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.
From: E. Melodee Stith, Director, Office for Equal Opportunity
Subject: The Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination And Retaliation Act - "The No FEAR Act" (P.L. 107-174)
President Bush recently signed into law, the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act, also known as the No FEAR Act. The passage of this law holds enormous implications for federal agencies, and has been hailed as the "first civil rights bill of the new century". Currently, most settlements and awards in favor of federal employees who sue federal agencies and prevail in discrimination cases have been paid from a government-wide Judgement Fund. The No FEAR Act changes that. The law is designed to hold federal agencies more accountable for ensuring that the laws intended to protect federal employees from harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistle blowing are enforced. The law requires federal agencies to pay for settlements and awards directly out of their budgets.
In addition to the first provision contained in the legislation as discussed above, there are three other provisions: the second provision requires federal agencies to report annually, to Congress, the number of cases in which the federal agency is alleged to have violated any of the covered discrimination or whistle blower statutes, the disposition of each of the cases, the total of all monetary awards charged against the federal agency from the cases, and the number of agency employees disciplined for discrimination and retaliation. The third provision allows for a comprehensive study to take place which will determine the best practices relating to appropriate disciplinary actions against employees who commit discrimination and retaliation. The fourth provision requires federal agencies to provide enhanced notification to their employees about all applicable discrimination and whistle blower protection laws, similar to that already required under the Whistle blower Protection Act. As guidance on enforcement of the No FEAR Act becomes available, we will be discussing the information with you further. In addition to the above, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has been asked to conduct four studies and to report to Congress.
Distribution: All Bureau/Office Equal Opportunity Officers
Inquiries: Mercedes Flores, Chief of Staff, Office for Equal Opportunity, (202) 208-6120