Squawk Squad - Global Change Environmental Education Platform
HundrED shortlisted this innovation
What we do!
Our vision: “Inspiring a generation tamariki to become of kaitiaki of Aotearoa-NZ, through education and action”
How? By building a world-class environmental education platform and running digital programmes that are scalable, innovative, interactive, and that empower collective action"
Who are we?
We are New Zealand's fastest-growing Environmental Education Provider.
Over the last 3 years, Squawk Squad has engaged 45,000 kiwi kids in environmental education. Our unique programmes have been delivered to 2000 schools, deciles 1-10, nationwide.
3 years of success I 45,000 kiwi kids I 2,000 schools
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.
Soon we realised that there were bigger issues beyond what we could solve via traps alone, and the education programme was born. Now, education has become the most powerful part of Squawk Squad. UPDATE - check out the impact we're currently creating via our 2020 programme here!
We are living in remarkable times - never before has there been such a surge in collective action led by our youth demanding positive change. We are empowering them and giving them agency to be the change they want to see!
How it works:
We are not your average education outfit.
We provide teachers with videos and resources to use in their classroom on different environmental topics. The kids are motivated by the engaging videos, and the teacher uses the resources (i.e. lesson plans) we provide to teach their students about different environmental challenges. Following this, teachers and students then take tangible environmental action to create impact in their community - Squawk Squad makes it easy for the teachers and fun for the kids! Check out our 2019 Education Website here for the best idea of exactly what we do.
Our unique digital approach ensures that everything is highly interactive, engaging and accessible and importantly, scalable. Over the last 3 years, kids have sent us hundreds of videos showing themselves taking direct, tangible environmental actions as a direct result of Squawk Squad during our programmes - check out 2019’s Highlights Reel here for more insight!
In summary our unique approach is:
- Highly engaging and interactive
- Digitally scalable
- Creates tangible environmental impact
- Connects classrooms to a collective movement
- Inspires on-going action within the students' communities
Added note - Scalability and Transferability:
As mentioned, our solution by nature is highly scalable. We provide digital content and engagement, that empowers local teachers to become environmental champions within their school/community. Throughout the programmes, we ensure that our content is transferable into local contexts - i.e. "how is this environmental challenge relevant to your area?". By ensuring that our approach is transferrable, this means that it is not only transferrable nationwide but in time can become internationally transferable too. When we reach that stage in our development, we could either look to develop globally relevant programmes ourselves, and/or look at how we can become the 'host' - i.e. empower local organisations to create country-specific programmes that are hosted on our site, that maximise collective impact.
Added note - Growth:
We've already reached 45,000 kids over the last 3 years and have recently launched and completed our latest Climate Change/Antarctica programme via our custom-built "Think Global, Act Local" education platform to a cohort of ~4000 kids nationwide. This was a "pilot programme" - now we will refine the platform/experience based on user-feedback, before looking to open it up more publically in 2021. We aim to become a common name in NZ primary schools/house-holds nationwide, while looking to turn our sights on expanding internationally as appropriate.
Added note - Covid:
Covid has shown that our work is now more relevant and more needed than ever. Collective action is the answer to many of the world's biggest challenges (such as climate change), and we're excited to be catalyzing this collective action via our education initiative. Here in NZ we take inspiration from the fact that we've managed to eliminate the virus through collective action - this has opened up new conversations as to what's to stop us doing the same for other big environmental challenges?
In addition to this, teachers are now more accepting of digital education than ever before - this will only add momentum to our vision.
Purpose and Positivity!
During our programmes, students and teachers feel part of a collective movement - giving them purpose and meaning to their schooling. Acting collectively reduces eco-anxiety, and replaces this with optimism and excitement.
"Last year was our first year doing the Squawk Squad progamme, and the kids absolutely loved it. This year we're excited to be a part of it again!" Lynda, Takaka Primary School, NZ
For every student that a teacher inspires to be more sustainable, they go home and inspire two parents, who in turn inspire each of their friends...a snowball effect occurs - soon the whole community can be on-board and real social change can begin.
Our youth are the ones that will be experiencing the full effect of the choices that we make today.
Collective global action is required on an unprecedented scale - this means taking political, commercial, and personal responsibility towards sustainable choices in our daily lives. Our youth are eager to lead the change - we’ve seen that through the recent School Strikes For Climate - but they need to be empowered, and they need to understand what is at stake. We firmly believe that Aotearoa-NZ can lead the world - and to do this, first we need to empower our rangatahi through innovative education initiatives like ours.
Kia maia, ngā mihi nui,
The Team at Squawk Squad
“The future of classrooms is one in which there is energy, agility and vitality. It’s a community of learners being facilitated by an expert teacher. It’s a dynamic encounter that’s guided by expert and knowledgeable mentors, and one that recognizes that students are part of the conversation and not just the recipients.” - Sir Ken Robinson