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.
The Southwest Climate Science Center (SW CSC) is focused on developing and communicating essential scientific knowledge and tools to benefit the region's managers of land, water, wildlife, and cultural resources. Although the SW CSC is primarily concerned with the southwestern United States, it also collaborates with other CSCs across the nation to develop national capabilities and address regional challenges in an integrated fashion.
The research direction taken by the SW CSC is guided by a Strategic Science Agenda and the Annual Science Workplan. The Strategic Science Agenda articulates general science objectives, staffing needs, and operating principles for the SW CSC over a five-year period that started in 2013. The 2015 Annual Science Workplan details the specific research priorities and planned actions for the SW CSC during federal fiscal year 2015.
The development of the SW CSC's strategic direction is guided by a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC comprises executive-level representatives from federal, state, and tribal resource management agencies, including the region's Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs). The SAC plays a critical role in shaping the SW CSC's science planning process to ensure it meets the needs of on-the-ground resource managers. The SW CSC also periodically receives guidance from a panel of technical reviewers that assists with independent scientific review of projects comprising the SW CSC research program.
SW CSC Research Priorities:
1. Anticipating climate change and variability at intermediate timescales. 2. Linking climatic, hydrological and ecological changes at intermediate timescales.
3. Hydrological effects of climate change in the Southwest.
4. Effects of climate change on coastlines, estuaries, and wetlands.
5. Design and implementation of monitoring strategies.
6. Hydroclimatic change and terrestrial ecosystems.