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.
"…provide the Department of the Interior (Department) with science-based assessments and interdisciplinary scenarios of environmental crises affecting Departmental resources; rapidly assemble trained teams of scientists to conduct such work during environmental crises; and, provide the results of this work to the Secretary and Departmental leadership to support decision making during crises."
It is at the discretion of the Secretary to identify the appropriate crises to deploy the SSG. The following are "triggering" criteria for identifying crises for which the SSG may be deployed:
an acute event of immediate, significant impact and of relatively defined duration,
an event for which the SSG can add value, using a strategic approach of scenario development to assist decisionmakers,
unanticipated, improbable events with multiple, synergistic or cascading environmental, economic, and social consequences, and
events with a potential high degree of risk or loss (social/economic/environmental).
The Secretary may direct the SSG to assist other Federal, State, local, or tribal agencies, and may direct the SSG to provide international assistance as necessary, subject to applicable authorities and availability of appropriations.