November is Manatee Awareness Month; but no matter what time of year it is, manatees deserve to be celebrated. These amazing creatures fulfill a unique niche by serving as indicator species for ecosystems across the United States. Because of their reliance on the health of their habitat, manatees often act as a signal of their environment’s well-being. NOAA photo by Michael Buchanan.
Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating pioneering women in the field of conservation. Throughout Interior’s history, trailblazing women challenged the status quo and made substantial contributions to society.
Take Rachel Carson -- a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee -- who worked to keep our waters healthy by exposing the dangers of DDT in her famous book “Silent Spring.” Her work as an educator, scientist and writer mobilized America’s modern environmental movement. Today, Carson’s intrepid spirit lives on at Interior with inspiring women who continue to make history and shape our relationship with nature:
Suzette Kimball: Director, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Dr. Suzette Kimball leads the world’s premier earth science agency, the USGS, which studies everything from earthquakes and volcanos to water levels and climate data. Kimball -- a scientist, scholar and author -- has shared her extensive knowledge as an environmental science professor at the University of Virginia and through her expertise on coastal ecosystem science and policy. Before working for USGS, Kimball conducted research for the National Park Services’ Global Climate Change Program. For her incredible public service, she’s received both the prestigious Presidential Rank Award as well as the Secretary of the Interior's Meritorious Service Award.
Jennifer Gimbel: Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science
Partnerships are many times the key to accomplishing our work, and Jennifer Gimbel has forged important relationships with the public and stakeholders in her prior role as the Bureau of Reclamation’s Deputy Commissioner for External and Intergovernmental Affairs. Gimbel is also an expert on water law, having served for five years as Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and represented the Attorney Generals of Colorado and Wyoming. She now works on critical drought and climate change issues like the Rio Grande River and the California Water Fix and oversees the USGS and the Bureau of Reclamation.
Janice Schneider: Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management
Janice Schneider is in charge of four Interior Department agencies -- the Bureaus of Land Management, Ocean Energy Management, Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement. Overseeing 12,000 employees and a combined budget of $1.5 billion, Schneider steers Interior’s management of energy development and conservation of public lands and waters to serve the needs of the American people for all time. Schneider brings more than 30 years of environmental and natural resources experience in the public and private sectors, having served as a fisheries biologist, environmental consultant and attorney.
Abigail Ross Hopper: Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Abigail Hopper’s legal expertise and comprehensive experience in the energy sector led her to become the second Director in the history of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Before joining Interior, Hopper spent nine years in private practice specializing in corporate law and complex merger and investment counseling. As the lead negotiator for the State of Maryland’s interests in two major merger cases, she secured millions of dollars in benefits for Maryland and its citizens. During her time as the Director of the Maryland Energy Administration, Hopper also focused on improving Maryland’s electrical resiliency in the face of major storms.
Allyson Anderson Book: Associate Director of Strategic Engagement, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
For Allyson Anderson Book, the sciences are a powerful tool for social change -- as a science fellow for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, she worked on policy related to geology and clean energy technologies. Anderson Book, who holds a Master’s degree in geology, also served as former President of the Association for Women Geoscientists. While Anderson Book started her career as a petrophysicist/senior geoscientist at ExxonMobil Exploration Company, today she prepares the next generation of STEM leaders as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Science in the Public Interest Program.