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.
Emergency Support Function (ESF) #11 Protection of Natural and Cultural Resources and Historic Properties (NCH) is part of the National Response Framework (NRF), The NRF is how the Federal Government plans for and responds to disasters by utilizing the capabilities identified in the ESFs. The NRF coordinates response activities undertaken by the federal government to stabilize and preserve resources that have been impacted by a major disaster or emergency. ESF #11 NCH is just one component of ESF #11 Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Utilizing ESF #11 NCH capabilities, the Federal Government manages and coordinates the appropriate actions to protect, conserve, rehabilitate, and restore NCH Resources. We provide personnel, equipment, and supplies in support of State, Tribal, Territorial, and local authorities or other federal agencies involved in NCH resources protection efforts.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) is the primary agency for managing the ESF #11 NCH capabilities, and it coordinates Federal actions to help safeguard State, Tribal, and local resources.
ESF #11 NCH can only be activated once the President of the United States has issued a Presidential disaster Declaration for an area or region. When that declaration occurs, State governments requesting aid submit Action Request Forms to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If FEMA approves a request, it will send a Mission Assignment (MA) to the appropriate ESF. If the MA requests assistance for NCH resources, it will be sent to DOI, detailing the type of aid requested. In order to staff the MA, DOI solicits the aid of staff from its bureaus and support agencies which have the necessary skills and expertise required to undertake response work.
Some examples of work we performed under ESF #11 NCH are:
Identify and consult on archeological sites
Consult on Threatened and Endangered Species
Provide technical preservation assistance for museums and archival collections
Create GIS maps of historic districts in impacted area
Conduct building and site condition assessments
Stabilize damaged paper and digital records
Additionally, we work with a variety of other government agencies and non-governmental organizations to both respond and offer advice and recommendations to individuals and institutions on how to prepare for and respond to disasters dealing with natural and cultural resources.