We are bridgebuilders. Focused on providing progressive solutions in the animal welfare, environmental, and humanitarian sectors, our expertise includes coalition and consensus-building, public outreach and strategic campaigns, applied science and research, policy and program management, government relations, and media and communications.

Our goal is to promote understanding while empowering local agents of change, informing incremental steps towards long-term solutions through collaborative initiatives based in science and ethics.

Lightkeepers has a proven reputation in building alliances to connect diverse stakeholders to yield common ground, understanding, compassion, and trust.


Our mission is to provide strategic and experiential insight to support individuals and organizations searching for positive solutions to society’s most challenging environmental and social issues.


Incremental progress is critical to achieving paradigm-shifting solutions that often require us to confront systems, traditions, and attitudes that are resistant to change. However, we can work to nurture relationships that foster new understanding, empathy, and shared values.

Through honest and inspired dialogue, we can expose a common pathway where we can walk together and align our best efforts to honor and protect the value in every single life, human or animal.

Lightkeepers is committed to promoting the values embodied by the belief that every life matters, and that the power of an individual working from compassion and love is perhaps the most powerful force in the universe upon which to inspire and deliver change.

Founded upon a belief in the Power of One, every individual can serve as a beacon of light to illuminate and galvanize positive solutions to complex and provocative environmental and social issues.

Through dialogue and positive stakeholder engagement, we can open the way for collaborative solutions and mutual understanding by connecting individuals, organizations, and our common future.


Conflict is often viewed as a polarizing and destructive force. However, in conflict, there is opportunity. Without struggle there is no progress, and we understand that it is often the small steps forward that can lead to monumental strides in addressing complex and challenging environmental and social dilemmas.

Every issue has at least three sides, and by navigating and engaging diverse stakeholders through principled negotiation, Lightkeepers seeks to transform conflict and illuminate common ground and shared values to engineer progressive and innovative approaches and solutions.

Through dialogue and understanding, shared interests can emerge as a powerful and collaborative force in problem solving. We are all stakeholders in the challenges that face our communities, and our planet. We can construct bridges of understanding that connect diverse interests, raise awareness, and open hearts to achieve a common good.


Lightkeepers has proven depth of experience in guiding and inspiring strategic program and policy development, from concept to delivery and administration. Through passionate engagement, resourcefulness, and a committed work ethic borne through decades of experience, Lightkeepers offers special competency in the fields of environmental and animal welfare policy, including program design and management, solutions-oriented stakeholder engagement, strategic planning, media relations, governmental affairs, and educational outreach.

Courtney S. Vail – Founding Executive Director 

Courtney is a biologist, social scientist and strategic policy advisor who has worked within the conservation and animal welfare field for over 30 years. With a diverse background in biology, law, and psychology, she has provided leadership for diverse national and international programs and policy initiatives where she seeks to align science with ethics.

Courtney has served as a campaigner, strategist, policy expert, and program director for numerous non-governmental organizations, and always with a passion for seeking balanced solutions that promote understanding, empathy, and awareness.

Because policy always has a human dimension and often involves intractable or enduring conflict, Courtney’s approach has been to engage with all stakeholders and forge collaborative alliances to achieve incremental progress towards a brighter future for all living creatures.

Having also held positions within several government agencies and the private sector, she has worked from within and outside of the regulatory, scientific, and advocacy frameworks that guide national and international conservation policy and management.

Courtney holds a Bachelors of Science degree in wildlife biology from Cornell University, and a Masters of Science degree in psychology.

“Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

- Rumi

“When spider webs unite, they can halt even a lion”

- Ethiopian Proverb

“Far from eliminating differences, our challenge is to make the world safe for differences.”

- William Ury

“After the final no there comes a yes, and on that yes the future world depends.”

- Wallace Stevens

“Few injustices are addressed without serious conflict…the best decisions result not from superficial consensus but from exploring different points of view and searching for creative solutions.”

- Roger Fisher

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”

- Luke 11:33

“There are two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

- Edith Wharton





Marine Mammals





Power of One




Media & Opinion

Media & Opinion

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