Elmwood Park Zoo is excited to unveil a brand new educational initiative to benefit local school students. Entitled “Elementary Education Takeovers,” the program invites area schools to visit the zoo, free of charge, for a whole day full of experiential learning activities.
The first Elementary Education Takeover is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7, from 10 am to 2 pm. Every first grade student from the Norristown School District, estimated to be over 650 children, will be attending. The students will be treated to a number of special interpretive education stations and a zoo-wide scavenger hunt.
“Our community is incredibly important to the Elmwood Park Zoo, especially the children. We wanted to create an opportunity that ensured every child in the Norristown school district is able to visit the Zoo at least once so that they can know the wonder of animals,” said Laura Houston, Elmwood Park Zoo’s Director of Education. “We hope that this is an introductory step that will allow students to know the Zoo is a welcoming and valuable resource right in their own backyard.”
The Elementary Education Takeover is made possible by a $12,235.50 grant from the Montgomery County Foundation Inc.’s 2018 Drew Lewis Donor Advised Fund, as well as a $12,000 grant from the Quest for the Best Foundation. Their generous contributions will finance the busing, admission, programs and animal feedings for every student. Elmwood Park Zoo is also providing lunch to every Takeover attendee, free of charge.
“We are truly fortunate to partner with the Elmwood Park Zoo on this first of its kind ‘Education Takeover’ day,” said Christopher Dormer, Superintendent of Schools. “Their commitment to our students by providing this opportunity for experiential learning will truly benefit and enrich the life and learning of each and every first grade student participating. We cannot thank them enough for their generosity to host such an event. We look forward to expanding opportunities for EPZ and NASD to work together to strengthen and enrich the community.”
Elmwood Park Zoo has begun a new program intended to promote physical fitness among its employees, with the added goal of raising money for wildlife conservation. Entitled “Conservation Migration,” the program proposes that if the zoo’s employees were to walk to 95 fellow AZA-accredited zoos across the country, the roundtrip would total over 10,100 miles. The goal is for the zoo’s employees to collectively walk that distance in under 7 weeks.
In order to log the miles needed for the program’s goal, the zoo provided each of its full time employees with a new Fitbit Charge 3 activity tracker. The employees were then split into 6 teams; these teams will compete against each other for the highest number of steps/miles. The team members will be seeking donations and sponsors for their efforts, and the team that raises the most money will get to give all of the collected donations to their selected cause. Elmwood Park Zoo will be matching the donation up to $5,000.
“The health and well-being of our employees is just as important as it is for the animals in our care,” said Al Zone, Elmwood Park Zoo’s Executive Director and CEO. “With our ‘Conservation Migration’ program, we’ve created a fun and exciting way for our staff to be active while also supporting the zoo’s mission.”
The zoo will announce the results of its “Conservation Migration” program at its Party for the Planet event on April 27. Party for the Planet is Elmwood Park Zoo’s Earth Day celebration that features “green” and eco-minded vendors on display throughout the day. For more information, click here
Elmwood Park Zoo is observing an exciting milestone in 2019, as the nonprofit organization and Norristown, PA landmark celebrates 95 years of supporting and promoting wildlife conservation.
Elmwood Park Zoo first opened to the public on July 4th, 1924, with 6 white tailed deer headlining its meager collection. Today the zoo is home to dozens of species from all over the globe, including giraffes, jaguars, and zebras. It is one of the oldest zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). In 2018 the zoo welcomed over 600,000 guests, and it saw the number of annual members grow to over 13,000.
“We are proud and excited to be observing such a distinctive occasion,” said Al Zone, Elmwood Park Zoo’s Executive Director and CEO. “It’s humbling to be part of such a long running and beloved institution, and to know that you had a hand in its success.”
In addition to introducing a new 95th Anniversary version of its logo, the zoo plans on commemorating its anniversary throughout the year with various promotions and special events:
- Beginning March 4 and continuing every Monday throughout the year, the zoo will offer its first 95 guests discounted $9.95 admission.
- The zoo’s 11th annual Beast of a Feast fundraiser on June 20 will offer guests delicious food from Montgomery County’s top restaurants. Beast of a Feast is sponsored by 92.5 XTU.
- Elmwood Park Zoo’s 4th annual Wine Safari on August 16 returns to take guests on a tasting tour of local vineyards, breweries and distilleries.
- The zoo’s inaugural Golfing Fore Conservation outing will tee off September 23 at Bluestone Country Club in Blue Bell, PA.
- Elmwood Park Zoo’s Anniversary Gala will be a formal celebration of the zoo’s many accomplishments over the course of its 95 years, as well as its bright future. The Gala will be held on November 14 at Bluestone Country Club.
Additional promotions and events will be introduced throughout the year. Information on the festivities can be found by visiting epz95.com or elmwoodparkzoo.org, or by calling 610.277.3825 x 222.
Elmwood Park Zoo is pleased to announce it has received a $20,000 grant from the SEI Cares Fund, a charitable donor-advised fund of SEI Investments Co. The grant will be used to continue the zoo’s “Touch Tours” program, which provides tactile and sensory-driven experiences for blind and auditory-impaired children.
“SEI Cares has sustained the ‘Touch Tours’ program for a number of years, and for that, I am extremely grateful,” said Jennifer Conti, Elmwood Park Zoo’s Development Director. “With their support, the zoo can offer more than just a visual experience. Now, students with diverse needs can experience the zoo in a manner that is native to their learning styles; they can feel the soft pelt of a chinchilla, smell the sweet grain of our barn feed, and hear the calls from the Connelly Foundation Birds of Paradise exhibit. It is truly a unique program, and one that we are proud to offer.”
The grant also provides for zoo staff to attend continuing-education classes with teachers from the Overbrook School for the Blind. These classes help the zoo to improve their programs and become a more inclusive facility.
Guests can learn more about Elmwood Park Zoo’s accessibility services and amenities by visiting elmwoodparkzoo.org/visit/accessibility-amenities.
Author Jerry Spinelli and a host of other special guests will help Elmwood Park Zoo celebrate their annual Read Across America event on Saturday, March 2, from 11 AM to 2 PM. Read Across America is an event organized by the National Education Association. It celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Seuss by encouraging children and young adults to read.
The zoo’s celebration features Mr. Spinelli, a Norristown native and acclaimed author of “Maniac Magee” and “Stargirl.” He will be greeting guests and signing books in the zoo’s Canopy Gardens Hall.
Additional special guests will include members of RSVP, a King of Prussia-based organization that supports communities through volunteerism. They will be reading popular English and Spanish language children’s stories.
Popular PBS Kids character Super Why will be greeting guests, courtesy of his friends from the WHYY Kids Club.
In addition to the special guest appearances, Read Across America will also feature a book fair, live animal greets, and a used book drive that benefits RSVP. Read Across America is a free to attend event after purchasing regular zoo admission.
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 1SEO.com, 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.”