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.
Sarah is a PhD student at Oregon State University in the Department of Forest Ecosystems & Society pursuing a major in Forest Science and a minor in Ecosystem Informatics. Her research focuses on understanding bird species distributions in mountainous environments, both in the Oregon Cascades (Andrews Forest) and the White Mountains of New Hampshire (Hubbard Brook). At both sites, she is investigating the relative roles of climate, vegetation, and species interactions in driving bird distributions. Most of Sarah's research investigates both within- and between-season dynamics of forest birds. Using the dataset of bird occurrences from Hubbard Brook (1999-2012), she is looking at long-term population trends and changes in distributions across the elevational gradient. With the 4-year dataset from the Andrews Forest (2009-2012), her research focuses on understanding the role of microclimate due to complex terrain as a mechanism for buffering against macroclimate warming.