May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and the Wyoming Department of Health has given recognition to 40 schools around the state for helping protect kids from sunburn and raise awareness. Kim Deti with the health department explains why it's important to protect kids from sunburn.

Ultraviolet light causes lasting damage:

"We want children to learn how to take good care of their skin, how to avoid those sunburns, because if you have just one really bad sunburn with blisters, in childhood or adolescence, that can really increase your risk of developing melanoma, skin cancer, when you grow older. So what we want to do is help children learn good, sun safe habits when they're young, so they truly become habits."

The use of sunscreen can be second nature to kids with the school's help, says Deti.

Sun shines all year in Wyoming:

"Kids spend a lot of their day, particularly during the sun's peak hours, at school, so, we've started for the last couple of years encouraging schools to be aware of that. And since that time, 40 schools have been recognized with our award that says you're doing the right thing."

Included in the schools to receive a sun safety award were Paradise Valley Elementary and Manor Heights Elementary, of Casper.

For more information or to apply for the Wyoming Sun Safe Schools of Distinction award, contact Jessica Perez, outreach coordinator for the Wyoming Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, at (307)777-7362, or go online at