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.
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Secretary Salazar Designates Four National Historic Landmarks
Office of the Secretary
North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma See New Landmarks
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the designation of four new National Historic Landmarks in four states, including a pre-Columbian flint quarry in North Dakota, a colonial-era Pennsylvania German house, and a 20th Century Oregon house of the Northwest Style.
“Each of these landmarks teaches us about the history of our land, our people, and our nation, from archeological sites dating back more than two millennia to a mid-twentieth century building,” Secretary Salazar said. “In designating these sites as National Historic Landmarks, we complement President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative to reconnect people, especially young people, to our nation's historic, cultural, and natural heritage.”
“These new listings will join approximately 2,500 other sites in the National Historic Landmark Program,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “These places showcase our rich and complex history – from prehistoric time right up to the modern era.”
The four new National Historic Landmarks:
The Lynch Quarry in Dunn Center, North Dakota has yielded - and may yield more - nationally significant information of major scientific importance about the role of Knife River Flint in tool production, subsistence strategies, migration, and seasonal rounds of individual Native American groups during the pre-contact period. This archeological site also provides insight into how technology changed and was adapted over a period of several thousand years to reflect environmental changes.
The Aubrey Watzek House in Portland, Oregon was essential to the establishment of a regional approach to architecture that became known as the Northwest Style during the mid-twentieth century. The broad influence of this style offers proof that the Modernist movement in America was extraordinarily rich and more indigenous than its critics have traditionally allowed.
The Schaeffer House in Schaefferstown, Heidelberg Township, Pennsylvania is nationally significant as a rare intact example of a colonial-era building type within the Pennsylvania German architectural tradition. It is quite possibly the only surviving Weinbauernhaus, a type that incorporates domestic functions and spaces used for the production of alcoholic spirits within a single building.
Platt National Park Historic District in Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Sulphur, Oklahoma reflects one the of the most cohesive and intensive programs of master planning and landscape conservation carried out in the national parks through the collaboration of the National Park Service and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the New Deal era.
Secretary Salazar also announced a boundary change and updated documentation for the Harry S Truman Historic District National Historic Landmark in Independence, Missouri which was designated in 1971. The revised nomination expands the original district boundaries to include the downtown area where Truman worked in various capacities, properties important to and frequented by Truman on his famous walks, and resources omitted from the original designation. Updated documentation for the National Historic Landmark USS Constellation in Baltimore, Maryland which was designated in 1963 was also accepted. This updated documentation reflects new research on the complex story of the Constellation and its role in suppressing the slave trade off the African coast. Finally, President, a steamboat in St. Elmo, Illinois, had its designation as a National Historic Landmark withdrawn because of a loss of historic integrity.
The program, established in 1935, is administered by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. The agency works with preservation officials and other partners interested in nominating a landmark. Completed applications are reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board, which makes recommendations for designation to the Secretary of the Interior. If selected, property ownership remains intact but each site receives a designation letter, a plaque, and technical preservation advice.
Additional information on the designations can be found at www.nps.gov/nhl.