Child Safety

Arkansas Fights Skin Cancer With Playground Trees

A few weeks ago we told you about a new law in Alabama that, starting this school year, allows any child to apply sunscreen at school, without needing to produce a doctor’s note or a parent’s permission slip first. But there is another state working to fight skin cancers–this one with trees.

Through the Arkansas Forestry Commission’s Shade Trees on Playgrounds Program, or S.T.O.P., 10 schools in the state receive 5 trees to be planted as shade trees for the schools’ playgrounds.

Last week the Arkansas Agriculture Department announced that this year’s recipients of playground trees are:

  • Lavaca
  • Northside Elementary in Cabot
  • Newark Elementary School
  • Highland School District
  • McGehee Elementary
  • Dardanelle Elementary School
  • Sheridan Elementary School
  • Clarksville Primary School
  • University Heights Intermediate – Jonesboro
  • Clinton Elementary Sherwood

The schools in Lavaca, Cabot and Newark should have already held their tree planting ceremonies; the rest are scheduled to take place before November 02, 2017.

Every May, says the agency, schools without adequate playground shade are encouraged to apply to the S.T.O.P. program. In exchange for the trees, schools must employ a learning curriculum created by  Arkansas Forestry Commission, hold a formal tree planting ceremony and agree to appropriately care for the trees in the coming years. Forestry Commission employees help with transportation of the trees and give advise on planting.

Skin Cancer & Childhood Exposure

Cancer experts have known for years that childhood sun exposure directly influences a person’s risk of developing skin cancers in adulthood. “Just a few serious sunburns,” says the Centers for Disease Control, is enough to raise a child’s risk. CDC formally recommends that schools schedule recess and outdoor activities to minimize sun exposure. Planting trees, says the agency, should also be considered.

Kids at ten schools will get playground shade trees to prevent skin cancer.

The CDC urges parents and schools to work to minimize UV ray exposure during recess. Playground shade trees are part of the agency’s official recommendation.


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