Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced funding of more than $10 million awarded by Interior's regional Climate Science Centers to universities or other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.
The 69 studies at eight climate science centers focus on how climate change will affect natural resources. For example, various projects identify how sea-level rise will affect coastal resources, how climate will affect vegetation, how these changes will affect valued species such as sage grouse, and how changes in water availability will affect both people and ecosystems—and ecosystem services such as fisheries. Several studies address the potential effects on resources of concern to Native Americans, some by using traditional ecological knowledge to advance adaptation planning.
Each of the Department of the Interior's eight Climate Science Centers worked with the universities supporting the CSCs, states, tribes, federal agencies, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, and other regional partners to identify the highest priority management challenges in need of scientific input, and to solicit and select research projects.
"Climate Science Centers are off and running to meet the needs of those who must safeguard our precious natural resources as the climate changes. These projects demonstrate the benefits of our national climate science strategy, which is focused on the needs of managers in each region," said Secretary Salazar.
The studies will be undertaken by teams of scientists from the universities that comprise each CSC, from USGS science centers, and from other partners such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USDA Forest Service, Indian tribes, and the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives in each region.
"These projects demonstrate a powerful and growing partnership between USGS scientists and their academic and agency science colleagues," said Secretary Salazar. "By tapping this deep well of expertise, and linking it with USGS expertise, CSCs help direct the right science capacity to where it can do the most, and avoid duplication and waste."
DOI Climate Science Centers serve as the regional hubs of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, located at the headquarters of Interior's U.S. Geological Survey. CSCs and LCCs have been created under Interior's national climate science strategy. USGS is taking the lead on establishing the CSCs and providing initial staffing. Together, Interior's CSCs and LCCs will assess the impacts of climate change and other landscape-scale stressors that typically extend beyond the borders of any single national wildlife refuge, national park or Bureau of Land Management unit and will identify strategies to ensure that resources across landscapes are resilient.