Invasive species are a major threat to native ecosystems worldwide, with the Southwest being no different. According to Executive Order 13112, an invasive species is defined as a species that is:

  1. non-native to the ecosystem under consideration and
  2. whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

Invasive species are considered to be among the top threats to biodiversity. Their ability to reproduce quickly and outcompete native species for resources creates great challenges for land management. Within the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve, numerous invasive plants have displaced native species and are threatening the ecological balance of our natural cienega.

The presence of invasive species at the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve presents a conundrum to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden’s mission to conserve the rich botanical heritage and biodiversity of our region, but we are up to the challenge.

The Adopt an Invasive Species Program was created in order to control invasive plant species at the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve. The program teaches volunteers about target invasive plants, including their biology and best removal practices, in order to build a community to manage and care for the Wetland Preserve. The program currently focuses on the following target species:

Adopt an Invasive Species Program volunteers assist in the management of the target invasive plants, such as prevention, early detection, control, restoration, and outreach. This program provides an opportunity to help restore a unique cienega ecosystem. If you would like to participate in the Adopt an Invasive Species Program, please attend one of the monthly Volunteer Orientation Trainings at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, where you will find out more information about the program.

If you would like to learn more about invasive species in the Southwest, please visit these websites:


Common teasel (Dipsacus fullonum). Photo Credit: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

Kochia (Bassia scoparia). Photo Credit: Oregon State University.

Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola). Photo Credit: Jim Kennedy.

Slender Russian thistle (Salsola collina). Photo Credit: Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,

Prickly Russian thistle (Salsola tragus). Photo Credit: Mel Harte.