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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bonnie A. Dunn Environmental Educator

Bonnie A. Dunn, 64, who led environmental education efforts at the Patuxtent River 4-H Center in Upper Marlboro, died April 21 of a heart attack at her home in Harwood.

In 1987, she helped establish the center, a 74-acre environmental education and youth facility along the banks of the Patuxtent. She was its facility manager and naturalist from 1987 until her death.

Bonnie Alma Dixon was born in Cheverly and grew up along the Patuxtent in the area now known as the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary.

A graduate of Frederick Sasscer High School in Upper Marlboro, she received an associate's degree in physical education and recreation from St. Mary's College of Maryland in 1966. In 1998, she received a bachelor's degree in business management from University of Maryland University College.

Before founding the Patuxtent River center, Mrs. Dunn was a horticulturist at Robin Hill Farm Nursery in Clinton. She was involved with 4-H clubs as a child and volunteered from the mid-1960s until the mid-1980s at a 4-H Club in Mitchellville.

She was a board member for the Patuxtent River 4-H Center Foundation and what is now known as the American Camp Association. She was also a past president of a local chapter of the American Camp Association.

From 2000 until her death, she served as a member of the Maryland Youth Camp Safety Advisory Council and was active in promoting No Child Left Inside, a national environmental-education initiative.

Her husband of 31 years, Earl Dunn, died in 1998.

Survivors include two children, Mike Dunn and Kathleen Bjerknes, both of Harwood; her mother, Alma Beall Dixon of Harwood; two sisters, Mary Etta Canter of Mitchellville and Ginger Tayman of Upper Marlboro; and three grandchildren.

-- Emma Brown

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