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Volunteers sought for de-peppering of North Captiva

By Staff | Oct 13, 2011

A closeup image of the Brazilian pepper plant.

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation is recruiting volunteers to help de-pepper North Captiva Island on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Gathering at Barnacle Phil’s Restaurant at 9:15 a.m., volunteers will rendezvous with staff from Cayo Costa State Park and SCCF to lay out a plan of attack for the invading Brazilian pepper.

This noxious non-native plant has grown so aggressively so as to overtake gopher tortoise burrows and coco plum shrubs. The villain – Brazilian pepper – is one tough plant to eliminate, so it is necessary to have a multipronged approach to its eradication.

Volunteers will be asked to use hand tools such as pruners and loppers while park staff will follow behind with chain saws.

SCCF has established a North Captiva Conservation Fund for conservation and education work on North Captiva. The first money into the fund came from removing the dollar bills from the walls of the Barnacle Phil’s restaurant this past summer.

There are two items of caution:

Some people are allergic to Brazilian pepper, which causes a rash much like poison ivy.

Transportation to and from Barnacle Phil’s, located on the north shore in Safety Harbor on North Captiva Island, is the responsibility of the volunteers.

North Captiva is a gorgeous, 4.5 mile long bridgeless barrier island. That is to say this piece of paradise can only be publically accessed by boat. This is a great chance to get to know the island from the inside out and then take a plunge into the Gulf of Mexico. Bring your bathing suit and work gloves, Dress in long pants, long sleeves and sensible shoes.

For anyone willing to declare war on this green alien, please contact Kristie Anders at SCCF by calling 472-2329 or sending an e-mail to kanders@sccf.org.