San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato, México



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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

October, 2007 - Volume 2, No. 10

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.

PARQUE LANDETA: a natural space


More and more users and visitors of El Charco are discovering this vast natural area of 35 hectares situated to the east of the Botanical Garden and near the end of the Presa Las Colonias. While belonging to the City, the management of this Ecological Preservation Zone was handed over to the Botanical Garden 15 years ago to be developed as an ecological and recreational park. People come to run, walk, let their dogs loose, observe birds, bicycle or simply enjoy its natural beauty. Parque Landeta has minimal infrastructure – designed, constructed and paid for by the botanical garden – fences, doors, gathering places, paths and signs. More than 2,000 trees and shrubs have been planted, which are regularly pruned and the native vegetation is cared for as well. Guards offer security to the users, especially on weekends. There is parking at the entrance or one may enter on foot either through the entrance or through the Botanical Garden. Entrance is free (parking is 20 pesos). Welcome to Parque Landeta, a natural area open to all!

El Charco del Ingenio:
Official Member of the Mexican Association of Botanical Gardens

During the recent annual reunion of this organization, which gathers more than 60 botanical gardens from Mexico, El Charco del Ingenio was recognized as an official member, a category reserved for gardens that have important conservation activities, education and research in Mexico. Until this reunion in Xalapa, Veracruz on September 13,14,15, El Charco was considered a consulting member of the association. The unanimous decision to bestow the official title of member gives us the right to vote and participate in forming strategy. Mario Mendoza, our technical director, gave an audiovisual presentation about the achievements and activities of El Charco over the last 16 years in preserving biodiversity. Special attention was given to the cacti collection of El Charco, which is the second most important in the country, after the one of the botanical garden of UNAM.  Great News!


assoc nacional de jardines botanicos

Ahimsa Ceremony for a Culture of Peace
Tuesday, October 2, 8:00am, Plaza of the Four Winds

For the International Day of No Violence and the anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, El Charco del ingenio invites everyone to participate in this ecumenical ceremony for a culture of peace, to be led by Alicia Mayo. Ceremonies of this nature will be taking place simultaneously throughout the world, in such places as the Chapultepec Forest en Mexico City, at the Ashram Sabarmati en Ahmenabad in India (birthplace of Gandhi and of the Ahimsa movement). This global initiative was launched in 2005 by the Ora World Mandala organization and by the Center of Peace Studies at Gujarat Vidyapith (university founded by Gandhi). El Charco del Ingenio, declared a Peace Zone by the Dalai Lama in 2004, participates in this movement through activities in the Botanical Garden as well as sending the director, César Arias, to Ahmenabad, where he will offer a handful of earthfrom the Charco to the "Earth respository" at the Ashram Sabarmati. Ahimsa: The Movement for Nonviolence and a Culture of Peace.

Presentation on the reptiles and amphibians of the Botanical Garden

Learn about these interesting creatures that live in our area and see live examples. The audiovisual presentation will be given by Raul Hernandez, a biologist and herpetologist with lots of experience and knowledge of the animal world of this region. Saturday October 20, at 10 am.  Botanical garden library.

Cost is 70 pesos for members of the garden and 100 pesos for non-members. Please reserve a space by emailing nzerriffi@yahoo.com

Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius): This specimen is currently found in the Herpetology Collection of the National School of Biological Sciences at the National Polytechnical Institute.
Date collected: July 20, 2006


Environmental Education program starts up again

With the start of the new school year, PEASMA (Environmental Education Program of San Miguel) has initiated their activities in 10 schools involving approximately 3,500 children. The Botanical Garden and Parque Landeta have started to receive groups of 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders, who discover, observe and become aware of and have fun with nature.

Juice Bar in the Charco opening soon…  

juice bar


At the beginning of October we are offering a new service to our visitors at the entrance to the Botanical Garden. The Juice Bar will have a variety of drinks such as fruit and vegetable juices, organic teas and coffee as well as light food such as sandwiches, and special seasonal products from the Mexican semi-desert. The Juice Bar will be open from 8am- to 4pm and will be in the capable hands of Cecilia Loera, owner of the natural store, Genesis, on Reloj street. We are waiting with great anticipation the succulent treats to come…!

Presentation and book signing of
“Inventory of Spontaneous Flora of the Charco del Ingenio”
by Walter L. Meagher.

This scientific publication in Spanish is part of a series called Flora of the Bajio and Adjacent Regions put out by the Instiittute of Ecologia of Patzcuaro, Michoacan. Walter Meagher, resident of San Miguel and enthusiastic supporter of El Charco, studied botany at the Horticultural School of the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, the University of Michigan and the Kellogg Biological Station. His principal botanical interest is in community studies, especially of wetlands. He writes in several magazines and publications, and he is a member of the BSBI (Botanical Society of the British Isles) and the ASPT (American Society of Plant Taxonomists). The book will be presented by the author and copies signed on Saturday, October 13th at 10:00a.m. in the library of the Botanical Garden. The book cost 50pesos. Mario Mendoza, the technical director, will also be present.

flora espontanea
photo by K. Livingston


Flores Silvestres de San Miguel de Allende, by Richard Cretcher.  Bilingual pocket guide with photos by the author for identifying local wildflowers. 150 pesos.

20 Trees of El Charco del Ingenio:  bilingual with photos, published by the Botanical Garden. 60 pesos.

20 Succulents of El Charco del Ingenio:  bilingual with photos, published by the Botanical Garden. 60 pesos.

Photographers - Share Your Pics

- In March we asked for volunteer photographers to share with us recent photos of the Botanical Garden and El Charco. Two members have done just that and we are very grateful to them. This request for any wonderful photos you may have of El Charco is ongoing and we would be most appreciative if you would contact us at any time: nzerriffi@yahoo.com.

marsh in fog
photo by Robert Haas

We would like to especially thank this month the three volunteers who have come from France, under the auspices of Mexico Limpio Red, to spend two weeks working and camping in El Charco: Le Dreau, Delphine Teisserenc y Simon Boisard. We would also like to thank David Melville who has been leading some of the Tuesday tours. Many thanks! If you would like to learn about volunteer opportunities, please contact nzerriffi@yahoo.com


Friday, October 26th at sunset

luna llena


We invite everyone to this open celebration that has been taking place for many years during the full moon cycle at the Four Winds Plaza in the Botanical Garden. This month it will take place on October 26.
It’s worth arriving a little early to admire the setting of the sun and the appearance of the moon over the mountains. We recommend bringing a coat and a musical instrument if you wish.
Admission is 30 pesos, free for members

FRIDAY, October 26th at 8pm.
SUNDAY, October 23th at 10am

This relaxing steam bath is a ritual of healing and purification and is available every month for both men and women. Bring bathing suits and towels. It takes place in the ruins of an old hacienda, under the moonlight, across the dam from El Charco’s reception area. The mixture of heat, humidity and scented plants and herbs is a purifying experience for mind and spirit. Its benefits are many; as it activates blood circulation, increases natural body defenses, eliminates odors, relaxes muscles, helps keep the nervous system in good shape, stimulates breathing and is excellent for weight loss. 250 pesos, space is limited so please call for reservations or information 154 88 38, 154 4715, cell 01 443 10 3 3019 or in El Charco’s main office.


temazcal exterior

temazcal interior


Sign-in Book:  In March we initiated this request to members to sign in at Reception with your name, date and number of people in your group.  This information, as well as the guest sign-in book, helps us improve our services to our members and visitors. Thank you for your cooperation.

Membership Renewal:  When renewing your membership at Border Crossings or at the Reception area, please ask for a renewal form. This helps us maintain current lists with proper email addresses, etc.  We want to remind you of the new option of having a membership for more than one year.

User Survey:  This brief and simple form is available at Reception in both English and Spanish and we ask our visitors and members to fill one out please. We are interested in knowing who, when and why people visit El Charco so we can offer better services, improve our programs, etc.   This is also an opportunity to give us your comments and suggestions.

You can make a difference

And you can make a difference with your donations. We appreciate your support!! Please contact Naomi at nzerriffi@yahoo.com

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