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.
Hurricane Sandy made US landfall near Atlantic City, NJ on 29 October 2012, causing 72 direct deaths, displacing thousands of individuals from damaged or destroyed dwellings, and leaving over 8.5 million homes without power across the northeast and mid-Atlantic. To coordinate federal rebuilding activities in the affected region, the President established the cabinet-level Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force (Task Force). The Task Force was charged with identifying opportunities for achieving rebuilding success while supporting economic vitality, improving public health and safety, protecting and enhancing natural and man-made infrastructure, bolstering resilience, and ensuring appropriate accountability.
In January 2013, the Secretary of the Interior directed the SSG to support the Department's participation in the Task Force. The SSG assembled a team of experts from government, academia, and non-governmental organizations – Operational Group Sandy (OGS) – to develop scenarios for the impacts of Hurricane Sandy and future major storms on coastal communities and urban systems in the New York/New Jersey region.
The scenarios included interventions that could improve the resilience of the region to the impacts of future major storms. Scenario results were used to inform the selection of DOI projects to be funded by Hurricane Sandy supplemental funds. A technical report is available here Operational Group Sandy Technical Progress Report.
Collaborating Professional Societies and Academic Centers
To expedite the formation of SSG crisis science teams and broaden our expertise reach for future response efforts, the SSG has forged over 20 partnerships with professional societies and research centers spanning the life, physical, and social sciences, engineering, planning, and design fields. Many are listed below.