The Endangered Species Foundation (ESF) has partnered with New Zealand’s fastest growing environmental education organisation, Squawk Squad, to help educate and empower tens of thousands of Kiwi kids to take action and boost biodiversity.
“We’re inspired by the incredible work that Squawk Squad is doing to educate Kiwi kids on environmental issues,” said ESF CEO Cheryl Reynolds.
“Squawk Squad is an award-winning social enterprise led by a team of talented, entrepreneurial millennials, and we are thrilled to be partnering with them as a tangible way for the Foundation to ensure the next generation of New Zealanders are empowered to protect our unique biodiversity.”
Since 2017, Squawk Squad has been providing a free, nationwide, seven-week programme for primary school students to learn about environmental issues in New Zealand. Over the past three years, the programme has reached 45,000 kids across 2,000 schools.
“We are empowering the next generation of kids to become kaitiaki for Aotearoa through education and local action,” said Fraser McConnell, Co-Founder of Squawk Squad.
“We have so many more teachers and schools ‘waiting in the wings’ that we haven’t been able to reach yet. We're proud to be partnering with ESF and these funds will enable us to co-create and develop a scalable educational product, allowing us to reach up to 70,000 additional kids each year.”
As part of the partnership agreement, ESF are contributing $40,000 to Squawk Squad’s current crowdfunding campaign, which aims to raise at least $100,000 by 18 March 2020 to expand their environmental education programme to many more young Kiwis.
The funding from ESF signals the first major move in a new strategic reset for the organisation, which is in the midst of a transition to a high-impact foundation that can empower New Zealanders to help protect our most critically endangered species.
“One of the goals of the Endangered Species Foundation is to help reconnect the 87% of Kiwis who live in urban areas with native species in their own backyards. We think empowering tens of thousands of New Zealand’s rangitahi to make a difference through Squawk Squad’s education programme is the perfect place to start,” said Ms Reynolds.
“Squawk Squad’s reach and influence amongst our youngest New Zealanders was a significant factor in our board’s decision to fund and partner with them. We aim to help them significantly scale their reach as children learn and share their enthusiasm for Aotearoa’s endangered species with whānau and wider communities.”
Owain John, Squawk Squad’s CEO and Chief Squawker is currently on the Antarctic Peninsula shooting educational videos to inform kids about the importance of Antarctica’s biodiversity and the role the continent plays in driving global climate patterns.
“New Zealand is in the midst of a biodiversity crisis, with 80% of our native birds threatened with extinction,” said Mr John. “If we want a real chance of ‘turning the tide’, we need to empower our next generation of environmental leaders.”