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.
Salazar Applauds Senate Confirmation of Daniel M. Ashe as New Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today praised the U.S. Senate's confirmation of Daniel M. Ashe as the 16th Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ashe, a career employee of the agency, will assume his duties immediately.
“Dan Ashe has served with distinction and integrity in the Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 15 years. He has worked tirelessly to prepare the Service to meet the resource challenges of the 21st century, and his leadership and vision have never been more necessary,” said Salazar. “I'm excited to work with him to foster innovative science-driven conservation programs and policies to benefit our nation's fish and wildlife and its habitat.”
On December 3, President Obama formally nominated Ashe, who has served as the service's deputy director for policy since 2009, to be the agency's director. As deputy director, Ashe developed policy and guidance to support and promote program development and fulfill the service's mission.
“I'm humbled by the trust that the Secretary and the President have placed in me, and most of all, by the responsibility of leading the finest wildlife conservation organization in the world,” Ashe said. “As director, I will strive to create an atmosphere where we can bring to bear our collective imagination, our tenacity, and our commitment to public service to address today's challenges to the future of our nation's fish and wildlife heritage.”
During his tenure with the service, Ashe has helped to craft the strategy that will guide the agency's efforts to deal with the effects of a changing climate. That plan outlined interagency cooperative efforts across landscapes as the most effective way to help fish and wildlife populations adapt to rapidly changing environmental conditions. Ashe also been a leader in the development of the agency's Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, which are intended to leverage resources and strategically target science to inform conservation decisions and actions.
President Obama awarded Ashe a Presidential Rank Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his outstanding service.
Prior to being named deputy director, Ashe served as the science advisor to the service's director from 2003-2009, providing leadership on science policy and scientific applications to resource management.
Ashe served as the chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System from 1998 to 2003, directing operation and management of the 93 million-acre system, and the service's land acquisition program.
From 1995 to 1998, he served as the Fish and Wildlife Service's assistant director for external affairs, where he directed the agency's programs in legislative, public, and Native American affairs, research coordination, and state grants-in-aid.
Prior to joining the Service, Ashe served as a member of the professional staff of the former Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982 until 1995.
Ashe was born and spent his childhood in Atlanta, Georgia, where his father began his 37-year career with the service. Much of Ashe's childhood was spent on national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries in the Southeast, where he learned to band birds, fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors.
He earned a graduate degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, where he studied under a fellowship from the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation. He is very active in local civic affairs in Montgomery County, Maryland, where he and his family reside. He is an avid waterfowl hunter, angler and tennis player.