November is Manatee Awareness Month; but no matter what time of year it is, manatees deserve to be celebrated. These amazing creatures fulfill a unique niche by serving as indicator species for ecosystems across the United States. Because of their reliance on the health of their habitat, manatees often act as a signal of their environment’s well-being. NOAA photo by Michael Buchanan.
Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
My thoughts continue to be with all of you as this government shutdown persists. I know and appreciate that you want to be at work serving the American people in the myriad ways that Interior contributes to our country–some very visible and others behind the scenes. Last week, one of our colleagues sent me this quote from President John F. Kennedy that reflects exactly what I have felt from interacting with so many of you during the 6 months I have joined the ranks of public service:
"Let the public service be a proud and lively career. And let every man and woman who works in any area of our national government, in any branch, at any level, be able to say with pride and with honor in future years: 'I served the United States Government in that hour of our nation's need.”-- John F. Kennedy, 1961.
If there is to be a "silver lining" to this cloud of a government shutdown, it is the increased awareness of the American people to the importance of the work you do and the value that all Americans receive from their investment in you.
I profoundly hope that we will be welcoming all of you back to work soon, and that the damage done during this shutdown period can be addressed in the coming months. Please know that the President is intent on getting the government back up and running, and all of you back to work serving the American people. In the meantime, we will continue to update www.doi.gov/shutdown with information that you may find useful.