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Doylestown Nature Club meeting features lecture by Bucks Covered Bridge Society Chairman

by Beth Hauptle

On Monday, March 11, the Doylestown Nature Club hosted William V. Wilson, Chairman of the Bucks County Covered Bridge Society. During his hour-long presentation Wilson shared his in depth knowledge of the history of Bucks County’s covered bridges and the development of bridge building in southeast Pennsylvania. The meeting took place at the Buckingham Township Building.

Kathryn Schwenzer, PhD, President of the Doylestown Nature Club, shared that after they heard Wilson give a talk at the Historical Society of Hilltown Township a few years ago, Club members thought the topic was interesting and relevant to the Nature Club since one of its primary goals is to “beautify the community and as always to educate,” according to Schwenzer.

The Bucks County Covered Bridge Society was formed in 2007 in order to “preserve, protect and promote the care of Bucks County’s Historic covered bridges as a significant part of our area’s history, culture and development,” according to the society’s website. Bucks County was once home to more than 50 covered bridges. Many of these were lost because of neglect, flooding, development and arson. Today, 12 covered bridges and one “boxed pony” bridge remain standing in Bucks County.

Wilson’s presentation was informative and entertaining as he quizzed the engaged audience with a sort of Covered Bridge Jeopardy.

  •         The state with more extant covered bridges than any other state.  What is Pennsylvania?
  •         A nickname for covered bridges. What are Kissing Bridges?
  •         Twelve. How many covered bridges remain in Bucks County?
  •         Loux Bridge. What is the only covered bridge that is painted all white in Bucks County?
  •         Mood’s Covered Bridge in East Rockhill Township. What bridge was rebuilt in 2008 after it was totally destroyed in 2004 by arson?

Wilson shared information about various bridge building structures, early bridge engineers who paved the way for future bridge building, and amusing anecdotes about bridge building across the Delaware, Schuylkill and various creeks and tributaries.

Monthly lectures like the one given by William Wilson are a regular feature of the Doylestown Nature Club’s monthly meetings and fulfill a part of its educational mission. Founded in 1907 by Mrs. Irvin Megargee James, members met on the second and fourth Mondays in each month with a field day in between, weather permitting.

The Club continues to meet on Mondays, but now only the second Monday of each month. The mission has not veered much from the original, now being, “To provide a love of nature; to protect birds, animals and wildflowers from ruthless destruction; to conserve our natural resources; to beautify the community, and, to educate in the field of nature.”

The Club offers a variety of programs in support of its mission including fundraising for several local affiliated organizations (AARK Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, Bucks County SPCA and Peace Valley Nature Center) and awarding annual scholarships named after prominent members. The Dorothy Cameron Scholarships are awarded to a students at each of the three Central Bucks High Schools; the Edith F. Willson Scholarships is awarded to three students at Delaware Valley University (each will receive $2000 in this academic year), and the Elizabeth F. James Scholarships is awarded to three students at Temple University, Ambler Campus (each student will receive $200 this academic year). Other activities include raising food and dollars for the New Britain Baptist Church Food Larder, planting trees, and generally engaging in activities that make the community a more beautiful place.

For more information visit the Bucks County Covered Bridge Society’s website at buckscountycbs.org and the Doylestown Nature Club at doylestownnatureclub.com.

Upcoming Doylestown Nature Club Events

April 8   

Woodpeckers

Speaker: Peter Bacinski, naturalist, photographer and field trip guide that has been a leader in the field of ornithology for many decades.  He has written for numerous local, state and national publications and has won the World Series of Birding Competition three times.

April 27

Plant Exchange and Guided Tree Tour

As part of Fonthill’s Earth Day Celebration, Doylestown Nature Club will hold a community plant exchange. A tradition that has lasted for 40 years.  This year the plant exchange will be from 10 AM-2 PM at Fonthill. At 1 PM, the Club will host a free guided tree tour.

May 13

Planting Seeds, The Art and Science of Pollination

Speaker: Doylestown Nature Club and Buckingham Township are co-sponsoring a visit from the Bucks County Community College Artmobile.  An educator will be on board to answer questions about the exhibit.  Attendees will tour the exhibit after the business meeting.

June 10 noon

Annual picnic at Peace Valley Park, Pavilion

PHOTO CAP: William V. Wilson, Chairman of the Bucks County Covered Bridge Society