Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, 9-1-2016 (credit: Landsat-8)
The US Geological Survey's 'workhorse' satellite Landsat-8 captured an impressive view of California's Sequoia and Kings Canyon in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Both reserves were established in 1890 protecting the Giant Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) from logging. The trees, that exist in groves found nowhere else on Earth, can reach a height of nearly 300 feet from their gigantic bases in mid-elevation Sierra canyons.
From the mid-19th Century into the 20th, only rough maps, a few geological surveys, and random botanical collections were available to understand and protect these then-remote landscapes. Photography, video footage, and satellite imagers now offer new technology and impressive ways to recognize and celebrate earlier forward-thinking acts of environmental conservation.
Challenges to protected lands today are somewhat different but mindful conservation and ecological restoration can engage individual people in their maintenance. Environmental ogranizations such as the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, Save Our Shores, and The Conservation Alliance use innovative approaches to these challenges by seeing them as opportunities.
Personal donations and active involvement in conservation programs is a great way to participate, particularly in this Centennial year for the National Park Service.