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Keeping Kokako Safe at Pukaha

Community schools, Squawk Squad, Goodnature NZ and Pukaha Mount Bruce, National Wildlife Centre band together to Keep Kokako Safe at Pukaha.

Three different conservation groups in New Zealand are engaging local community schools in conservation education to help raise awareness and funds to get traps monitored at Pukaha Mount Bruce, National Wildlife Centre. Pukaha Mount Bruce currently has over 30 wild kokako in their 942 hectare reserve. This project aims to increase the number of wild kokako at Pukaha to over 100.

Over term one any community school from the Wairarapa through to Palmerston North can join this initiative. Together Pukaha and Squawk Squad have sourced fun school resources to assist teachers to become part of the - Keep Kokako safe at Pukaha project. Using social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube schools can be part of this cool conservation campaign right from their class room! View the video launch here:


Over the next 5 weeks there will be 5 different conservation action lessons which schools will access by following a YouTube link to a downloadable education pack. This gives teachers access to quick, easy conservation lesson plans to deliver to their class. The resources and plans have a range of activities and cater for different age groups. They are also quick and easy to integrate into a teaching day.

Link to the education pack here:


Each Community School that signs up to get involved can help spread the word to help fund traps at Pukaha Mount Bruce. The schools who actively fund a trap and download the Squawk squad app will be able to see exactly where it is deployed and are notified every time the trap activates. Key metrics such as number of pests trapped, the sanctuary leader board, bird noise level and reintroduced species are relayed back to the school using the Squawk Squad app.

Schools can follow the project on YouTube and check back weekly to hear from Fraser, at Squawk Squad who was last week’s school winner and what the next weeks conservation action plan is.

There are weekly prizes for the most conservation engaged class taking part and an overall grand prize of a FREE class trip to Pukaha Mount Bruce!

Pukaha and Squawk Squad will select what school is the most conservation engaged class by watching the short easy video uploads classes send in. Classes can take the video on a phone, iPad or other device and using hashtags provided in the education pack the videos will reach Pukaha and the Squawk Squad team. Every week there will be one class winner and at the end of the 5 weeks an overall Grand Prize winner. The Grand Prize includes a fully guided class visit to Pukaha Mount Bruce and a FREE Goodnature trap for your school. The schools can then get started with cool conservation actions in their own school’s backyard!

Squawk squad is a social media enterprise that aims to connect and engage people in the protection and growth of our native bird life. Squawk Squad connects people with sanctuaries via a web-app that gives them the ability to collectively fund sensor-connected traps in aid of sanctuary projects. The funders can see where their trap is deployed in the sanctuary and are notified in real-time when their trap activates. Together with a live view of all traps and when they activate, sanctuaries are also saved a considerable amount of labour time.

This education project also partners with Goodnature NZ, the conservation technology company that has designed self-resettable traps that target rats, stoats and possums. They are gas powered for 24 shots without any re-setting needed and their automatic lures last for six months. Goodnature’s traps are the self-resetting traps used by Squawk Squad. Pukaha Mount Bruce has over 600 Goodnature traps around their 942 hectares.

Pukaha general manager, Emily Court is very excited about engaging with all local schools on this project. “Without partnerships like this, conservation efforts in New Zealand would be at a standstill. It involves communities working together with their local conservation projects to raise awareness and funds for these initiatives for them to be successful.” “The trend of using social media platforms to interact with our kids in a positive way speaks volumes about how progressive and innovative Pukaha is in its battle to protect our unique environment and wildlife.”

Goodnature co-founder and Design Director Robbie van Dam says, "Goodnature's ambition from the outset has been to reignite the Kiwi passion for nature. The more we invite all generations into the environment that we proudly celebrate, and having more people thinking about how we protect our environment, the better.”

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