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 Renews Nation's Commitment to Wetland and Waterfowl Conservation Blueprint
Office of the Secretary
Revised North American Waterfowl Management Plan Signed at Ducks Unlimited National Conference
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Today at the 75th anniversary National Conference of Ducks Unlimited, Inc., Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed the 2012 Revision of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, reaffirming the Department's commitment to one of the largest and most successful continent-wide conservation initiatives ever undertaken.
“The 2012 Revision of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan provides a renewed and energized vision for the future of waterfowl and wetlands conservation,” Salazar said. “The blueprint lays out an adaptable waterfowl management strategy that leverages international resources to ensure abundant waterfowl populations and preserves habitat to support hunting and other recreational uses.”
Waterfowl are among North America's most valued natural resources. In 2006, an estimated 87.5 million Americans spent $122.3 billion on wildlife-related recreation, including 1.8 million waterfowl hunters who spent nearly $1 billion on trips and equipment, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“The importance of waterfowl, in both ecological and economic terms, has placed waterfowl managers at the forefront of the conservation profession,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “It's fitting that we're signing today's agreement in the presence of Ducks Unlimited, an organization that has really led the way when it comes to conserving habitat for the benefit of waterfowl, other wildlife, and people. This Revision acknowledges and embraces a 21st century approach to landscape-level conservation that is truly community-driven.”
First signed in 1986 by the United States and Canada, with Mexico becoming a signatory in 1994, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) is an international strategy for conserving migratory waterfowl throughout the continent. It has remained a leading model for other international conservation plans, in large measure because it is an evolving document that is updated periodically with engagement and input from the waterfowl conservation community.
The North American Waterfowl Management Plan is implemented largely by public-private partnerships known as Migratory Bird Joint Ventures. As of 2011, the Joint Ventures in the U.S. and Canada had collectively conserved more than 15.7 million acres of habitat. Over the course of their history, 18 U.S. Joint Venture partnerships have leveraged every dollar of allocated Congressional funds into an average of $35 in matching funds.
Available at www.nawmprevision.org, the 2012 NAWMP Revision sets forth three overarching goals for waterfowl conservation: 1) abundant and resilient waterfowl populations to support hunting and other recreational uses without imperiling habitat; 2) sufficient wetlands and related habitats to sustain waterfowl populations at desired levels, while providing places to recreate and ecological services that benefit society; and 3) growing numbers of waterfowl hunters, other conservationists and citizens who enjoy and actively support waterfowl and wetlands conservation. The third goal, new to the Plan under the 2012 revision, underscores the importance of people to the success of waterfowl and wetlands conservation.
The signing of the 2012 NAWMP Revision highlights the commitment of Mexico, Canada and the United States to developing common objectives that reflect the interrelated nature of waterfowl management and aligning and coordinating efforts to reach those objectives.