Are you interested in experiencing a predator free New Zealand? Can you even imagine what it might be like? It sounds incredible to me! It also sounds difficult to achieve…
They say that a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Right now, there are hundreds of trapping groups and thousands of volunteers across the country out there trying to make this happen. They’re actually making a surprising difference where they are doing their thing. But this is just the first step.
One of the major problems these groups are facing is that although they’re full of passion and drive, they’re poor on resources as they bootstrap these projects through donations of time and money.
What if we all got involved and contributed somehow? With everyone playing some small part, we could see something wonderful happen!
But, even if you wanted to get involved and help out, how would you do it? What would it look like? Where would you even start?
Last year I was contacted by a group of people who had those exact questions. They didn’t have the answers either… What they did have was an ambitious idea.
Extremely unfortunate circumstances had led them to this point. They were connected by a woman named Penny WIllocks. Penny wanted to directly help community groups that were trapping in her region but was frustrated by how difficult it could be to find and help them. Sadly, Penny passed away from cancer, but a gift in her will and donations from family and friends enabled them to embark on a mission to turn her dream to connect community groups with donors into reality.
They came to me with their plan for a platform that would allow people like you and I to easily find a trapping group that needs support, see exactly what they need, enter a credit card number, and sit back knowing that you’ve played some small part in ridding the country of these pests. Behind the scenes the donation you have made is sent directly to the supplier who then ships the trap directly to the group. Previously you might have needed to order a trap then figure out how to get it to the people that needed it.
The idea was simple yet powerful. We’ve been asked plenty of times throughout this process why it didn’t already exist.
So, I set forth to turn this vision into reality. 6 months later, we have a platform that does exactly what it says on the box. We’re connecting people wanting to make donations with the groups that need support and suppliers that have what the groups need. The software connects all the dots and makes it super easy for all parties involved to make a difference.
Built with React, NextJS, Node, a Stripe integration, and deployed on AWS we’ve substantially automated the process such that the platform admin is really just monitoring to ensure the various humans are fulfilling their responsibilities. The package includes an admin portal built with React which includes user roles authorisation to allow groups and suppliers to login and manage their own info, a frontend website built with NextJS for improved SEO, and an API built with Node and backed by a MongoDB database.
With the platform built and successfully tested in the real world with a closed group, they now needed to find someone to take ownership of the platform. They wanted to see it become a thing but they weren’t interested in running it forever. Although there were a number of strong contenders, in the end the obvious choice was also the keenest. This week the contract was signed to pass ownership of the platform to Forest & Bird who are excited to go big with it. The project is really going to benefit from being associated with such a powerhouse in this space and the voice that F&B will give the platform.
The official announcement of the Give a Trap (https://giveatrap.org.nz) platform is included in Forest & Bird’s autumn publication which is due to hit >100k letterboxes today.
I’ve been so honoured and humbled to be part of a project like this. It’s not often that you get to be part of something that has such massive potential to change the world we live in. I’m super excited to see kiwis get in behind it and contribute to bringing back our native species that are struggling under the weight of the introduced predators.
If you have read this far but you haven’t quite twigged about how you can help make NZ predator free without leaving your couch, then I’ll make it super obvious. If you give a crap about our native species then you need to head over to Give a Trap (https://giveatrap.org.nz), find a group or project that spins your wheels, and show them some love.
Do it now, it’ll make you feel great!
Thanks for reading. It was a long one. Please share Give a Trap far and wide. This thing deserves to be shouted from the rooftops.