AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

In a gesture that speaks to his legacy of conservation, President Barack Obama traveled Thursday to a remote spit of sand and coral in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, to see for himself the very monument that six days earlier he quadrupled to create the largest protected marine area on the planet.

Air Force One touched down on picturesque Midway Atoll ― the site of a deadly and decisive battle six months after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor ― at approximately 11:30 a.m. local time, according to a White House press pool report.

After Obama “emerged from the plane smiling and wearing sunglasses,” the press pool noted, he was greeted by the atoll’s 40 inhabitants. The president then paid a visit to the Battle of Midway memorial before delivering a short statement at Turtle Beach.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, where Midway is located, is a “spectacular” ecosystem, home to thousands of species, Obama told the press pool gathered on the atoll’s white, sandy shoreline. Protecting it, he added, will ensure it remains “a precious resource for generations to come.”

“I look forward to knowing that 20 years from now, 40 years from now, 100 years from now this is a place where people can still come to and see what a place like this looks like when it’s not overcrowded or destroyed by human populations,” Obama said, according to press pool reports.

Carolyn Kaster/ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Barack Obama speaks to media as he tours on Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016

Over the last week, the president has made a serious push for conservation and stressed the urgency of combatting climate change head on. In addition to his massive expansion of and subsequent visit to Papahānaumokuākea, Obama addressed Pacific island and conservation leaders in Honolulu on Wednesday, the eve of the world’s largest conservation event. And before his trip Thursday, the White House announced $40 million in programs to help island nations and other communities vulnerable to climate change.

Below, take a look at photos from Obama’s historic trip to Papahānaumokuākea ― a place that clearly deserves mankind’s protection:

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The view out the window of Air Force One, with President Barack Obama aboard, over a nearby island as the airplane approaches Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, September 1, 2016.

SAUL LOEB via Getty Images

President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival to tour Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, September 1, 2016.

SAUL LOEB via Getty Images

President Barack Obama visits the Battle of Midway Navy Memorial during a tour of Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, September 1, 2016.

SAUL LOEB via Getty Images

President Barack Obama, alongside refuge manager Bob Peyton, looks at a map of Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, September 1, 2016.

Carolyn Kaster/ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Barack Obama tours on Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, with from Marine National Monuments Superintendent Matt Brown, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.