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Wellington’s Landscaping Team Works To Keep The Community Green

Going Native BY CALLIE SHARKEY

One key to Wellington’s allure, both to residents and visitors, is its small-town feel. An important part of that atmosphere is the amount of green space and trees found in the community. Wellington’s landscaping team is key to setting the tone, from the moment one drives past the first Village of Wellington welcome sign. Brian Hopper is the operations superintendent in charge of all landscaping and trees found on village property. Over the past seven years, he has taken his master’s degree in forest resources and conservation from the University of

Florida to bring the vegetation in Wellington to a more natural state. “Having a strong natural resources background gives me the tendency to use native species whenever I can. I’m always looking for ways to increase our tree canopy,” Hopper said. “My favorite thing is when I get an opportunity to be creative. By that I mean, do our own in-house designs for landscape enhancements, especially to plant trees in spaces that didn’t have any.” This tendency to use native plants has long-term side effects for Wellington that are beyond just aesthetics.

Landscaping team members (L-R) Jeff DeMaria, Jason Sweeney, Robert Burton, David Dupont, Brian Hopper, Augustin Vargas, Peter Messmore, Steve Gurski, Jerry Larreategui, Kevin Mclymont, Kevensy Greffin, Israel Brito and Rudy Nunez.

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“Native plants are more cost effective,” said Deputy Director of Public Works Bill Conerly, who is Hopper’s supervisor. “They require less treatment, too. You don’t get the exotic pests, and they don’t need the herbicides to take care of themselves. I’m a Florida guy. I’ve seen the changes, and the native species are low maintenance compared to exotic plants.” Conerly and Hopper have worked together for years and share a passion for taking care of Wellington’s greenery. One such project they are both proud of is the Wellington Environmental Preserve at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat, located at 3491 Flying Cow Ranch Road. “It started off as an old agricultural field that was nothing but Brazilian pepper, and they carved out the retention areas to attract birds,” Hopper recalled. “They did initial plantings, and we have added to it every single year just to make it better. Now, everything has started to grow and recruit native species. Not only do you get to see aquatic vegetation but upland habitats — all built from scratch.” The 365-acre preserve has been a work in progress that began in 2007 and now has plants ranging from wildflowers to oak trees re-seeding and growing on their own. Originally designed to be a stormwater retention area, there is much more going on at

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WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE – December 2019  

December 2019 | ON THE COVER Model Elle Wohlert on the veranda outside Piatto Bravo. Styling and dress by La Casa Hermosa. Photo by Abner Pe...

WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE – December 2019  

December 2019 | ON THE COVER Model Elle Wohlert on the veranda outside Piatto Bravo. Styling and dress by La Casa Hermosa. Photo by Abner Pe...