Human Journey

5 Years of Flying at Your Fingertips

A new conservation map project shares the big picture from five years of flying for conservation. Aerial images and stories from LightHawk flights have changed how people see their environment. LightHawk’s Conservation Map Project lets users explore their own world from above, something few people ever experience in person.

Visit Baja California through the 10-day aerial expedition with National Geographic photographer Ralph Lee Hopkins. The team captured extraordinary images of the special region. [Photo courtesy of: Ralph Lee Hopkins with aerial support from LightHawk]Navigating over the map, users can spot manatees in Belize, hover over thousand-foot deep mines in Idaho, and track bobcats in New Hampshire. LightHawk’s new interactive map  spans ten countries throughout North America and Central America. Five years of eye-opening aerial images are also found on the map, many times shot by the world’s top outdoor photographers.

“What I love about the map is the ability to explore conservation that’s happening in my backyard as well as in places far way that I care about,” explains Ryan Boggs, LightHawk Chief Program Officer.

“When you look at all those pins on the project map,” he continues, “it’s incredible to see the scope and scale of what our supporters, partners, and pilots have enabled us to do that made a real and lasting difference for conservation over the past five years.”

LightHawk changes the way we see the earth by leveraging a network of 200 volunteer pilots to provide more than 400 flights each year. The flights are donated free of charge to conservation groups elevating their efforts both literally and figuratively.

The map project can be found at LightHawk’s new website.

After spending a year and four days in the extreme cold and white of Antarctica, I came back to the world a changed person. My passion is to share stories of people doing extraordinary things and I've done that since 2008 as the chief storyteller for LightHawk. LightHawk is a unique non-profit that grants flights to conservation groups through a network of volunteer pilots. Nearly everyday LightHawk donates educational, scientific and photography flights covering the U.S., Mexico, Central America and parts of Canada. LightHawk volunteer pilots, aircraft and resources help to tip the balance toward sustainability for every major environmental issue within our targeted areas of focus. My favorite part of flying at 1,000 feet in a small aircraft is seeing how that perspective changes how people see their communities and empowers them to take positive action on behalf of conservation. Taking off is pretty cool too.

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Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

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