LightHawk, which uses aviation to change how people see their environment, recently celebrated history being made as the Colorado River finally met Gulf of California waters for the first time in 60 years.
Since 2009, LightHawk volunteer pilots have flown more than 100 flights to support on-the-ground work of its partners, including Sonoran Institute (SI) and Raise the River.
LightHawk has donated flights and professional services to the restoration effort valued at more than $115,000. Meanwhile, several volunteer pilots have contributed their aircraft and expertise to this herculean effort without charge, Lighthawk officials noted.
LightHawk provides flights in the Delta that bring the remote reaches closer to decision-makers, media and community members. These flights were critical in energizing the push to restore this remarkable ecosystem and publicize the benefits of nurturing this neglected area, officials noted.
“From the air, it all starts to make sense,” says Francisco Zamora Arroyo, Director of Sonoran Institute’s Gulf Legacy Program. “Parcels of seemingly fragmented land miraculously stitch together. With the help of LightHawk, we are able to see the Colorado River Delta as a whole. While our projects cover many parts of this region, it is from the air that their connections are truly understood.”
LightHawk flights provided a critical component in measuring and monitoring the renewal of the Colorado River Delta. In a restoration effort that spans ecosystems and borders, the aerial perspective provided by LightHawk informs Sonoran Institute’s long-term restoration strategy and allows a comprehensive understanding of this complex natural system.
Founded in 1979, LightHawk leverages a network of more than 200 volunteer pilots and collaborates with about 250 conservation organizations each year, donating flights for scientific research, aerial photography and educational tours. These donated flights are provided at no charge to partners to help protect land, water and wildlife across North and Central America.
For more information: www.lighthawk.org