Dr. Peter Craig, the park’s natural resource manager, has retired after 20 years as one of American Samoa’s leading voices for conservation and the environment.
He worked for the park for the last 15 years, first as a marine ecologist and then as natural resource manager. He began his work in American Samoa at the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources.
Craig chose to retire in September and move to Washington State to be closer to his family and continue to work on environmental issues with the National Park Service.
Throughout his time in American Samoa, Craig remained deeply committed to supporting marine and terrestrial conservation efforts. He authored the Natural History Guide, a book that describes the natural resources of American Samoa in simple, interesting terms, with over 20,000 copies distributed across the territory and beyond.
He was equally committed to preserving Samoan culture, especially identifying and emphasizing connections between traditional practices and modern conservation efforts in regards to fishing. He provided extensive advice and support to many territorial and federal agencies in the territory as they worked on various climate change and conservation efforts.
Craig’s devotion and passion for the natural resources of the Manu’a Islands is palpable. He was a strong advocate for scientific research, especially in the Ofu lagoons, and is responsible for not only the creation of the NPS Ofu Research Station and seawater system, but for most of the coral reef research completed in Ofu. He described himself as a fisherman casting a line out into the water trying to attract interest from marine biologists and other researchers. He hooked quite a few.
“I was blessed with the chance to spend time on Ofu with Peter before his retirement,” says Carlo Caruso, the current Manu’a ranger stationed in Ofu. “I learned a great deal from him and wish he had stayed longer so I might soak up more of his wisdom.”
Superintendent Mike Reynolds adds: “Dr. Craig will be missed at the national park and throughout American Samoa, but his writings and lessons will be long remembered.”