FULTON — It’s been a hot, sunny summer, perfect for being outside and enjoying the radiant sunshine. As fall approaches, it’s still perfect weather to get a serious sunburn if not careful.
Hulett Park in Fulton is a popular place for families and children to spend time outside. While the park is enjoyed by many, it offers very little natural shade. It made for an ideal location for Oswego County Opportunities Cancer Prevention in Action Program to target for its sun safety initiative.
“During the summer months most of us had far more exposure to the sun than we realize,” said Coordinator of Community Health for Oswego County Opportunities, Leanna Cleveland. “With the beautiful summer we’re having we are seeing even more sunshine. Without proper precautions, even on overcast days, unseen ultraviolet sun rays can lead to sunburn and unexpected long term skin damage. Experiencing sunburns as a child, or even a young adult, can lead to skin cancer later in life.”
Having collaborated with Cleveland in the past to establish sun safety policies in Van Buren Park and Recreation Park Kelley Weaver of Friends of Fulton Parks (FoFP) was excited to do the same at Hulett Park.
“Friends of Fulton Parks have been a great partner,” said Cleveland. “We’ve worked with Kelley for the past two years to create environmental changes across Fulton’s parks that have had a tremendously positive impact on the city. When I approached her to discuss Hulett Park she was happy to work with me.”
“I thought it was a great opportunity to fill a definite need,” said Weaver. “Sun safety is a concern of FoFP. Many visitors to the park have voiced concerns over the lack of sun safety for themselves or their children in the parks. While skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States the risk for skin cancer can be greatly reduced when certain precautions are practiced. Working together with Leanna and the city of Fulton we established a sun safety policy that stresses those precautions.”
The sun safety policy at Hulett Park promotes sun safe practices for visitors and staff and encourages the following sun safety tips:
• Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when exposed to long periods of sun.
• Wear full-brimmed hats.
• Wear sunglasses that protect 100% of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
• Apply full-spectrum (UVA & UVB) sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) to exposed skin 30 minutes before going outside in the sun. Sunscreen is provided free of charge at Hulett Park.
• Play in shaded areas, when practical.
• Seek shade when outside in the sun.
• Visitors will be encouraged and reminded to practice basic personal strategies for preventing skin cancer through onsite communications such as verbal reminders, signage and brochures at strategic locations.
In addition to the sun safety tips Friends of Fulton Parks will make shade available for visitors under sunshades as part of any new play equipment installation and will advocate for planting trees in the park.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Leanna and OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action Program on this project,” said Weaver. “It is important to have sunscreen readily available in every park. It is especially so for Hulett Park as there is very limited shade and children playing in the park’s new splash pad are now exposed to the sun even more while in their swimsuits. Thanks to OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action Program we now have sunscreen available free of charge to all visitors and staff.”
“We are hopeful that we can continue to bring sun safety policies and practices into other Fulton parks,” added Weaver. “We are also very appreciative of the support we received for this initiative from Mayor Deana Michaels and the city of Fulton.”
OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action program focuses on policies that serve as catalysts for environmental changes and educating community members on what they can do to prevent cancer.
“I appreciate the willingness of Friends of Fulton Parks and the city of Fulton to collaborate with us in establishing a sun safety policy,” said Cleveland. “The Cancer Prevention in Action program focuses on policies that serve as catalysts for environmental changes. Sun safety is paramount in preventing skin cancer and melanoma and we are happy to be partnering with them and providing them with dispensers and sunscreen to help protect visitors and staff at its parks.”
Oswego County Opportunities is a subcontractor of the St. Lawrence Health Initiative to deliver the Cancer Prevention in Action grant locally in Oswego County. To learn more about the Cancer Prevention in Action Program, which is supported with funds from the state of New York, visit takeactionagainstcancer.com.
OCO provides 50-plus services that people can access safely and securely. Check their website for updates on program schedules and community resources to help people get through this difficult time: https://www.oco.org/covid-19-updates Call the hotline 1-877-342-7618 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday for assistance with basic needs.