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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Mission: LightHawk''s mission is to accelerate conservation success through the powerful perspective of flight. LightHawk uniquely adds value to the conservation community. We provide expertise in using the aerial perspective to accelerate and enhance efficiency of the conservation outcomes of our partners. LightHawk uses its experience in conservation planning early in our partners’ project development to help them identify their desired outcomes and plan strategies to fully engage the power of flight.

Target demographics: LightHawk works with conservation partners to accelerate conservation success through the powerful perspective of flight.

Geographic areas served: LightHawk’s work is international in scope. We establish conservation partnerships with organizations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Conservation partners include international, national and community-based organizations from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. They include many of the most effective and well-respected conservation organizations in the world including The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Restore America’s Estuaries, National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund, Mote Marine Laboratory and numerous public and private research universities.

Programs: LightHawk donates environmental flight campaigns at no charge. We provide carefully arranged flights in support of conservation projects. Our passengers include conservation advocates, government officials, scientists, photographers, educators, media representatives, indigenous community leaders, and other stakeholders. Flights help to:  Foster dialogue and build consensus  Promote informed decision-making  Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of conservation action

Community Stories

17 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Zoe W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a community based conservation organization in Belize, we struggle to find the resources to effectively manage the marine protected area and natural resources entrusted to us. We compete with funding against larger, better known organizations, our limited funds can only be stretched so far, and have to be prioritized. Partnerships are important, filling gaps where we have neither the skills nor the finance to achieve what needs to be done. The partnership with LightHawk, and the aerial flights they have provided has given us the opportunity to advance our knowledge of one of the most important and endangered inhabitant of our protected area - the West Indian (Antillean) manatee.

Starting from a vague idea of how manatees use the area, we now have maps and population counts, we know which areas they frequent and where the mating herds are found at different times of year. We know where we we are going to erect 'no wake' signs, and where we should prioritise patrols against unattended fishing nets, and where we should release rehabilitated animals. With only 800 to 1000 manatees estimated to be left in Belize, and with Belize recognized for having the majority of this endangered Antillean sub-species, we have now confirmed that Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary has a significant role to play in the conservation of this species nationally, regionally and globally.

Without LightHawk as a partner, we would not have been able to achieve this. LightHawk have provided an excellent service, with enthusiastic pilots willing to make the extra effort to ensure the aerial surveys are as effective as possible. They have been professional, helpful and provide an excellent service that helps us to ensure that we have the information we need to do a good job for endangered species conservation.

Review from CharityNavigator

Todd W.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

It was fantastic, great pilot, lots of knowledg, and easy to organize. Captured these photos: http://www.raveneyephotography.com/flatheadvalley while shooting for Flathead Wild and Wildsight

Review from CharityNavigator

1 Sarah234567891011

Client Served

Rating: 5

We flew over the Colorado River and the River Delta in Arizona and Mexico. I have lived in the upper basin most of my life and had never ventured this far downstream. The perspective flying over these areas and seeing what impact actions upstream have on those downstream was eye-opening. Thank you, LightHawk, for taking me out and showing me the area!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started as a volunteer for LH in 1997, then worked awhile on staff, then on the board, and now back to being a volunteer. The mission is unparalleled in its ability to lend a very powerful leveraging tool to any number of environmental campaigns -- but in addition to the tool, the system of having a program manager work to really focus the assistance of LH to the environmental partner lends a value to their work far beyond "just an airplane flight." this is a highly professional organization that prides itself on figuring out how to make a difference, and whose work is much more broad than the flight itself. They are a powerful planning service, and can give a tremendous ROI for both funders and nonprofit partners. Can't recommend them enough.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I flew on a watershed aerial tour a few years ago. I was amazed at how much of a difference this perspective of the land can make. I was amazed and inspired by the flight itself (made me want to learn to fly) but in particular I'm very inspired by the mission of this group. The idea of raising awareness about conservation by taking people on a flight, or exposing environmental wrongs is genius! And the pilots who donate their time and resources are doing an amazing thing. Thank You!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I flew with LightHawk in August, 2010 to make images for a Western US conservation photography project. The staff handled my request professionally and is always available to support me as a LIghtHawk client. The volunteer pilot was already at the airport and went over every detail about the flight and my goals. He stayed over and flew me on a 2nd mission to make sure that I made the images I needed for my project. I can't say enough good things about this first class organization, and the importance of aerial images to show large landscapes and tell complex stories.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The aerial view is an incredible, but expensive, tool in the understanding of complex landscape issues, and Lighthawk is a truly amazing organization that makes this tool available, at no cost, to conservation organizations throughout North and Central America.

I am a lifelong conservationist, and a trained hydrologist/geomorphologist, yet I credit the aerial view as being both the cornerstone of my conservation ethic, and the foundation of my understanding of complex landscape processes. Consequently, as soon as I first learned about Lighthawk I became dedicated to joining as a volunteer pilot.

In addition to providing pilots and aircraft to important conservation efforts Lighthawk gives me (and nearly 200 other pilots nationwide), the opportunity to make truly significant contributions to the preservation of habitat and ecosystems.

Mission coordination is accomplished by an amazing staff of regional program directors who review flight requests, pair them with appropriate pilots, and inform the pilots and passengers of the important details about the mission.

I have flown about 230 flight hours on 50 Lighthawk missions providing an aerial vantage point to conservation photographers, journalists, filmmakers, state legislators, tribal leaders, ranchers, scientists, and advocates. I remain convinced that Lighthawk is as effective as a conservation organization can be in breadth, depth, and efficient use of resources.

Review from CharityNavigator

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have followed Lighthawk for many years and continue to be impressed with the caliber of the volunteers and the real value of the work they do. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but actually seeing the earth from the air and getting perspective on the environment is priceless. I can't think of a more impactful way to deliver a message.

Review from CharityNavigator

Client Served

Rating: 4

The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) has worked with LightHawk on a cooperative program called Flying for Fish Habitat. The goal of Flying for Fish Habitat is to take decision makers on tours of watersheds were there are important decisions to be made regarding conservation or restoration actions to protect salmon habitat. Without these overflights to get the “big” landscape picture, it is often difficult to build the support and understanding necessary for affecting change. Our program emphasizes and models the power of cooperation and action among many groups. The primarily targets for flight participation are decision makers and community leaders often in the fishing, tribal and agricultural communities. Between 1996 and 2010 LightHawk assisted Flying for Fish Habitat on over 75 flights carrying 325 passengers on 17 watersheds. Participants on the flights report that they would not have come on a “ground-based” tour and often report that the flight has provided novel insights to them and built their support taking action.

During the 15 years Flying for Fish Habitat worked with almost every pilot in the Pacific Northwest. The pilots are always very professional, safety conscious, and well informed but most of all they love their job. The enthusiasm that the pilots bring to their flights is infectious. They are passionate about their planes and they are passionate about the environment.

It has been a pleasure to work with LightHawk.

Sincerely,

Pam Goddard & Fran Recht
Program leaders

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a retired Delta Air Lines pilot and have flown for Light Hawk for 7 years. I used to say, boy, if the people making decision could see what I see from the air, they would do things differently. Now I'm flying at 1000 feet above the ground instead of 30,000 feet and both my passengers and I get to experience the unique perspective of environmental issues from the air. Whether it's photo journalists or decision makers that come along, they all walk away with a greater sense of the big picture; how the landscape ties together and how important it is to see that bigger picture vs. just focusing on their own area of interest. I've flown all over Colorado and even made a trip up to the Three Rivers area of the NE Yukon to help the First Nation tribe decide what should be set aside for mining and what should be preserved. Just as my passengers do, I learn from every flight and I am happy to donate my time, my airplane and pay for all the expenses. It is my opportunity to give back and to make a difference in the health of our planet. I'm proud to be a part of an organization that operates out of virtual offices, for the most part, to maximize the dollars contributed while arranging flights for our environmental partners.

Review from CharityNavigator