An Interview With...
Mrs Eileen Davie was the person who made the Midway Islands postcards possible. There are no more Midway Islands postcards, she donated the last 150 postcards to BigAppleTree. The students of Dr. Kim Yang (Imagiverse Student Ambassadors from Taiwan) interviewed her. She also introduced them to Heidi Auman, PhD.
How did you become involved with the Midway Islands and what was your role?
In April of 2000 I was hired into a company called "Midway Phoenix Corporation" (MPC). MPC ran Midway under a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services from 1996 to May 1, 2002. The company was owned by the same person who owns the company I now work for (Phoenix Air Group, Inc.). My position in MPC was as Marketing Administrator and, in that role, I worked directly for the Vice President of Marketing to promote Midway as a tourist destination. Even though we were resident in the corporate offices in Cartersville, Georgia, my boss oversaw all the operations of Midway. My role was to support him in his efforts and to have direct contact with many of the people who worked there. I also had to have extensive knowledge of the operations and the opportunities that Midway had for tourists (such as ecotourism, fishing and scuba diving). My knowledge of Midway, although not "up close and personal" is fairly broad.
How did you promote Midway Islands to tourists?
Midway was promoted in several different ways through print media, radio and television. Midway was also promoted through subcontractors of Phoenix Air (such as fishing, diving, ecotourism and historical tourism companies). There was a program on the Travel Channel that outlined the "World's Top Ten Beaches" for the year the program aired and Midway was picked as the location for one of those beaches. In addition, there was a radio program (a fishing show) broadcast from the Clipper House (restaurant on Midway). Also, in September 2001, the Smithsonian Magazine did a wonderful article on the wildlife at Midway entitled "Where the Gooney Birds Are" in the Journeys portion of their magazine. In addition, the company personally contacted birding groups such as the Audubon Society to tell them of all of the opportunities to observe wildlife at Midway, and sometimes print advertisements were placed in publications that are geared toward these organizations. In addition, several schools had classes on Midway, including the University of Hawaii and the University of Southern California. Also, the Hawaii Aquarium came to Midway several times under special permit to obtain species for the aquarium in Hawaii (the Masked Angelfish, for example).
What was the most attractive program for tourists on Midway Islands?
The most attractive program for tourists to Midway really depended on their point of view. There were four main attractions ... Fishing, Scuba Diving, Ecological Tourism and Historical. Midway was off-limits for many years because of its designation as a Naval Air Station and was teeming with sea life; hence it was very attractive to fisherman and divers. The fishing program at Midway was "catch and release", which means that most of the fish caught (with the exception of a limited amount for consumption on the island only) were put back in the water to continue to grow and flourish. The divers could see things at Midway that would be impossible for casual divers to view anywhere else in the world. Because of the relatively cool water temperature Midway has fish that, in Hawaii and other diving places, could only be seen at depths of 300 feet or more. At Midway you could see them at depths of only 75 feet. Eco-tourism was probably the reason most people came to Midway. Midway has the world's largest population of Laysan Albatross (the "gooney" bird) and they are the main attraction. However, there are many other species of birds and wildlife, including endangered species, such as the Golden Gooney, Monk Seal and Green Sea Turtle. Last, but not least, is Midway's historical aspect. Midway was the site of the great "Battle of Midway" that is cited as being the "turning point" of World War II. Although most of the battle was at sea, Midway played a key role because of the air strips on Sand and Eastern Islands. There is a lot of archival footage and photographs showing the island when it was under attack.
You mentioned that you love Midway Islands because of her history. What history makes Midway Islands charm you?
As I mentioned above, Midway is considered to be the pivotal turning point of World War II. Many, many military men fought and died in the battle. You can still see remnants of that time on the island and memorials to the brave soldiers and pilots that fought for the freedom of the American people. Midway also had many visits by former Japanese military personnel who also lost comrades in arms during that terrible time. I have seen film of Veterans from both countries with tears in their eyes as they remember the battle and the many people who sacrificed everything for their countries. It is extremely moving.
If you visit Midway Islands, what will you do?
If I were ever to visit Midway, I would spend my time looking at and taking pictures of all the things I know about the place, but have never seen. I want to see the old buildings, the theater, the beaches, the ironwood trees, and all the abundant wildlife. Since it so very difficult to get there, I probably would spend most of my time photographing everything that I could, so that I could look back at the pictures and remember it all. I've heard so many stories told by people who actually lived and worked there that I feel I know the place already. I just want to see it with my own eyes.
Midway Islands is a US nature refuge now and there are no more tourist activities. What is your work to do now in Phoenix Air Group?
Do you have anything to tell or to advice all children around the world?
No matter what your station in life is when you are born, you should not feel limited by your surroundings. I am of the opinion that, if you work hard enough, you really can achieve nearly anything you desire. Try to be the best you can possibly be with the tools you are given and remember that everyone on this earth puts one pants leg on at a time. Although people have different appearances on the outside, we are all essentially the same on the inside.
Mrs Davie, thank you very much for your time.
Thanks to all of you for the opportunity to participate in this wonderful endeavor. I know you all will achieve that which your hearts most desire. Take care of yourselves and always look for the good in everything and everyone you encounter.
- 3 March 2008
19 July 2008
© 2008 - Imagiverse Educational Consortium