Kiwi kids becoming 'Wingspan Warriors' in bid to save $20 note NZ falcon

Saving the karearea (also known as the New Zealand falcon) has become part of the curriculum in classrooms across the country, as schoolchildren get involved in preserving this declining species.

School children will be involved in helping preserve the declining karearea species. Source: 1 NEWS

The native birds live mainly in commercial pine forests, meaning many of their eggs are hatched and raised in captivity before being released into the wild.

Next term more than 10,000 students will become "Wingspan Warriors," learning about creating healthy habits and environments for birds like the karearea.

"A lot of our kids are actually hunters and they may go into the forest and they may shoot them or injure them I want the kids to know what the bird looks like," Mokoia Intermediate teacher Jenny Markotsis said.

The conservation programme is a joint effort with forestry companies, who see the benefits in preserving the bird which appears on NZ's $20 notes.

"A key part of their environmental responsibility is to manage rare species, manage reserve areas and manage the area in general, so the falcon really fit nicely into that scheme," Colin Maunder, Timberlands Forest Risk Manager said.

There are fewer than 10,000 wild falcon in New Zealand, with most of them dying before their first birthday.

Experts say 200 are illegally shot each year.

The new conservation programme will hopefully see the younger generation able to bring that number down in the years to come.