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.
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.
WASHINGTON, D. C.—The Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States (BLM-ES) in partnership with a diverse group of organizations brought together 20 students from the Cesar Chavez Middle School in Washington, DC for an overnight camping excursion on the Appalachian Trail this weekend. A component of BLM's Take It Outside program and the First Lady's Let's Move Outside initiative, the excursion was part of a Youth Outing Program designed to get youth outside and explore public lands.
The group, led by BLM-ES, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change and Sierra Club Inner City Outings volunteers and staff, stayed at Blackburn Cabin in Virginia, close to the Appalachian Trail. Students hiked, helped set up tents, prepared meals, enjoyed a bonfire and watched the stars at night during the outing.
“It is encouraging to watch students discover the joy of the great outdoors and rekindle a connection that may have been lost with today's technology,” said Julie Rodriguez, Office of Youth Director at the Department of Interior. “As long as we continue to provide these opportunities, more and more youth will take it upon themselves to go outside and take advantage of the recreational activities found on our public lands.”
Since many urban youth have little opportunity to connect with nature, the Youth Outing Program provides a bridge between inner city schools and the outdoors. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation Report, urban youth spend over 7 hours a day “plugged-in” to electronic media and 1 in 3 children are now overweight or obese.
"The experience has been invaluable for our students. The trips have increased our kids' domain of knowledge by experiencing activities that are not really accessible to them here in DC,” said Tara Oflaherty, Principal of Cesar Chavez Middle School. “Since they started, the participants have piqued other students' interest in becoming involved with the outdoors," she said.
The three major objectives of the program include learning about conservation issues, encouraging healthy lifestyle opportunities for the new generation, and providing an outdoors experience for urban youth who would otherwise be disconnected from nature due to social-economic disadvantages. Additionally, the program highlights public lands as gratifying places that belong to everyone.
This overnight weekend excursion was the culmination of a series of outings organized by a new pilot program for Inner City Youth Outings, which started in May 2010 in partnership with LULAC National Education Service Centers, the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, the National Hispanic Environmental Council, Cesar Chavez Middle School and the Sierra Club. Three previous outings were held earlier this year at the Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area in Lorton, Virginia. A ceremony to finalize the pilot project phase is scheduled for November 9th at the Cesar Chavez School in Washington, D.C.