Recent trips scanning the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are providing hope for a healthy environmental future. Environmental artist Wyland and National Geographic explorer Sylvia Earle returned from their explorations with good news.
"We saw a very healthy ecosystem, big schools of fish," Wyland said.
Midway Atoll and Papahanaumokuakea are recovery sites. Wyland and Earle said the monk seals, sea turtles, sharks, and albatross are thriving. They credit a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state and NOAA with restoring the wildlife environment since it was declared a sanctuary five years ago.
"All of this has resulted with real hope. It will never go back to what it was like 1,000 or not even 100 years ago, but it's certainly better," Earle said.
The award-winning explorer said oceans around the world are in trouble, and the future of Papahanaumokuakea will determine our future as well.
"We're taking care of ourselves by taking care of nature. Places like this are calls for hope and sources of inspiration," said Earle.
While on the trip, Wyland painted a special mural for the employees, his art a reflection of what he calls 'a magical place.'
"I said, let me dive it, let me take it all in. I painted a Hawaiian monk seal, one of my most favorite animals on the planet. Then I went over to paint albatross, and these are huge albatross," Wyland said.
Although most people will never get to travel to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Wyland and Earle hope the positive growth they've seen there, will inspire change around the world..
"Whatever it takes, we all can give back. We can try to leave the world a better place and it's happening on Midway," Earle said.
Take a look at the variety of wildlife that can be found in Hawaii shared on u local in the slideshow below.