The Place :

Mark Sullivan, NOAA Fisheries Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, 2007

Editor's Note: This story is taken from the GOOD10 Ocean's Issue. You can download and read the entire digital magazine issue for free here.

The largest protected natural area in the United States isn't just on land, it's primarily at sea. The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument encompasses 583,000 square miles of protected waters, islands and atolls that make up the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and surrounding areas. Both a refuge for wildlife and a place of profound cultural importance to generation upon generation of the native peoples' of Hawaii—the region's significance stretches both physical distances and through time itself.

Athline Clark, NOAA Superintendent of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, brings a wealth of history and passion to her job, while managing the conservation of the monument's resources. She previously worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and served as Hawai`i's co-manager for Papahānaumokuākea. She has over 20 years of experience working with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, first in the Florida Keys, then as a sanctuary advisory council member for Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

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