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.
On April 8, 2014, Neil Kornze was confirmed by the U.S. Congress as the Director of the Bureau of Land Management. From March 1, 2013 until his recent confirmation, Neil Kornze led the BLM as the agency's Principal Deputy Director. Kornze oversees the agency's management of more than 245 million acres of public land nationwide.
Prior to serving in his current role, Kornze was the BLM's Acting Deputy Director for Policy and Programs starting in October 2011. Kornze joined the organization in January 2011 as a Senior Advisor to the Director. In these roles, he worked on a broad range of issues, including renewable and conventional energy development, transmission siting, and conservation policy.
Kornze was a key player in the development of the Western Solar Plan and the agency's successful authorization more than 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy, surpassing a congressionally-established goal three years ahead of schedule. He has also been active in tribal consultation, especially as it relates to oil and gas and renewable energy development.
Before coming to the Bureau of Land Management, Kornze worked as a Senior Advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. In his work for Senator Reid, which spanned from early 2003 to early 2011, he worked on a variety of public lands issues, including renewable energy development, mining, water, outdoor recreation, rural development, and wildlife. Kornze has also served as an international election observer in Macedonia, the Ukraine, and Georgia and is co-author of an article in The Oxford Companion to American Law.
Raised in Elko, NV, Kornze is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a degree in Politics from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. He earned a master's degree in International Relations at the London School of Economics.