Elmwood Park Zoo is excited to announce its new online destination for fun and educational content, “EPZoo2U.com.” The website provides guests with links to the zoo’s various videos, live streams, games and lessons that can be enjoyed for free by both children and adults. The zoo’s intent with EPZoo2U.com is to continue to provide the community with experiences that will inspire a commitment to wildlife conservation, even while the zoo is closed to daily visitors.
The highlight of Elmwood Park Zoo’s online educational offerings is “Bubby’s Club.” Named after the zoo’s bison mascot, “Bubby’s Club” features a number of activities, such as browser-based games that task children with identifying animal sounds, and finding the creatures that use camouflage to disappear in their environment. Visitors can also watch videos, and read through the books selected by Bubby in his very own book club.
Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the zoo will also be broadcasting “Zoo School Live!” through Facebook Live. This 15 to 20 minute program will feature the zoo’s Education Team presenting a lesson along with an animal from the zoo’s Ambassador program. Viewers can post questions to be answered live during the stream. Anyone who misses the broadcast will be able to watch the post throughout the day on Facebook, or visit the archive hosted on EPZoo2U.com. “Zoo School Live!” will stream live Monday through Friday at 11 am.
“Education has always been the cornerstone of Elmwood Park Zoo – it’s our first consideration in all our endeavors” says Jennifer Conti, Elmwood Park Zoo’s Development Director. “Our commitment to educate and engage with the community remains true even now, and we hope families can use or educational resources as so many homes become schools.”
The zoo will be working in the coming days to add content to EPZoo2U.com, such virtual tours and live streams of exhibit animals. Updates will be announced and made available on EPZoo2U.com, as well as elmwoodparkzoo.org.
Elmwood Park Zoo is one of many organizations to close during Pennsylvania State’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. On Friday, March 13, the zoo began a drive to support its Emergency Fund. The fund seeks to offset the zoo’s substantial financial loss caused by the loss of daily visitors. For information on how to support the Emergency Fund, visit elmwoodparkzoo.org.
Elmwood Park Zoo has received a generous grant from the TD Charitable Foundation that will directly support the creation and operation of its new Connection Corner. Connection Corner is a dedicated space in the zoo that will feature daily presentations highlighting individual members of the animal ambassador collection.
Before the creation of the Connection Corner, the animal ambassadors would typically only be seen outside of the zoo, taking part in Zoo-On-Wheels programs that visit schools and public events. The Connection Corner not only provides these animals with a new dedicated space to appear, but it also provides the zoo’s education staff with space to exercise the animals while interacting with guests.
TD Charitable Foundation’s $35,000 grant provides for the Connection Corner’s daily operation, as well as other educational programs that the zoo uses to support its mission of promoting wildlife and environmental conservation.
The Connection Corner is open daily, weather permitting, and is located across from the zoo’s playground. Appearance times vary throughout the day; for more information, guests are encouraged to check the zoo’s website at elmwoodparkzoo.org, or download the Elmwood Park Zoo mobile app, available for iOS and Android devices.
About TD Charitable Foundation
The TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, one of the 10 largest commercial banking organizations in the United States. Since its inception in 2002, the Foundation has distributed over $222 million through nearly 21,000 grants through donations to local nonprofits from Maine to Florida. More information on the TD Charitable Foundation, including the online grant application, is available at https://www.tdbank.com/corporate-responsibility/the-ready-commitment/funding-opportunities/
About Elmwood Park Zoo
Established in 1924, Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown is home to dozens of wild and endangered species. As a nonprofit organization accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, its mission is to foster an appreciation for wildlife and the environment that will inspire active participation in conservation.
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 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.