San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato, México



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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

August, 2006 - Volume 1, No. 6

OUR MISSION: To protect and preserve our natural heritage while developing a Botanical Garden dedicated to Mexican flora and providing an oasis of peace and tranquility. Please tell your friends and prospective members/supporters how to access the newsletter and help broaden the base of support for the Botanical Garden.


After nearly six years of lobbying the municipal and state authorities by the Botanical Garden as well as Audubon, FAI, CASA, and Save the Laja, work has started on the constructed wetlands in Parque Landeta. The plant is designed to treat discharge coming from the neighborhoods west of the Ecological zone, which are already affecting la Presa las Colonias. Estimated construction time is about three months with a cost of $2.5 million pesos and is being financed and handled by the State Water Commission along with the Ecology Department of Guanajuato.

Water will first be received and treated in an anaerobic reactor and then in a submerged bed constructed wetland which is half a hectare full of aquatic and subaquatic plants such as reeds, whose roots will devour the contaminants. The water flows slowly through a bed of gravel and sand below the ground. With this system there is no contamination, bad odors or mosquitoes. The presa Las Colonias will have permanent clean water, assuring habitat for the threatened water fowl that nest on the man made islands there and providing water for irrigation purposes for Parque Landeta and the Botanical Garden.

This simple, ecological technology, known worldwide, not only has low construction, operation and maintenance costs, but also uses no electrical energy nor chemicals nor technical specialists - it just imitates nature.

We invite anyone interested in this technology, to visit Parque Landeta during the month of August to observe the building process of this constructed wetland – so different from conventional water treatment plants which are expensive and have a questionable history of success.

This wetland project will be dedicated in the memory of Val Nicholson , past President of the Audubon Society of San Miguel, whose passion was the inspiration for this work.

Trees of the Botanical Garden

August 18th at 9:00a.m
: Fen Taylor will be leading a walk through El Charco focusing on the various trees, their characteristics, care, problems, etc. Please reserve a space by contacting Naomi at nzerriffi@yahoo.com. Cost is 70 pesos for members and 100 for non-members. Please arrive a little before 9:00a.m.

We want to thank Kirti Mathura, curator of shrubs, Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, for her interesting presentation on July 14 and hope she will return to San Miguel.


A new publication, Las Guias de San Miguel, is featuring El Charco at no cost to us. This glossy guide has pullout information on restaurants, hotels, tourist activities and attractions, and is available, free to the patrons, at the best hotels and B&Bs in town.

Some Rain but not enough ...

The countryside may look green but the streams are fairly empty of water still. La presa in El Charco, which usually fills up during July at the latest, is still without water in August although some pools are full. However, the wildflowers are blooming throughout the conservation area with their beautiful colors and aromas and we highly recommend a morning stroll in El Charco.


VOLUNTEERING – You can make a difference
New temporary assignment fun for someone who loves to do research: We need a volunteer to find all the places that El Charco del Ingenio is mentioned on the web and make sure the information is up-to-date as well as making sure local publications also have the correct info.

We will need someone to translate a study of the reptiles and mammals in the garden. Please contact Naomi at nzerriffi@yahoo.com or 152 1829.

Please note that there is no tour on August 8 th. They resume on the 15 th. The guided tours of the garden includes the conservatory, wetland and canyon. These tours are 2 hours long and begin at 9 am every Tuesday. Your guide is Mario Mendoza, the knowledgeable Vice-Director of the garden. The tour is conducted in English but Mario can also explain in Spanish. The cost is 80 pesos for non-members and 50 pesos for members. It is a very informative and interesting tour and we encourage members and their visitors to take advantage of it and learn more about the garden and its programs. Plus you are able to visit the nursery which is not open to the public. Please reserve a space by calling MARIO at 0444151010338 or e-mail charcodelingenio@gmail.com. We suggest that if you do not drive, that you take a taxi at a cost of 30-40 pesos as it is an uphill walk.

August 9th, sunset, at the four Winds Plaza, Botanical Garden. 30 pesos donation goes to the garden. It is recommended to come a little early to admire the sunset and rising of the moon and to bring any musical instrument you want.


August 11 at 8:00p.m., 13th at 10:00a.m

Temazcal is an Indian ritual sweat lodge that benefits circulation, relaxes muscles, stimulates respiration and helps with weight loss. It is open to males and females. Bring bathing suits and towels. It takes place in the ruins of an old hacienda inside the botanical garden on the other side of the presa. Cost 200 pesos. Please call for more details and reserve a space - 154 4715 or 154 8838 or Cell 014431033019.


VOLUNTEERING – You can make a difference

please contact Naomi at nzerriffi@yahoo.com or 152 1829.

E-mail any comments or questions to the Editor, Jaci Winters at charcodelingenio@gmail.com