satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

ACTIVITY: Wearing Albatross Wings

Albatross have really BIG wings.  How big, you ask?  This is an activity to help you find out--

cardboard -- the largest piece you can get; something like poster-size, but larger is better. I had a piece that must have been 4' x 3' (about 1.25 m x 1 m.)

2 sticks -- They should be lightweight but strong, perhaps something like strong yardsticks or thick dowel rods.

4 rubber bands -- They should be both big and thick.

measuring tape -- It should be about 20' (about 6 m) long.

scissors -- strong, sharp ones!

photo by George Hanks
WHAT YOU DO:  Would you like to have albatross wings like teacher Norbert does?!  Directions--

1. Use Bill Coster's photograph above to help you draw 2 really BIG albatross wing outlines on your cardboard.  Make them as big as you can.  You can color in the different dark and light areas if you want, but you don't have to.

2. Cut out each wing.

3. Attach a wing to a stick by putting 2 rubber bands around the cardboard wing and the stick.

4. Repeat with 2nd wing and stick, so that you have 2 albatross wings.

5. Answer this math problem (or check the chart below):
---An adult Laysan Albatross is 32" (80 cm) long and has a wingspan (distance from the end of one wing to the end of the other wing) equal to 80" (200 cm.)
---You are _____ long, or tall.  If you were an albatross, what would your wingspan be?
Aunty Moana wanted to help on this activity, so I asked her to make a chart that gives the wingspans for different people lengths, or heights.  Her chart is after the picture below of teacher Marion trying on her albatross wings.

6. Ask 2 friends to help you.  Ask them to stretch out the measuring tape behind you while you hold up your wings.  You can see the white measuring tape behind Marion.  Stand so that one of your wing tips is at the 0" line of the measuring tape, and the other wing tip is the correct number for how wide your wings should be.

7. There you are: a Laysan Albatross with a HUGE wingspan! 

8. Try this activity outdoors on a windy day.  Can you feel the wind pushing against your wings?  Imagine that the wind lifts you up on your wings...and you can fly for thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean!  Wheeeeeeee!

photo by Linda Schubert

Your Albatross Wingspan
If you are this tall… …then your wingspan would be this wide…
in feet in inches in centimeters in feet in inches in centimeters
2    24 60 5 60 150
2  1/2 30 75 6  1/4 75 188
3    36 90 7  1/2 90 225
3  1/2 42 105 8  3/4 105 263
4    48 120 10 120 300
4  1/2 54 135 11  1/4 135 338
5    60 150 12  1/2 150 375
5  1/2 66 165 13  3/4 165 413
Here's a cool website from Wake Forest University! -- Size Yourself Up to a Wandering Albatross!