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.
DOINews: Employee's Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Celebrates Nature, Motherhood and Mother Earth
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct.15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of Hispanic Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and beyond.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month 2012, Isabel Long, a Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States employee, shares a personal story, titled, "Nature, Motherhood and Mother Earth: Celebrating Nature during Hispanic Heritage Month." Long's story is running concurrently on the BLM Daily, oneINTERIOR, and the Environmental Protection Agency's bilingual blog at http://blog.epa.gov/espanol/.
Nature, Motherhood and Mother Earth: Celebrating Nature during Hispanic Heritage Month - By Isabel Long, BLM-ES
I remember with nostalgia the picnics with my family in my dear country of origin, Chile, in South America. The picnic lunch always began by making the sandwiches followed by boiling eggs which are a classic in Chilean's picnic culture. My parents were not the outdoorsy type, but nonetheless we all enjoyed our time in nature, with the ever-present majestic Andes Mountains surrounding us. Now in the States, every time I bring my little son to the beautiful Washington & Old Dominion trail by our house memories of past picnics come to me when I see families, mostly Hispanic, picnicking next to the stream.
I think it's not a cliché that we, Latinos, are attached to our families and that the meals we share are special events of communion among our loved ones. In this sense, picnics are an example that with the same love and passion for nature we are closer to the "social outdoors experience" than the "solitude hike" portrayed by the influential American conservationist, John Muir.
As Hispanics, many of us share an indigenous cultural heritage which values the connection to our origins in Mother Earth, la Pachamama, commonly depicted in indigenous Andean culture. This is a value that I want to pass on to my son. Mother Earth provides for us, therefore it is our responsibility to relate to her in sustainable ways. Nature gives us much more which is of importance for a healthy child, the value of simplicity, interconnectivity of environments, and overall, nature also provides us with beauty to our spirit. In a world bombarded with material "needs," overrated individualism and overly produced "beauty," I strongly believe that time in nature will be translated to positive emotions, fun memories and interesting knowledge that I can pass on to my dear son. It would be Pachamama's heritage to him, passed through his mother to stay with him for years to come.
Isabel Long is native from Chile. She works for the Bureau of Land Management- Eastern States at the Department of the Interior. She is the co-founder of BLM-Eastern States Diverse Youth Outings Project in partnership with the Sierra Club, the National Coalition on Climate Change, The National Hispanic Environmental Council, and the Cesar Chavez Charter School in Washington, D.C.