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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

4 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

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!

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

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.


Pam Goddard & Fran Recht
Program leaders

Review from CharityNavigator