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.
Kevin Buffington is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University. Kevin's research focuses on modeling functional change in the intertidal zone. He is working to develop models for elevation, habitat (vegetation) and species distribution using process-based techniques. Ultimately, Kevin intends to identify how migratory shorebirds will be affected by sea-level rise at wintering and stop-over sites along the west coast. Using a subset of the Coastal Ecosystem Response to Climate Change (CERRC) program study sites, Kevin plans to develop integrated, multi-level ecosystem response models at local scales for land managers to use in their decision-making process in dealing with the challenges of climate change. Kevin received his M.S. in Biology from Idaho State University and his B.S. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.