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.
In Hawai'i and the other Pacific islands, seascapes and landscapes are woven into the identity and practices of dozens of cultures with more than 20 spoken languages and thousands of cultural sites, places, and landforms. The region is largely dependent on rainfall-fed ground water and aquifers for freshwater, and virtually everyone lives, works, or harvests food in the coastal zone, including the major population centers as well as other ports and associated critical infrastructure across the region. Climate change is already impacting uplands, coastlines, nearshore reef environments, and leeward or low-rainfall areas as a result.
The research direction taken by the PI CSC is guided by the PI CSC Five-Year Science Agenda for 2014-2018. This document describes the role and interactions of the PI CSC among its partners and stakeholders, clarifies the responsibilities of the Center to its partners, defines a context for climate impacts in the PI CSC region, and establishes the science priorities that the Center will address through research.
The PI CSC has identified four priority science themes that will drive the CSC's regional science program:
Theme 1: Guidance for Anticipated Intermediate-Term Climate Changes
Theme 2: Potential Effects of Changing Climate on Freshwater Resources
Theme 3: Anticipating and Addressing Change in Coastal and Low-Lying Areas
Theme 4: Forecasting Sustainability for Resource Management and Planning
In developing the Strategic Science Agenda, the PI CSC received advice and guidance from its Stakeholder Advisory Committee (Appendix 1 of the PI CSC Five-Year Science Agenda for 2014-2018). The PI CSC also periodically receives guidance from a panel of technical reviewers that assists with independent scientific review of projects comprising the PI CSC research program.