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.
FWS Acting Director Gould, Administration Officials Host America's Great Outdoors Initiative Listening Session in Orlando
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/25/2016
ORLANDO, Fl. — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould today joined senior administration officials at a public listening session today as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to develop a conservation agenda for the 21st century.
The listening session, one of a series taking place across the country, offers citizens the opportunities to share what they are doing in their communities to better conserve our nation's land, water and wildlife and open up more opportunities for Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Will Shafroth and USDA Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Environment and Climate Robert Bonnie also attended the listening session.
“With his America's Great Outdoors initiative, President Obama is creating a new conservation legacy for our country as we deal with growing pressures our land and wildlife face ranging from habitat fragmentation to climate change to loss of biodiversity,” Gould said. “We already have a strong foundation for the initiative in the work that the citizens of Florida and communities across the country are doing to conserve our natural resources and to connect Americans to the great outdoors.”
“Public and private land conservation and natural resource stewardship are integral to the history, culture, and prosperity of Florida,” said Robert Bonnie, USDA Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Environment and Climate. “We need to hear and learn in greater detail about the successful work happening in the region. Successful regional and local conservation efforts such as the ones charted here today are key as we craft a 21st century conservation agenda.”
President Obama inaugurated the America's Great Outdoors Initiative at the White House Conference on the Great Outdoors in April. The conference brought together leaders from communities across the country that are working to protect their outdoor spaces and focused on developing and supporting innovative ideas for improving conservation and recreation at the local level.
In a Presidential Memorandum, he called on the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to lead the initiative, in coordination with the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, Education, and the Office of Management and Budget.
From coast to coast, ranchers, farmers, sportsmen, conservationists, state and local government leaders, tribal leaders, public lands experts, youth leaders, business representatives have been attending listening sessions to discuss the challenges, opportunities and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.