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Tangerine Woods: A Brazilian Pepper Success Story

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Tangerine Woods, an over 55 community in Englewood Florida, has a successful Brazilian Pepper story to tell!

What started out in 2003 as a project to eradicate Brazilian Pepper is now a project to enhance the natural beauty of the Nature Trail area. The development of the Nature Trail could well be an example of a transformation. It is also a good example of support by governmental agencies. As a result of the joint efforts of the Tangerine Woods Owners Association Board, the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, the Florida Native Plant Society, the Waste Management Corporation, and the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, the Tangerine Woods community is now in the early stages of having a well-kept nature area including a meadow with two flower beds of attractive native flowers. A recent development in 2014 was the Owner’s Board designating a “Nature Trail Preservation Committee” to oversee the development of the Nature Trail.

The Nature Trail, which is ½ mile in length, was always there but was seldom if ever used. It had the reputation of being an area filled with overgrown vegetation and many wild critters. We are pleased to report that the Nature Trail has become a favorite route for our many daily walkers. A key to the development of the Nature Trail has been the Lazy Daze Men’s work group. This is a group of some 80 men volunteers who make up 17 different crews that gather every Monday morning to take on the responsibility of acting as the Tangerine Woods maintenance department. One of these crews is the “Brazilian Pepper Eradication Crew”.

In 2006 the Brazilian Pepper Eradication Crew decided to move into the Nature Trail area that was overgrown with Brazilian Pepper. A breakthrough occurred in 2011 when as a result of removing Brazilian Pepper a beautiful vista appeared at the west end of one of our lakes. A bench was installed to allow residents to take in the beautiful, peaceful scene.

Two years later with the removal of more Brazilian Pepper a meadow appeared and it became clear that the Nature Trail area was worthy of development. The Tangerine Woods Owners Board agreed, and established a Nature Trail Preservation Committee. This committee has been very active. Its first objective was to determine if there was community interest in the development of the Nature Trail. To make that determination several meetings and Nature Trail walks were scheduled. The turnout at all meetings was gratifying and thus the committee went into the research and planning mode. We are now in the development mode thus the recent purchase of benches and native flowers.

What is presented here is only “the tip of the iceberg”. Anyone interested in more detail of what was involved in our success story should feel free to contact me at (941) 474-5476 or by email.

— Neil Sheehan