Awards/Schenk Family Award Winners/2016: Gift Kgadima

 Gift Kgadima  

Gift Kgadima was awarded the 2016 Schenk Family Award. He was honoured by Donald P. Schenk for the following reasons:

  • Gift's demonstrated leadership qualities at the Cornerstone College, Silverton, Pretoria where he learned to fly drones. He matriculated from Cornerstone College in 2011. He is a talented RC pilot and participated in the national Fun Fly Masters in 2009 (5th place in Sportsman's Class) and 2010 (3rd place in Sportsman's Class);
  • His passion, work ethic and responsibility for some of the Aero Club of South Africa's Transformation and Development team's community outreach activities;
  • His inspirational commitment to making a difference in Africa's fight against wildlife poaching by flying drones for Air Shepherd, an organization supported by the Lindbergh Foundation, that uses drones to protect wildlife in Africa; and
  • His commitment to assuming a leadership role at WOA SA during 2017 and into 2018; and his devotion to the principles of WOA. 

 The Lindbergh Foundation 

The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation (Lindbergh Foundation) was created in 1977, the 50th Anniversary year of Charles Lindbergh’s epic New York-to-Paris flight (the first solo transatlantic flight). It was originated by friends of the Lindberghs at The Explorers Club in New York City and other friends and admirers.  

Their intent was to honor the Lindberghs’ pioneering contributions in aviation, exploration, conservation, sciences, and the humanities. Knowing the Lindberghs’ vision of a balance between the technological advancements they helped pioneer, and the preservation of the human and natural environments they cherished, it was decided that this balance vision would become the cornerstone of the Foundation’s programs. Ever since, the Foundation has strived to carry on the concept of balance, through the Lindbergh Award, the A. Morrow Lindbergh Award, the Corporate Award for Balance, the Spirit AwardsGrants Programme and other educational programmes and publications.

The Lindbergh Foundation supports the use of drones to protect elephants in Africa. In 2016, Gift Kgadima spent a few months in Zimbabwe flying drones for Air Shepherd an organization supported by the Lindbergh Foundation and his exploits were covered by National Geographic.
Sources: Wikimedia and the Lindbergh Foundation.

Success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but by the opposition he has encountered and the courage with which he has maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds. Charles Lindbergh, first solo transatlantic flight, pioneering aviator, military officer, author, inventor, explorer and environmental activist

Air Shepherd

Air Shepherd is a program of the Lindbergh Foundation, dedicated to sustaining the Lindberghs’ legacy of using technology to balance the effects of human development on the environment. The Lindbergh Foundation, under the umbrella of its Air Shepherd program has brought together the Peace Parks Foundation and UAV & Drone Solutions in a powerful initiative to stop the poaching of elephants and rhinos in Africa. These organisations work together to bring sophisticated, supercomputer-based predictive analytics, along with night-vision capable drone aircraft, that see poachers at night so rangers can be mobilized to stop them. 

Air Shepherd news: Fight against wildlife poachers in Africa


 National Geographic Wildlife Watch 

Watch a Dramatic Elephant Rescue 
A young elephant was saved from drowning in a manmade structure in a Zimbabwe national park by a team that is using drones to deter poaching.
By Brian Clark Howard for National Geographic, 1 November 2016

An anti-poaching team saved a young elephant from drowning this month, and it was caught on video. The rescue was made by the Air Shepherd team in Zimbabwe's vast Hwange National Park.

Air Shepherd is a partnership between the Lindbergh Foundation, the Peace Parks Foundation and the company UAV & Drone Solutions, which is working to deter poachers in Hwange and other parks around Africa.

The extraordinary increase in elephant and rhino deaths threatens extinction. Ignorance, and economic and social pressures are fueling the slaughter of African elephants and rhino at extraordinary rates. The Air Shepherd approach is the only intervention that has been shown to stop poaching. With over 6000 flight hours, over 4000 missions and three countries, we have a demonstrable ability to put an end to poaching. Air Shepherd

During an early morning scouting mission, Air Shepherd drone pilots Tom Lautenbach and Gift Kgadima were driving in Hwange, getting a feel for the land that they have been flying their drones over for the past few weeks...

Read the full article: 

Visit the Air Shepherd website for more information about their ground-breaking work and donate to this worthy cause.

Video published with permission granted by Erik Lindbergh of the Lindbergh Foundation.