Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is a part of the larger Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument located in the Pacific Ocean 1,150 miles northwest of the Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Niihau. Known around the world for both its cultural and natural draws, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is home to extensive coral reefs scattered throughout its many islands and atolls. Over 7,000 marine species call these reefs home, many of which are extremely rare, endangered, or unique to the Hawaiian Archipelago. The region is also home to 14 million seabirds representing 22 different species - including four species of bird found nowhere else in the world.
The Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 590,000 acres, but this is mostly made up of both shallow and deep water as the atoll itself only covers 2.4 square miles. The small atoll is one of eight United States Minor Outlying Islands, while all of the other land masses within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument fall within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and are considered a part of the state of Hawaii. Because of this, Midway observes Samoa Time and is one hour behind the rest of the region.
While Midway is included in the cultural and natural significance of Papahānaumokuākea, it is best known for playing a large part in American history during World War II, when the U.S. military developed the island of Midway into a naval air station and submarine base. The Battle of Midway, which served as a definitive battle within the Pacific conflict between the U.S. Navy and Japan, occurred in adjacent waters in 1942. Access to the region is by ship or plane only, with air travel flying into the former WWII airfield, Henderson Field, on Midway's westernmost island, Sand Island.
The Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (US FWS). Currently there are approximately 40 to 60 people who call Midway home, including US FWS employees, contractors, and volunteers. All visitation to the island is granted on a permit basis, but due to budget restrictions and its remote nature, visiting the island is not currently a possibility to tourists. Those interested in learning more about the region and its beauty are recommended to take a virtual tour through US FWS and check out the film, Midway: Edge of Tomorrow (more information below).
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with California-based media company TANDEM Stills + Motion to create a full-length film about the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial. The film documents never-before-seen natural wonders in addition to providing a captivating look at the last remaining historic structures from the Battle of Midway. Check out the official film preview below:
"Midway: Edge of Tomorrow is a cinematic expedition that honors the island's famous role in the Pacific theater of World War II and extends into the untold story of how this touchstone of battle has evolved into one of the most precious atolls on earth as a wildlife refuge and marine national monument. Midway's geographical significance, once deemed important militarily, now holds an even greater role as a flagship of oceanic conservation." - TANDEM Stills + Motion
Stay tuned for more film release information and future projects from TANDEM!