Deck to offer peeks at wildlife

Published 5:16 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017

Visitors to and walkers on the Sarah Terry Trail in Farmville will soon be able to get a closer look at the surrounding wildlife thanks to an observation deck being constructed by the Margaret Watson Bird Club and the Town of Farmville.

The deck began taking shape in late August, Club President Amanda Dymacek said, after the idea and blueprint for the deck had been underway for about two years, headed by past president Damien Fehrer and drafted by club member Tina Wells.

Dymacek said the approximately 36-foot-long deck, which includes a 24-foot-long boardwalk and a 12-foot-long platform, is located in close proximity to three of the habitats home to the birds around Wilck’s Lake, which include swamp areas, the lake and marshland.

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The Margaret Watson Bird Club, first called the Spring Creek Club, was established in 1967 by Margaret H. Watson, of Darlington Heights. The family of Hunter Watson provided support for the deck.

The deck has the official name of The Margaret Watson Bird Observation Platform, but Dymacek said in a news release that the project has the apt nickname, “The Flight Deck.”

The location will give casual hikers and expert birdwatchers the opportunity to view all sorts of birds that exist around the area, Dymacek said. There are also plans to assemble signs that describe the most common types of birds in the area.

“People will better know where to look,” Dymacek said regarding the deck.

Friends of the Appomattox River and Cumberland Building Supply supported efforts for the deck, Dymacek said, as has the Town of Farmville.

Town of Farmville spokeswoman Kate Pickett Eggleston said the Margaret Watson Bird Club raised funds for the deck, and the Town of Farmville is installing the deck, contracting Farmville-based Booth & Company Inc. for its construction.

Town Manager Gerald Spates said in a statement that the deck will give the community and visitors a chance to further explore the area.

“The bird watching platform is a great addition to Wilck’s Lake and a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to explore the lake and the surrounding environment,” Spates said.

Evan Spears, the club vice president, said the deck will give people the opportunity to see wildlife they wouldn’t normally be able to view from their backyards.

Spears and Dymacek said the club meets the first Thursday of every month between September and May at the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library. The club also takes about two trips a month to various places across the Heart of Virginia to explore areas with different species of birds.

Planning for a ribbon cutting for the deck and boardwalk is underway, Dymacek said. The event expects to bring together several organizations, including Friends of the Appomattox River.

Spears said he hopes the deck will mean people will not have to go far to catch a glimpse of area wildlife.

“We hope to get other people to appreciate it as well,” Spears said.

To learn more about the club, visit or contact