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Taking Flight

William Lishman: Inspired Fly Away Home

I think most people get an idea and they think, ‘Oh, that’s an outrageous idea, that’ll never come to pass’…[If] you tune into those ideas, and if you’re open to it, it happens. – William Lishman


A gifted sculptor and ultralight pioneer, William (Bill) Lishman had an epiphany whilst flying amongst a flock of geese. Eventually, he developed a solution for migratory birds that he later applied to the endangered whooping crane species

Bill is the subject of the film Fly Away Home and a great innovator in his own right. Bill’s projects didn’t come without their critics; he is famous for his persistence and determination in the face of naysayers and doubters, and for the successful projects that come from his determined ideas.

Bill used his ultra-light glider to steer the endangered Whooping Crane onto its traditional, but forgotten, migratory route. Since then, he hasn’t stopped producing, building innovative homes, creating world-famous art, and producing solutions to humanitarian crises.

Have you got an idea that pushes the boundaries? Take action and let your ideas soar; as Bill Lishman shows, you never know what might take flight.

Archival footage and photography courtesy of William Lishman
Music by Chris Birkett

What You Can Do

• Help migratory birds by supporting the work of Birdlife International, or more locally, the protection efforts of FLAP in cities, Ducks Unlimited Canada for wetlands, or Nature Canada for birds and tar sands.

• Put your entrepreneurial ideas into action with the help of MaRS Entrepreneurs Toolkit, or funding from Tides Canada, the Canadian Government or the ONE Innovation organization.

• Become an Ashoka changemaker.

• Sign on for social innovation tips and updates from MaRS

Other Resources


Spread the Word

• Follow Birdlife International and get updates from MaRs innovators on Twitter.

• Become a fan of Birdlife International and MaRS on Facebook

• Stay up to date with Bill’s next idea by visiting his site

• Watch Bill Lishman’s innovative ideas for stopping the Pickering Airport on prime agricultural land in Peter Shatalow’s documentary Last Stand

Join Green Heroes™ Academy



A single act, done by many, makes a big difference. Join the Green Heroes™ Academy  to discover green acts that are fun to do and that earn you points on your way to becoming a Green Hero too!

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