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!