Midway Atoll was transferred from the Navy to the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1996. As former Navy Secretary John Dalton announced, its mission has changed from 'guns to gooneys'.
These refuge lands were set aside to maintain and restore the natural biological diversity, provide conservation and management of the wildlife and habitats, provide opportunities for scientific research and environmental education, maintain the atoll's historical significance, and provide compatible wildlife-oriented activities to the visiting public.
Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge has a passion for this valuable spot in the mid-Pacific. However, to meet this atoll's many needs, volunteers and financial support are needed to maintain and improve this valuable heritage.FRIENDS MISSION STATEMENT
To support the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in its efforts to preserve, protect & restore the biological diversity and historic resources of Midway Atoll, while providing opportunity for wildlife-dependent recreation, education and scientific research.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS From a core group of 4 persons on Midway Atoll in June of 1999, the Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Inc. (FOMA) has grown to a large and supportive association of over 300 members. In the past 6 years we have achieved quite a list of accomplishments in support of our mission.
The preservation, protection and restoration of wildlife is very important to our members. FOMA members have supported the purchase of 30 radio transmitters for the recently introduced Laysan Ducks. These tiny transmitters allow the scientific staff to monitor the ducks and record the growth and sustainability of the flock.
FOMA supports the very important concept of scientific research on our remote refuge. The Christmas Bird Count is a program that is carried out annually to determine the population of species throughout the world. On Midway the Albatross species are counted. For several years, FOMA has chosen to support this effort by covering the cost of meals for all volunteers involved in the count.
Recently, FOMA was awarded a $24,700 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Pulling Together Initiative Grant Program to work on the eradication of the very invasive Verbasina (Golden Crownbeard) plant. Unless stopped, this unwelcome non-native plant threatens to cover the open areas of Gooney nesting grounds. With the money supplied by this grant, the refuge staff has additional resources to eradicate this noxious weed .
An important part of Midway's research program as well as recreation are bicycles. FOMA has been pleased to purchase 10 new bikes and baskets for use by the volunteers and staff of the refuge.
Another important goal of the Friends of Midway is education. Midway's remoteness makes education, in the traditional sense, difficult. Our newsletter "The Gooney Gazette" is an effort to keep our members updated and educated about the activities happening on Midway. Our quarterly newsletter has grown from a very basic, black and white, 4 page edition to a full color, multi page publication.
Most Friends' groups have a gift shop, and we have one also. Actually, we have two, one on Midway available to the transient visitors, and another on this website. The gift shop, too, has grown from just a few T-shirt designs available to a large variety of specialty items with a MIdway theme.
The Board of Directors are always seeking new ways to support "the biological diversity and historical resources of Midway Atoll". We think that in the few years since our humble beginnings, we have made considerable strides.