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Learn While You Eat

Magothy River Association teaches its ­ecosystem on placemats

     “Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”

–Winston Churchill

        It’s a scientific fact: If learning isn’t fun, it won’t be effective.

         The creative folks of the Magothy River Association believe fun has a permanent place in environmental education.

         The Severna Park nonprofit has dedicated 73 years to preserving the Magothy River and its watershed through cleanups, conservation and educational outreach.

         Now, educational placemats are one way they’re bringing lessons to Chesapeake Country kids and adults.

         Yes, placemats.

         The program began when artist and association volunteer Brad Knopf devised placemats to engage young learners with puzzles, word searches, mazes, games and artwork all exploring different parts of Magothy River ecosystems.

         This week, a new placemat rolled off the presses. Ducks of the Magothy shows six different species of colorful ducks along with six blank ducks for students to identify and color. There’s also a word search with 11 Magothy River species names waiting to be found.

         One thousand copies of Ducks of the Magothy were printed and sent to local restaurants and schools.

         “We hope to end up with a series of 12 placemats to make a calendar,” said association president Paul Spadaro. “Birds of the Magothy will be next.”

         The Magothy River Association’s new placemat joins a series of nine educational designs: Trees of the Magothy; Oysters of the Magothy; Bogs of the Magothy; Boating Safety, Magothy River; Native Americans of the Magothy; Underwater Grasses of the Magothy; Fish of the Magothy; Science Divers of the Magothy. Most of the earlier placemats appear on the Magothy River Association website: www.magothyriver.org