At-risk teens get zoo day thanks to CEO who was once in their shoes

Story and photo courtesy of John McDevitt/KYW News Radio 1060

It was a day of fun, education and inspiration for a group of court-adjudicated teenagers who spent the day at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown.

A group of about 20 students from Glen Mills Schools — a residential facility for court-adjudicated youth between 12 and 18 — got off the bus and spent the day exploring what the zoo has to offer.

Many of them have never been to a zoo before — let alone one that offers zip lining.

Successful business owner Lance Bachmann, president and CEO of tech firm, sponsored the day because he was once in these teens’ shoes.

“I spent two years at Glen Mills — most people don’t know that,” he admitted. “So people are ashamed of that growing up as a kid. I always tell people I’m not ashamed of that at all. I had no control. I’m one of 14 children, grew up poor, single mother, abusive father — just not a good environment, and Glen Mills helped save my life.”

Bachmann told the kids to never let your past dictate your future — and he made his words a reality for one young student.

“One of you young students in this room are going to go to college for free next year,” he said to a surprised group. “I’m going to pay for the whole entire tuition.”

“Sometimes I feel that people can’t relate to what I’ve been through or going through right now,” said 17-year-old Corde Fitzhugh, “so it’s refreshing and heartfelt that someone who was actually in the shoes that I was in. And he is doing great and is giving me the hope that I can do the same thing — or even better.”

Fellow 17-year-old Semaj Richards was blown away by Bachmann’s generosity.

“I want to be that next man that actually do something for the youth that is actually going through what we went through,” he hoped.

Five Tips to Plan an Eco-Friendly Trip

The summer is winding down, but plenty of people still look to travel into the fall, especially for larger holidays like Labor Day weekend. While getting away from your day-to-day life can be fun, it’s important to remember how your plans will affect your planet! This is by no means a comprehensive list, but we’ve compiled five tips to plan a trip with less of a negative environmental impact. Check them out, and let us know if you have any tips you swear by when planning getaways! 

1. Location, location, location

The most exciting part of planning a trip is deciding where you’re going! When selecting a destination, take into consideration how far of a trip it will be, and what method of transportation you’ll need to get there. Look into the possibility of participating in eco-tourism for a more sustainable way of traveling! Companies like these offer trips to destinations around the world that prioritize sustainability in each of their trips. 

2. Getting from point A to point B

Once you decide on your destination, the logical next step is deciding how to get there! Is it possible to take a car or train, or is it necessary to use air travel? While convenient, flying isn’t the most eco-friendly method of transportation. A round-trip flight between New York and California can generate about 20% of the greenhouse gases that your car emits over the course of an entire year. If it’s necessary to fly, try booking nonstop flights, and look for more energy efficient airlines. 

3. New digs

The thing that can make or break your trip: your accommodations. Do your research before leaving to identify more sustainable hotels or housing. If possible, look for hotels and houses that are energy efficient, have proper waste management systems, recycle, and use alternate forms of energy (solar, hydroelectric, etc.). Bonus points if the home stay helps benefit the economy of the local community, especially on an eco-tour!  

4. Green guests

While on your trip, be a responsible guest! If you live an eco-friendly life at home, take that lifestyle on the road with you! No matter what the destination, be sure to respect the local environment. Leave nothing but footprints! Do your best to recycle, conserve water and energy resources, and look for activities that don’t have a heavy environmental impact.

5. Wish you were here

On your way out, you may be tempted to get souvenirs for your friends and family. Especially when traveling overseas, be sure that no mementos from your trip involve any endangered species (i.e.: animal hides, body parts, tortoise-shell, ivory, coral, etc.) These gifts are not only illegal, but also extremely damaging industries to support monetarily. Sometimes it’s best to just send a postcard! 

Sources: WWF, NY Times

Elmwood Park Zoo Unveils New Website

Elmwood Park Zoo took the wrap off of their newly designed website today, revealing a fresh and modern design that is packed with new features and is responsive to mobile devices. Almost a year in the making, the new site was developed in conjunction with, based in Philadelphia, PA. 

Elmwood Park Zoo also officially unveiled its new logo today. The icon of the jaguar surrounded by palm leaves is a modern take on the zoo’s old logo which was in use for several decades. The new logo was designed by The Archer Group, based in Wilmington, DE.

One of the most exciting features on the zoo’s new website is a web cam that offers visitors a live look at our giraffe and zebra exhibits. Sponsored by Xfinity, the camera gives website visitors a direct look at the zoo’s most popular residents, with the ability to control the camera positions and take snapshots that will save to their computers. The camera is one of several that the zoo hopes to add in the next few years. 

“Comcast is proud to sponsor the new web cam feature so that animal lovers around the world can check in on the giraffe and zebras at the Elmwood Park Zoo,” said Carolyne Hannan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Comcast Freedom Region. “So many of our Xfinity Home customers enjoy using the service to see what their pets are up to while they’re not home –  we’re excited to provide a similar experience for fans of the Zoo.”

“We are extremely excited to share this new site with our guests,” said Al Zone, Elmwood Park Zoo’s Executive Director and CEO. “We are always looking to improve on our guest experience. When they visit our new website, we set the expectation for the quality and convenience that they can expect even before they set foot through our gates. And then once they are here, the site further enriches their experience with its functionality and ease-of-use.”

About 1SEO I.T. Support & Digital Marketing

1SEO I.T. Support & Digital Marketing is a Philadelphia, PA-based digital marketing firm and managed I.T. service provider offering end-to-end solutions for their clientele, which is comprised of hundreds of businesses in countless industries that operate in several sectors, from the niche to the mainstream. With a full range of services, including social media optimization, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), web development, pay per click (PPC), proactive I.T. support, and managed I.T. services, 1SEO I.T. Support & Digital Marketing helps their clients win online and maximizes the efficiency and security of their I.T. infrastructure.

About The Archer Group

The Archer Group is the largest independently-owned digital agency in the Philadelphia region, serving a diverse client roster that runs the gamut from Fortune 500 corporations to local brands. Founded in 2003, it is home to the area’s brightest digital thinkers in a comprehensive range of disciplines spanning Brand and Creative Strategy, User Experience Design, Content, Technical Development, Digital Media, Analytics, and Social. For more information about Archer, visit

About Elmwood Park Zoo

Established in 1924, the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown is home to dozens of wild and endangered species. As a non-profit organization, the Zoo’s mission is to foster an appreciation for wildlife and the environment that will inspire active participation in conservation.