Lighthawk has presented its Rockwell Award to volunteer pilot Mike Schroeder.
Each year, the award goes to a pilot “who embodies the generous spirit and flexibility of pilot Bill Rockwell, who was always willing to go the extra mile for LightHawk.”
During the past year, Mike flew a total of 23 passengers, including the wildest — seven Mexican wolf pups, who were transported just 20 hours after being born in a captive facility in the Midwest to a wild den in Arizona.
These were Mike’s most complicated missions, requiring intensive preparations and multiple last-minute changes.
Mike had some help with these missions: His daughter, who had to do her training virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic and then found herself feeding wolf pups during the flight.
Mike also flew a variety of other missions, such as flying staff for land trusts in Arizona over the fragmented Upper Santa Cruz River. He also flew journalists and key decision-makers over the Salton Sea in California to better understand the scale of environmental and public health challenges there.
“Mike endured all of this with flexibility and a can-do attitude,” Lighthawk officials said.
This three-minute video includes information on Mike’s missions. Stick around until the end to hear from Mike and see some pictures of the wolf pups.
Lighthawk has a network of 300 volunteer pilots who fly missions to enhance conservation projects throughout the country. Interested in flying for Lighthawk? Find out more here.