FOMA is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who work to support the Refuge. The Board meets each month to receive updates from Refuge staff and decide how best to support current needs. The Board has a wealth of experience in history, wildlife biology, invasive species, refuge management, nonprofit organization, eco-tourism, education, law, and information technology. The key common denominator? A personal connection to and passion for Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.
Wayne Sentman: President
Wayne is the director of international travel for the Oceanic Society. He lived on Midway Atoll NWR for 4 years as a researcher for NMFS and USFWS and also guided ecotourist and volunteer research programs for the Oceanic Society. He continues to guide educational travel programs to islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Wayne teaches undergraduate field ecology in Laikipia, Kenya. He received his Master’s degree from Harvard University in Environmental Management & Sustainability. Wayne was present at the formation of FOMA on Midway Atoll in 1999 and joined the Board in 2013.
Teya Penniman, J.D.: Vice President
Teya became enthralled with seabirds and island ecosystems after nine years of research, including time in the Arctic and on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. She has an undergraduate degree in biology and graduate degrees in law and management (Willamette University). Since 2002, she has worked to protect natural resources in Hawaiʻi with a focus on invasive species. She uses her legal and mediation skills to help resolve agricultural disputes, provides reporting services at international environmental conferences, and writes for a local magazine. She joined the Board in 2010.
Jon dʻAlessio, J.D.: Treasurer
Jon dʻAlessioʻs 30+ years of financial management experience, along with management and law degrees from Stanford University and extensive service on nonprofit boards, made him a logical successor to the role of FOMA Treasurer. His observational skills as a wildlife photographer have heightened his sensitivity to vanishing habitats for native species, and a 2009 trip to Midway left a lasting impression on this inveterate traveler. Jon says, “Although the ocean is vast, its capability for absorbing mankindʻs activity is not limitless. Even Midway, miles from civilization, is impacted by what we humans do.” Jon joined the FOMA board in 2016.
Mike Logan: Secretary
As a “military brat,” Mike experienced the magic of remote island living on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. He transited Midway several times as a dependent and later while serving with the Marine Corps. Eager to return, Mike was one of the first paying customers when the atoll was opened to commercial tours in 1997. He was equally quick to join the FOMA Board and has served as a Director since 2000. Mike brings his skills as an IT professional to the board, is a PADI dive instructor, and devotes much energy to caring for rescued parrots with a small nonprofit.
Barry’s interest in wildlife management manifested in two degrees: a Bachelor’s of Science from Humboldt State University and a Master’s from the University of Maine. He worked from Maine to Midway as a refuge manager with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, but considers his three years on the atoll (2005-2008) as the “pinnacle” of his long career. Since retiring, Barry has stayed involved in Hawaii wildlife issues by serving on the board of the Kure Conservancy and volunteering with Hakalau Forest NWR. At home in Minnesota, he is active with two other nonprofit groups. Barry joined the FOMA Board in 2016.
Helen’s interest in Midway came from listening to tales of the island from her father, who was a communications officer during the Battle of Midway. Following an initial visit in 2001, her connection to the atoll’s history and wildlife deepened. Helen has been an early and steadfast FOMA member and joined the FOMA Board in 2016. When she’s not volunteering on wildlife and environment projects with organizations like Earthwatch, she continues a 45-year career focused on creating healthy environments in urban centers in the US and abroad.
Fern Duvall, Ph.D.
Fern’s interest in wild things manifested early; his family grew accustomed to the many snakes, birds, and other critters Fern brought home. After obtaining his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Germany, Fern became the first aviculturist in Hawaiʻi for captive endangered species. He was a wildlife biologist with the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources for 20 years and recently became the Maui program manager for native ecosystem and protection management program. Fern serves on numerous conservation-related boards and professional working groups. He joined the Board in 2009.
After obtaining her B.S. in Environmental Science (University of Idaho), Wieteke spent 8 months as a wildlife biology volunteer on Midway – a perfect match for her diverse skills and passion for wildlife. She drafted a sustainability policy for the Refuge and created an identification guide for its plant species. She recently completed a conservation fellowship with the National Wildlife Refuge Association in Washington, D.C. working on landscape-scale conservation projects related to Marine National Monuments and National Wildlife Refuges in the Pacific.
Following his degree in Biology, Gary spent 10 years as a California state park ranger. Inspired to share his knowledge with the next generation, he entered the teaching profession, eventually settling into an elementary school teaching career. A lifetime of birding and nature study led to a month-long assignment on a NOAA research vessel as a “Teacher at Sea” in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Since retiring, Gary’s volunteer activities have included 4 months on Tern Island and two (4) and (8)-month trips on Midway. Through FOMA, he stays connected to Midway and the other remote islands in the chain.
Rob Shallenberger, Ph.D.
Rob was the chief of the Division of Refuges from 1991 to 1997. He was the Midway Atoll NWR refuge manager from 1997 to 2000, during which time he helped kickstart the Friends of Midway Atoll. His book Hawaiian Birds of the Sea features birds from Midway. He was the program manager for The Nature Conservancy for the island of Hawaiʻi and remains active with a number of other conservation organizations including several other Friends groups. He has followed the progress of conservation projects at Midway Atoll NWR ever since its founding and joined the Board in 2011.