By Rob Landolfi
Walk into the average person’s workspace, and there’s a good chance you’ll see some art made by a special young person. In my cube it’s a poster of “Fluffy, the Sun Burn Horse-maid.” As with most endearing children’s artwork, this poster has its share of misspelled words, a heavy reliance on primary colors, a Picasso-like sense of perspective and proportion, and some wildly creative subject matter. Usually the owner of such art is the parent or some other relative of the artist. I don’t know the genius behind Fluffy at all but I feel pride and joy in it just the same.
Fluffy is an entry in the SunWise with SHADE poster contest, and is one student’s effort to teach others how to avoid the dangers of too much sun exposure—one of over 100,000 such posters sent in over the years. I’m proud to have helped so many kids protect their own health and use their creativity and talents to teach other kids to do the same, and I’m joyful because I recognize in Fluffy the hallmarks of serious learning and serious fun. I taught middle- and high-school science for 10 years before coming to EPA, and I’ve worked with enough messy science fair projects to know that nothing engages a student’s brain like the ability to bring something original and personal to a topic, and to spread understanding and ideas to her peers, regardless of how polished the final product turns out. I may never fathom why Fluffy wears a shirt that says, “Rock N’ Nose,” but I don’t have to understand that to know that this student really took in some important ideas about science and health, and had a good time telling other kids about those ideas.
So, if you know any K-8 teachers or kids in this age group, let them know about our fun and educational poster contest. The deadline is fast approaching – April 1st.
About the author: Rob Landolfi works with EPA’s SunWise Program to fight skin cancer, cataracts, and other disease by teaching people about the health risks of UV exposure. He also helps manage the SunWise with SHADE poster contest.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.