November is Manatee Awareness Month; but no matter what time of year it is, manatees deserve to be celebrated. These amazing creatures fulfill a unique niche by serving as indicator species for ecosystems across the United States. Because of their reliance on the health of their habitat, manatees often act as a signal of their environment’s well-being. NOAA photo by Michael Buchanan.
Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
The Department of the Interior has unveiled its new Web site design at www.doi.gov with an emphasis on increased openness and accessibility as well as new visual and interactive dynamics.
“Our department's new Web site will help us better share Interior's remarkable story with the American people,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “It offers new and exciting ways for Americans to discover how the work we do touches the land, water and people in every corner of our country.”
“Our new Web site has a cleaner look, room for more video and photos and interactive elements, better organization and an increased focus on openness with you, the American public,” said Director of Communications Betsy Hildebrandt. “New Media Director Katelyn Sabochik and her team have worked with the departmental Information Technology team to set a new standard for government Web sites.”
Navigation has improved on the Web site, Sabochik noted. The accordion menus on the left keep information just a click or two away, sorted to help people find what they need faster. The drop-down menus above sort the site by organizational structure and mission.
“The site should be more accessible than ever,” Sabochik emphasized. “Each page has controls for adjusting text size, our new videos have closed captions and our audio segments come with transcripts.”
The new DOI.gov has a sense of expansiveness—it takes up more room on the screen than the old site to make use of the increased resolution of modern computer displays. That leaves more room for pictures, video and future interactive elements, as well as text.
The site continues to provide news and links related not only to the Secretary's office and departmental offices but also to other government Web sites--including those of Interior's bureaus and offices—the Bureau of Indians Affairs; National Park Service; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Bureau of Land Management; Bureau of Reclamation; Minerals Management Service; Office of Surface Mining; and others.
The mission of the U.S. Department of the Interior is to protect America's natural resources and heritage, honor our cultures and tribal communities, and supply the energy to power our future.