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  A group of decision-makers gets a big picture view of protected area continuity in Northern Nevada. The volunteer pilot’s Kodiak provided and excellent platform for viewing the landscape while discussing strategies for future land protection.
   Transporting a captive endangered Mexican wolf in a TBM. This wolf was introduced
to a new mate at a different facility with the goal of releasing their offspring back into the wild.
tiny fragments of the heavy metal can be ingested and then absorbed into their bloodstream, often causing long-term side effects and sometimes even death.”
These f lagship projects and other missions that the group supports all utilize aircraft in a different way. Further highlighting aviation’s in- valuable impact is safeguarding the Colorado River.
LightHawk’s involvement in a project makes conservation work on the ground far more effective. They educate donors and policymakers at an integrated landscape level in just a few hours. The aerial perspective provides a platform for media that is compelling and unique and allows the group’s partners to bring more
attention to the Colorado River than through standard media channels. Policymakers and donors routinely share that the perspective and educa- tion they receive during a flight pro- vides observations and understanding they can get nowhere else.
Strategic Partnerships
The organization also classi- fies some of their projects into “Strategic Partnerships,” which are meant to be short term engagements that reach conservation outcomes sooner and involve fewer partners but still require expert planning and a series of flights. Some past and on- going Strategic Partnerships include Mexican wolf transports, monitoring the Elwha River post-dam removal,
tracking woodpeckers after fires and dozens of others.
Flights of Opportunity
Finally, there are Flights of Oppor- tunity, which consist of only a few flights, but still produce significant results for the organization. The im- portance of these missions is espe- cially clear during the operations where the organization showcases its conservation efforts to the general public and special guests. Whether it be photographers and journalists who document environmental issues or politicians and decision-makers who help swing environmental reform, the flights over impacted areas highlight the need for continued and proposed conservation efforts.
The Flying
Twin and turbine aircraft find a special place across all of LightHawk’s projects, Pagni says, “because of their range and speed profile, they are able to assist with flights that other aircraft cannot.” For example, these pilots can assist in over-water whale surveying flights, extended-length transports of larger animals and providing the aerial perspective to a larger number of decision-makers.
In general, the special-mission profile (low, winding tracks often over undeveloped landscapes) of conservation f lights may be unique to many pilots, but Pagni notes the organization’s heavy involvement in making sure all details are ironed out for the pilots. “Our job [Light- Hawk and its partners] is to do the
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