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William (Bill) Lishman

Bill is a pioneer in ultralight aviation and the first human to lead birds in formation. He also pioneered the use of ultralight aircraft in establishing new migration routes for precocial birds. His work has been documented numerous times, including in ABC's 20/20, CBC’s the Nature of Things and two hit feature films, Fly Away Home and The Winged Migration, which were inspired by his work.

Bill has received numerous awards including the Odyssey of the Mind's prestigious Creativity Award, the Canadian Governor General's Meritorious Service Medal and the US National Wildlife Federation 2002 Conservation award, along with two honorary doctorates. He is cofounder and chair emeritus of Operation Migration, which has played a leading role establishing an easterly flock of endangered Whooping Cranes in North America.

Bill is an original thinker and doer. His presentation takes us on a humorous autobiographical journey that deals with overcoming disabilities, with creativity, problem solving, teamwork, and risk management. His presentation includes images and humorous descriptions of how several works of art came to be – from his first landscape sculpture, a replica of the Lunar Lander that Neil Armstrong used to land on the moon, to a full-scale replica of Stonehenge from crushed cars, and the larger-than-life Iron Buffalo created for the 3D IMAX film, The Last Buffalo.

For the past 12 years, Bill has spent time traveling to Arctic communities and has put his creativity to work. He concludes his presentation with visuals and a description of a bold new concept for arctic dwellings that answers many of the problems encountered by conventional architecture in the North. Jeff Daniels, who plays Lishman in the Columbia Pictures Oscar nominated 1996 film Fly Away Home says, “with Lishman, idea is a verb.”

Qagg Exterior Qagg Interior

Award-winning designer, Bill Lishman is formulating an original concept, dubbed the DomoQagg (or “Qagg”) – a “living system” design for a resilient building structure engineered for harsh climates. Qagg minimizes energy and resource needs of a building, while creating a healthier, more vibrant living and community experience for its inhabitants. For an animation of the Qagg concept, click here.