Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) honored LightHawk with its President’s Award at its 5th annual National Conference and EXPO on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration held in Galveston, Texas, earlier this month.
Restore America’s Estuaries is a national nonprofit organization established in 1995 as an alliance of 11 community-based conservation organizations working to protect and restore the habitats of our nation’s estuaries. The President’s Award recognizes the best and brightest in the coastal restoration community.
Founded in 1979, LightHawk is the largest and oldest volunteer-based non-profit environmental aviation organization in North America. The group provides flights free of charge to more than 300 conservation partners each year and flies more than 700 missions annually to help protect land, water and wildlife.
“LightHawk has donated flights to restore the coastal wetlands that are so important to protecting shorelines that buffer inland areas and nurturing healthy fisheries for many years,” said Rudy Engholm, LightHawk’s Executive Director. “Thanks to the generosity of our volunteer pilots, who donate their time, airplanes and fuel to make these flights possible, LightHawk is able to work in partnership with groups like Restore America’s Estuaries to use the power of flight as a catalyst for environmental conservation.”
Even before the BP explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, LightHawk had been providing flights to empower RAE member groups like the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana working to halt the disappearance of coastal areas due to shoreline erosion, development and pollution. LightHawk currently donates flights to give scientists a bird’s eye view of the shorelines, barrier islands and areas affected by the encroaching oil.
“We are extremely grateful to LightHawk for being part of Restore America’s Estuaries’ efforts to preserve the nation’s network of estuaries by protecting and restoring the lands and waters essential to the richness and diversity of coastal life,” said Jeff Benoit, RAE President. “The aerial perspective we get from LightHawk donated flights allows us to see the landscape-scale view of the areas we work so hard to protect. Without LightHawk, we would spend days trying to cover the same area that we can cover in just a couple hours on a LightHawk flight.”
For more information: LightHawk.org