2011 2012

    new additions
    Outreach to Allies
    On-Line Library

    About us:
    The Organization
    The Organizers

    How you can help:
    Peyote Jewelry

    Related Links

    Featured articles:
    A Tale of Two Cacti
    Dana M. Price & Martin Terry

    Button, button, who's got the button?
    Martin Terry

    Conservation of Lophophora in Mexico
    Martin Terry

    Flora of the Dead Horse Mountains
    Joselyn Fenstermacher



    Taking a well-deserved break in the afternoon shade


      Nearly two decades ago, a lawyer and two scientists independently became concerned about the dwindling numbers of certain species of cacti in Texas and Mexico.
      The published information on the conservation status of cacti was fragmented and anecdotal. Even so, the information that continued to be published over the years was remarkably consistent with their individual observations. The inescapable conclusion was that, at least in the Tamaulipan Thornscrub of South Texas and adjacent Mexico, certain kinds of cacti were being hunted, root-plowed and bulldozed in the direction of extinction.
      One of these, the star cactus (Astrophytum asterias) appeared to be on the brink of absolute extinction, and was accordingly listed as "endangered" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 1993.
      Other species, such as peyote (Lophophora williamsii), were not so close to extinction as to justify endangered status, but the geographic range of peyote had clearly become reduced over the past few decades, and, at the population level, peyote had become locally extinct or endangered in many areas of its historical range.

      These concerned observers continued to gather and process information individually, until they synchronistically began to encounter and correspond with each other beginning in the late 1990's.
      It soon became obvious that it was the responsibility of people to do something tangible about preserving South Texas cacti, and, in 2004, the essence of that "something" acquired the name "Cactus Conservation Institute". 

      The members of the Cactus Conservation Institute:

      Dr. Martin Terry, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Biology at Sul Ross University. Dr. Terry worked in the pharmaceutical industry for decades before deciding to pursue his interest in botanical research by re-entering academia. His growing concern over the accelerating destruction of the habitat known as the Tamaulipecan thornscrub in South Texas focused his interest on star cactus and peyote. The plight of star cactus showed him what could happen when a cactus is loved to the brink of extinction. A brief exercise in projecting from known circumstances instilled a growing concern for peyote and led him to seek others with the skills needed to take action.

    Martin Terry

      Bennie Williams, an attorney, submitted the applications for IRS and Texas tax exempt status.

    Blake Williams

      Steve Van Heiden offered decades of experience in the study of cacti.

      Ted Herrera was born in Mirando City, Texas in “the Coahuiltecan Sacred Land along the Rio Grande where the Peyote grows”. Ted has been invaluable for his help in locating an appropriate study population and for his assistance with our field study. He is dedicated to protecting the future of the peyote plant and actively promoting public education towards that end. With that intention, Ted has also helped us perform our research in a way that has been respectful to the peyote.
      Ted is the only CCI board member who belongs to the Native American Church. He is the founder and spiritual leader of the Rio Grande Native American Church.

    Ted Herrera

    Ted in the sacred garden

a pause from  working in the heat

Part of the normal wear-and-tear when working near Lophophora

    Cactus Conservation Institute