The Garden’s Mission
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden celebrates, cultivates and conserves the rich botanical heritage and biodiversity of our region. In partnership with nature, we demonstrate our commitment through education, community service and the sustainable management of our nature preserves and public garden.
It began in 1987 as a vision of a small group of local gardeners, botanists and environmentally oriented citizens to establish a botanical garden in Santa Fe. This garden has become a valuable resource to our area through programs of education and service to the community.
Their vision grew, and in 1993 the Santa Fe Botanical Garden entered into a long-term lease with the trustees of El Rancho de las Golondrinas for the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve. This 35-acre site with its spring fed pond and remarkable diversity of plants and wildlife quickly became the focus of much of the organization’s educational programming. Dedicated volunteers spent countless hours removing exotic and invasive plants, restoring the habitat through revegetation and ensuring that the pond remain a healthy environment for riparian plants, birds and invertebrates.
The 1,350-acre Ortiz Mountains Educational Preserve was acquired by the Santa Fe Botanical Garden in 2001 (a condition in the settlement agreement requiring cessation of mining activities). Since assuming stewardship, volunteers have worked to make the Preserve accessible to visitors through the addition of a network of trails and a visitors’ kiosk. Although the County of Santa Fe purchased the land in 2007, Santa Fe Botanical Garden continues to manage and provide programming for the Preserve.
In December 2006 eleven acres of land were acquired on a long-term lease from the City of Santa Fe for the development of a botanical garden at Museum Hill. Nationally recognized landscape architect W. Gary Smith was hired to create a master plan for the new garden. Following an intensive review process, the master plan was approved by the City of Santa Fe in 2011. Additional acreage was leased from the City of Santa Fe and the State of New Mexico bringing the total to 14 acres in 2013. Phase 1, the Orchard Gardens, opened in July 2013 attracting 18,000 visitors during the first six months of operations. A visitor center and Phase 2, Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands, are scheduled to open in 2015.
Letter from Clayton Bass, CEO
Dear Botanical Garden Members and Friends,
Everyone knows the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” I have proof it is true. On July 19 the Santa Fe Botanical Garden reached its one year mark since opening the Botanical Garden at Museum Hill. It seems impossible that a year has passed since our 2013 Grand Opening. The weekend kicked off with a monsoon of profound proportions, two inches of rain, 60 mile per hour winds, and intense hail all occurring within two hours of the opening party. Remarkably, the storm passed just in time, our guests arrived on a wave of enthusiasm, and many suggested it was a good omen for a new garden. Relieved and amazed, I agreed.
During the opening ceremonies, the Garden’s landscape architect, Gary Smith, our keynote speaker, Panayoti Kelaidis, senior curator of the Denver Botanical Gardens, and our special guest, Larry Littlebird, inspired the crowd with their poetic words, prayer and drum song. During the following two days 3,000 elated visitors walked through the Botanical Garden gates, and from that moment, there was no turning back. After years of nurturing, care and effort, a botanical garden had bloomed in Santa Fe.
And then what happened? One very full year of educational programs were created and offered for all ages, the Garden’s seasonal changes proved it was a year-round attraction, thousands of members and visitors were transfixed by the Garden’s beauty, a new partnership was forged with neighbor institutions to establish Museum Hill Partners, our volunteers and staff confirmed they are fearless even when facing snow, single digits and the occasional dust devil, and GLOW dazzled the young and young at heart during holiday evenings. These statistics clarify the picture:
525 – As of January 1, 2013
1,011 – As of July 19, 2013
1,750 – As of July 18, 2014 (we are tracking to exceed 1,800 by end of July 2014)
28,000 Combined, three locations (Museum Hill, Leonora Curtin, Ortiz Mountains)
From 50 States and 18 foreign countries
13,796 From New Mexico, 49% of all attendance
3,000 – Student and youth contacts
500 – Student and youth contacts in 2013
$3.4 Million, raised to date
$2.1 Million, budget for upcoming Phase 2
July (late) 2015, projected opening for Phase 2
Summer Solstice Fundraising Event:
$57,500 – Net revenue
Looking back over the past year, none of these great successes could have happened without the dedicated support of the Garden’s members, volunteers, staff and friends. Together, we share this success and the satisfaction of seeing the new garden realized for our community, and the world!
Building upon our success, the Botanical Garden plans to begin construction of Phase 2: Ojos y Manos, in the fall of 2014. This new phase will be located across the Red Bridge and will provide outdoor facilities and garden environments where all ages can learn about the timeless relationship between humans and plants in the Southwest. There will be different garden areas featuring plants traditionally used for dying and weaving, food crops, and healing, plus other native plants. The central feature of Ojos y Manos will be the “Gathering Place,” where myriad educational programs will be offered, plus this flexible facility will be used for many types of community events, performances and celebrations. With a goal of opening Phase 2 in late summer of 2015, the Botanical Garden will continue to engage and inspire our visitors as we convey our mission of resource conservation, appreciation for plants and raise awareness of the impact of climate change.
Thanks for your ongoing support and passion for the Botanical Garden!
Clayton Bass, CEO