Sun Smart Schools start in Gardnerville |

Sun Smart Schools start in Gardnerville

Staff Reports
Executive Director Cari Herington and her staff at the Nevada Cancer Coalition present a sun safety program Thursday at Gardnerville Elementary.
Brad Coman |

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., and rising. People born in 2015 have a 1 in 50 chance of developing Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. To help prevent that the Douglas County School District and the Nevada Cancer Coalition introduced Sun Smart Schools with an assembly at Gardnerville Elementary School on Thursday.

Sun Smart Schools is a sun safety education program. The goal is to begin reversing the growing incidence of skin cancer through education, policy, and environmental changes, such as providing greater access to shade and sunscreen.

Automatic sunscreen dispensers have been installed in each school, and students, teachers, staff, and parents will be provided opportunities to learn about the sun and sun safety practices throughout the year. A district-wide sun safety policy is being studied.

GES Principal Shannon Brown was awarded “champion status” for his work to include the school in the program. In addition, fast-growing autumn blaze maple trees, expected to grow to a height of 50 feet and a width of 40 feet and provide sun protection were donated by Minden’s Mountain View Tree Farm owners Rob and Kathy Rice and the GES parent-teacher organization provided funds to purchase several more.

Douglas is the first school district in Nevada to implement the Sun Smart Schools program in all its schools. Seven other schools statewide participated in the pilot program during the school year.

Sun Smart Schools is modeled after successful evidence-based programs in Arizona, Colorado, and Australia.