Marine Conservation Biology in Hawaii

Day Fourteen (Jan. 31) – Last Thoughts
by -- January 30th, 2011

A few final observations at the end of our adventure

Returning from Midway is always a difficult experience for me, because we arrive in urban Honolulu in the middle of the night.  I usually try  direct immersion to help re-adjust, so this morning I went for a run through Waikiki and down to Ala Moana park on the Honolulu waterfront.  Waikiki is, of course, a different world than Midway.  Instead of weaving around curious Laysan albatrosses I dodged Japanese tourists (in similar numbers).  The white birds fluttering around me were pigeons, not fairy terns.  And that shapeless lump down the beach was a homeless person, not a monk seal.  And, ironically, I  saw two cattle egrets foraging near a dumpster – the same species that the FWS is trying to eradicate on Midway.  For all the management challenges in Midway, there are many, many more here on Oahu.  And yet, amongst all the urban blight, a golden plover wandered through the park, a reminder that nature holds on even more.

I’m glad that we have such bright, energetic and committed students to address the environmental issues that face us.  I’d like to thank the class for their energy, good humor and commitment to engaging the management challenges on Midway.  Many thanks to Tracy Wurth for teaching us about monk seals and letting us tag along on her surveys.  Meagan was an indispensable and excellent TA and Sally Kleberg helped to provide a wider view and was a great traveling companion.  And to all our friends on Midway, including everyone at the FWS and Chugach (including all my Thai soccer buddies) – thanks for everything.  See you next year!


  1. Clare
    Jan 31, 2011

    Andy, its exciting to hear about the continued adventures at Midway Island. New successes — and new challenges for state and government.

    Perhaps, more than anything, the stories from Midway teach us about ourselves.

    (I’d take a cattle egrets over a human any day. Less troublesome.)

  2. Isabel Junkin
    Feb 3, 2011

    On that first day back in Honolulu from Midway, I swore I saw a Fairy Tern until I realized it was a pigeon! Very disappointing.

    • Andy Read
      Feb 3, 2011

      One thing I forgot to mention on my post – as I was running through Ala Moana Park, a pigeon pooped on me. Not quite as lucky as an albatross, I think, Isabel…

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