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.
The Cobell Education Scholarship Fund (Scholarship Fund) was authorized by the Cobell Settlement and is designed to provide financial assistance to American Indian and Alaska Native students wishing to pursue post-secondary education and training. The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program) provides partial funding to the Scholarship Fund.
The Department of the Interior makes transfers quarterly to the Scholarship Fund from the Buy-Back Program based upon sales completed during that quarter. The transfer amount is capped at $60 million for the life of the Buy Back Program. The quarterly transfers will not reduce the payment amount that a landowner will receive when participating in the program to sell their land interests.
Funds are transferred into the Scholarship Fund based on a formula explained in the Cobell Settlement. The Cobell Settlement set aside a certain amount of money to be used for the Scholarship Fund. The specific amount deposited into the Scholarship Fund is based on the individual value of each interest sold:
For every purchase of a fractionated interest that totals less than $200, $10 will be deposited into the Scholarship Fund;
For every purchase of a fractionated interest that totals between $200 and $500, $25 will be deposited into the Scholarship Fund; and
For those purchases of a fractionated interest that total over $500, 5% of the purchase price will be deposited into the Scholarship Fund.
As of July 2016, the Buy-Back Program has transferred nearly $40 million to the Scholarship Fund.
The Cobell Board of Trustees is responsible for the oversight and supervision of the activities of the Scholarship Fund, including developing and adopting a charter and playing a role in administering the organization. For more information, go to: http://cobellscholar.org.