatherBug Schools, SHADE Foundation of America, and Walt Disney World Resort).

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 too much sun.

For more information about SunWise and the 2009 poster contest, go to

For More information on EPA and children’s health, go to