About Squawk Squad

Our Vision

"To inspire a nation of tamariki to be kaitiaki of Aotearoa New Zealand, through education and action"

What is the problem?

None of us have acted fast enough to address the challenges facing our environment and our young people. That's why we now have well over 4,000 native species threatened with extinction here in Aotearoa, and why we see millions of students marching in streets across the world for climate justice.

The world is becoming an unfamiliar place with an uncertain future - so how are we answering the calls of our environment and young people?

Who are we?

We are a world-class provider of environmental education. Our work with tamariki here in Aotearoa has been recognised among the most impactful and scalable in the world (HundrED 2021 Collection).

We take primary school students on free environmental adventures that help them to understand and fall in love with nature - because we look after the things we love!

Students watch videos to engage, dive into topics like Brilliant Biodiversity in lesson plans to learn, then take action on the ground with their classmates and community to activate. They become part of a passionate nationwide community - each contributing a small amount to something that collectively makes a big difference.

Over the last 4 years, Squawk Squad has delivered quality environmental education to 50,000 primary school students across Aotearoa - Cape Reinga to Bluff!

Squawk Squad makes it easy for teachers, fun for students, and impactful for communities.

4 years of success I 50,000 kiwi kids I 2,000+ schools

Squawk Squad Team - Fraser, Alex, Owain, Siobhan, Alex [missing from picture: Rachael, Matt, Scott, Sam, Aydan, Ryan, Anya]

Our Story

Squawk Squad started back in 2016 to address the crisis of our native birdlife (80% currently endangered, 1/3rd already extinct) through a unique solution involving high-tech introduced-predator trapping systems. We engaged the public in real-time as to the direct impact they were having towards saving our native birdlife (website here).

During 2017 we were having some success, but thought, “how do we best get every New Zealander to support our unique birdlife?” We were offering a solution at the time (our remote trapping idea), however realised that this issue was so much bigger than what we could solve alone. We were excited by the possibility of inspiring others to come up with their own solutions - if we could achieve this then the impact would be so much greater than via our one solution alone. The obvious answer was to achieve this via education - so our innovative educational outreach was born!

In 2017 we released a social media video promising ‘free wristbands’ for any teachers that signed up to our 'Conservation Week Programme' before the end of the week… we expected to get maybe 100 teachers max... but by the Sunday we had >1000 teachers (consisting of 25,000 tamariki) signed up! We were pleasantly surprised but somewhat concerned as we had no idea how to fund 25,000 wristbands. In true Squawko style we worked hard to follow through, and were rewarded with very satisfied teachers and students who loved the Conservation Week programme.

Today

Each year we've produced a new programme, each time of higher quality and more impactful that the previous. Now, with over 45,000 tamariki participating over the last three years to what we’ve provided, we are popularising environmental education like never before. We collate and create the very best environmental educational resources from around the country and provide these to teachers in a way that’s engaging, digitally enabled and lots of fun. These resources link to the core NZ curriculum, enabling classrooms to learn all about the environment.

We focus on inspiring our rangatahi with a deep connection to nature - and they are the ones who will be living with the results of our actions/inaction today. Once inspired, kids then go on to influence their whānau, friends and community - nice! 🎉 We believe that the NZ educational system should holistically be centered around our inseparable connection to the natural environment - we hope we can play a key part in making this a reality.

Squawk Squad goes to Antarctica!

In March 2020, our Chief Squawker (CEO) Owain, headed down to Antarctica after being awarded a prestigious scholarship for a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to experience wild places, and keep the ‘spirit of exploration’ alive among young New Zealanders. A big thanks to the Antarctic Heritage Trust for enabling this to happen!

We used this unique opportunity to film our first environmental adventure for our Antarctica and Climate Change Education Programme. This is focused on the greatest environmental challenge of our time – Climate Change. Polar plunges and feeding the This is the first of many adventures (think ‘The Adventures of Tin Tin’....) that engage our rangatahi to develop a global environmental mindset while taking local action in Aotearoa-NZ. Check out our 'Impact Page' on this website for the latest videos and actions completed by our participating classrooms!

We're currently developing our vision for the next exciting 'Environmental Adventure' - stay tuned...!

For additional insight into what 2019's programme looked like feel free to check out our 2019 programme here:

2019 EDUCATIONAL WEBSITE

Together with the teachers of NZ, we are inspiring our tamariki to become kaitiaki for Aotearoa, through education and action. Check out how engaged the kids have been during the previous years via the videos below!

2020 Highlights Video

2019 Highlights Video

2018 Highlights Video

2017 Highlights Video

A massive thanks to all our our wonderful supporters and partners who are helping us realise our vision - as with any passion project there have been many 1,000's of volunteer hours contributed both by our team internally, and our supporters externally. We look forward to what the future will bring!  

Meet the Team

Owain John
Chief Squawker (CEO)

Likes dressing up a giant kiwi and attempting to fly (semi-successful). Passionate about creating social change – excited for the incredible team we have this year!

Fraser McConnell
Co-Founder

Fraser (a.k.a "bird boy") was one of the many big brains behind Squawk Squad's beginnings. He has a deep passion for the outdoors and spends as much time as he can in his tent. He is also an Edmund Hillary Fellow, TedX speaker and was a finalist for the 2020 Young New Zealander of the Year

Siobhan O'Connor
Future Founder - Program Manager

Siobhan’s life goal is to become a real mermaid. While waiting for divine intervention she's managing our education programme and trying not to turn into a bird.

Anya Bukholt-Payne
Future Founder - Education Lead

Anya is responsible for nerding out about Antarctica like a five year old and roping people in the office into putting their hands in ice-water.

Dylan Glave
International Graduate Intern

Dylan joined the team because of a passion for education and Aoteroa. He stretches out his days between California and New Zealand like a Trans-Pacific yoga pose. His goal is to assist the communication and education teams in their quests for enlightened engagement with students, teachers and stakeholders alike

Ryan Walker
Strategic and Technical Lead

Ryan is responsible for beautifying the not so beautiful things and primarily talking in jargon.