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.
To: Bureau and Office Directors & Equal Opportunity Program Managers
From: E. Melodee Stith, Director, Office for Equal Opportunity
Subject: Federal Appellate Settlement Team (FAST) Program, Alternative Dispute Resolution Services
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will begin implementation of the Federal Appellate Settlement Team (FAST) Program and will make mediation services and other assistance available to the Department of the Interior.
The FAST Program is designed to address specific cases involving new appeals, "on the merits," but not those cases pending dismissals or similar actions.
The FAST Program process is sixty (60) days in duration. Prescribed time frames for other administrative actions will be preserved.
It is important to note that the FAST Program will be entirely voluntary for all parties.
The FAST Program will provide cost-effective mediation services in selected appeals filed with the EEOC's Office of Federal Operations. An essential goal of the Department is to utilize the FAST Program's resources and expertise for mediation services to affect resolutions that improve communications between the parties, enhance workplace morale, and preclude litigation.
The Director, Office for Equal Opportunity has engaged in continuing consultations with EEOC and Departmental officials, and the Department has determined to fully participate in the FAST Program.
The information contained herein is for your use in advising your Bureau/Office Directors, employees, and others of this new opportunity to derive cost-effective benefits through the FAST Program. The FAST Program initiative is an outstanding opportunity for your organization to reach accords in employment disputes involving allegations of discrimination.
While your Bureau/Office's participation in the FAST Program is voluntary, Departmental policy for ADR will continue to require management's mandatory offer to ADR to complainants in all other cases.
The Director, OEO, will advise Bureaus/Offices of the EEOC's identification, and the Department's approval, of specific cases for inclusion in the mediation services provided by the FAST Program.
The Department will require the continuing application of Alternative Dispute Resolution systems and strategies to accomplish sound resolutions in other pending cases, i.e., those cases that may not be selected for inclusion in the FAST Program initiative.
The Office for Equal Opportunity will distribute additional information concerning the FAST Program, including the "FAST Offer Package," and the specific cases approved for action pursuant to the FAST Program, as information becomes available.
Should you have questions concerning the FAST Program, please contact Richard E. Redmond, at 202-208-5183.
Distribution: Bureau and Office Equal Opportunity Officers
Inquires: Richard E. Redmond, Alternative Dispute Resolution, (202) 208-5183