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.
Over the last three decades wildfires in the American West have gotten bigger and more frequent, exacting a significant economic toll. University of Washington's Harry Podschwit is one of only a few dozen statisticians in the world tackling the question of fire ecology. As one of the newest Northwest Climate Science Graduate Fellows Harry will take a statistically sophisticated approach to modeling megafires that will allow him to compare the relative importance of variables like air temperature, wind speed, and fuel moisture. This new approach may eventually allow him to address management relevant questions such as “Does fire suppression have a statistically significant effect on burn size?” Harry is also working to develop a portable software package that managers can customize to create their own wildfire probability maps. This tool will help stakeholders across the west as they decide how best to manage natural resources in the face of climate change.