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.
Canyonlands National Park Interpreter Mentors At-risk Students in Utah
I'd like to submit an anecdote about my volunteer service: Grand County, Utah, has a very high percentage of students living at/below the poverty level and in "nonstandard homes" (lacking one or more parental guardians). To help address this problem, the school district sponsors a mentoring program. Through the program, each volunteer adult participant links up with a student (all grades are eligible), with whom they meet for one hour each week, for a minimum of one full school year.
I've been meeting with my mentee for nearly three years, and the changes I've witnessed are incredible. Participating students' grades increase, absenteeism and discipline referrals decrease and their self-esteem gets a tremendous boost. So many American kids struggle without sufficient adult role-models; all it takes is showing an interest and making a commitment of just one hour a week to really change a kid's life. And, of course, she has changed my life, too.
- Karen Henker, lead interpreter, Island in the Sky District, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah
National Park Service Human Resources Specialist in Utah Tutors English-as-Second-Language Students
I am tutoring English-as-a-second-language students in conjunction with a local nonprofit in Moab, Utah.
National Park Service Employee From Reston, Va., Sorts Book Donations for Local Library
On Sundays this summer I have volunteered with the Friends of Reston Regional Library Inc. - a nonprofit organization. I am one of several individuals responsible for sorting items donated at the Reston Regional Library, Reston, Va. The local community generously donates various books, audio visual materials and puzzles. During any one weekend, the library can receive and process more than 3,000 items in addition to attending to the overflow from prior days.
After we sort items into appropriate categories, we scan the ISBN numbers to identify those that would possibly qualify for sale on Amazon.com. We box the remaining books by category and store them for semi-annual sales or mini-sales. It is through the sales of these donated books and other selected items that the "Friends" are able to provide new books, subscriptions, equipment, furniture and programs that support the many patrons and staff of the Reston Regional Library, as well as the Fairfax County Library System.
- Ruth A. Jobe, Office of the Comptroller, Accounting Operations Center, Reston, Va