San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato, México



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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

March, 2007 - Volume 2, No. 3

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.


Total Lunar Eclipse: Saturday March 3, 5:30 PM

We will be able to observe the final phase of the eclipse as the full moon rises (a little after 6:45p.m.). The moon will rise over the horizon partially in the eclipse and will gradually recuperate its full illumination over the following 30 minutes. At the end, we will meet at the Four Winds Plaza around a fire to have hot punch and for the youngsters we have prepared an interesting educational show about the eclipse beginning at 5:30p.m. After the eclipse, there will be a full moon ceremony for those who wish to participate. We suggest you dress warmly and if you have a telescope or binoculars, this would be a good time to dust them off and bring along.



General admission for this event is 10 pesos, free for children and members of the botanical garden.

Spring Equinox CONCERT in the Canyon -
Tuesday, MARCH 20, 5:00pm



As is customary every year, El Charco celebrates this festival of the Sun, offering music to the flourishing Earth. A special concert performance by SAXODIA, a classical saxophone quartet from the city of Queretaro, will take place at the canyon's natural amphitheatre –sculpted by millennia of flowing water. Come with friends and enjoy an hour of magnificent music in a spectacular setting. We suggest you to come early -and to bring a cushion. Admission: 80 pesos, 50 pesos for members, children are free. To avoid line ups, tickets will be sold at the front entrance of the garden a few days before the event.

2nd Annual Champagne & Cactus Brunch
MARCH 25th 12:00 noon

Once again, Bob Haas is organizing this fundraising event to be held in the garden.  Catered by Patsy DuBois, there will be champagne, mimosas, bloodies and bagels, lox and cream cheese. Great jazz will be provided by the Bobby Kaplan Trio while models parade in a fashion show of Barbara Porter’s Collections.  The event is from noon until 4p.m. 

Last year we had more than 150 people so we suggest getting your tickets early. Cost is $75US or $150 for two (includes free membership for a year, a $50 value). Money raised at this event will be used for our 2007 projects which include continuing our work on restoring the wetlands area, creating an Opuntia Garden, putting bathrooms in the conservatory area and building a juice bar/café as an additional service to our visitors.


watercolor by Keith Miller to be auctioned at Champagne Brunch

GARDEN LECTURE SERIES: March 8th, 9:30a.m.

This month we will have the opportunity to visit Fen Taylor’s home in the country to see a newly established pond. Alfonso Alarcon of Terra on Hospicio will join us to talk about other water features for a city garden. In addition, we will have a chance to see other aspects of environmentally friendly living at Fen’s ranch including how to capture rain water, solar energy use, etc. To get to Fen’s home, take the road to Dolores Hidalgo and turn left at the sign for Taboada. After about 1.5km you will see a sign for Xote. Bear left down that road for about another kilometer and Casa Fen will be on the left hand side of the road. In case you miss it, the cell number is 044-415-153-5438. Cost is 70pesos for members of El Charco and 100p for non-members. Reserve a space by emailing nzerriffi@yahoo.com.

DVD’s of Garden Series

medicinal plants


NOW YOU WON'T MISS OUT EVEN IF YOU CAN’T ATTEND. This new educational tool will document the lectures sponsored by the Garden. The DVD on medicinal herbs is the first in what we intend to be a series of presentations on DVD. It will be available sometime in March at the shop at the reception area.Many thanks to Larry Mills who is providing the DVDs. Our presenter in February was Cristina Orci who brought many samples of dried plants and talked about their uses. Your feedback is welcome: nzerriffi@yahoo.com

ATTENTION MEMBERS:  some new initiatives ...

SIGN-IN BOOK: Starting in March, we will be asking members to sign in at the reception area – date, name, number of people in group.  We have a book for guests; now there will be one for members as well.  Having this information will be useful for us in making our headcount more accurate, seeing which days of the week are busiest, etc.  This plus the survey mentioned below are ways we can improve our services to the public. We greatly appreciate your cooperation.

RENEWAL FORM: When renewing your membership at either Border Crossings or the Reception, please ask for a renewal form if one is not visible. Filling this out ensures we have your current email, phone, etc. Also you’ll notice the new option of obtaining a membership for more than one year.
Click here for Renewal Form in MS Word format

This new, simple and short survey will be available at the Visitor Reception Area of the Garden in English and Spanish and we encourage you to complete one. We are very interested in knowing who, when and why people come to the garden so that we can provide better visitor services and programs. It is also an opportunity for you to make suggestions.
Click here for User Survey in MS Word format

A chance to capture a special San Miguel story

We are offering a wonderful opportunity for a Volunteer Photographer(s) to participate in a year round pictoral document of the importance, beauty and essence of El Charco del Ingenio. This exciting project will involve documenting the change in seasons, the programs, events, fiestas, conservatory, etc.

For more information contact nzerriffi@yahoo.com


vista presa


No, it’s not exactly an archeological dig but we need a volunteer with library, research or just great organizational skills to classify and setup the photo and article archives. Our material dates back to late 1980's and it would be a wonderful opportunity to learn about the history and development of El Charco while rendering an enormous service - all this in our beautiful new setting at the library in the garden. This can be completed over a period of time and you can decide the schedule.


Saturday March 3 and Sunday March 4 at 10:00a.m



Temascal 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 250 pesos. Limited space so please call for more details and to reserve a space, 154-8838 or cell 01-443-103-3019 or at the reception area of the garden

WE WELCOME AN INTERN from England this month, Elizabeth Dunn. Elizabeth has been studying philosophy and Spanish at the University of Sussex. She will join us mid-March for 3 months and be performing various tasks at the Garden.

It’s been one year since we started publishing this newsletter and the feedback from our members has been very positive. Thank you for taking the time to read about what’s going on and giving us your comments.

VOLUNTEERING / DONATIONS – 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.co


The municipal government intends to move the slaughterhouse near the ecological preservation zone. The Board of the Botanical Garden is asking the immediate help of its members to achieve its relocation. The current plan of the local government is to move the new slaughterhouse to public land situated in front of the new administration building, on the left side of the road to Los Rodriguez, bordering the protected ecological zone.


We believe this relocation is wrong for the following reasons:

1. The residual water from the slaughterhouse will flow into the streams and reservoir of the protected zone. The government has promised the water will be treated and reused in the slaughterhouse but we know from experience that there are often accidents which will represent serious risks for the Garden, Parque Landeta and the town of San Miguel. We have no guarantees the proposed system will function as promised.

2. The prevailing NE-SW winds will carry the odors and contaminants of the slaughterhouse to various close-by points such as Clouthier Recreational Park, the new Civil Hospital and residential areas Palmita de Landeta and Ignacio Ramírez (SW direction) and sometimes to the Los Rodriguez road (NE direction), one of the entrances to our city.

3. There will be daily transport of live or slaughtered animals on the Caracol and main highway entrance to the city from Querétaro.

4. Since San Miguel is growing so rapidly, the proposed location will shortly be part of the urban zone of the city and no longer outside the city limits, which will eventually require another relocation.

Suggested Action: Send emails or letters in English or Spanish to government officials responsible for this decision, asking in a respectful manner for relocation of the slaughterhouse to a point farther away from the urban zone, perhaps along the road to Comonfort, where it will not generate the same impact and risks mentioned above. Send copies to Atención and to El Charco. Ask other residents, Mexicans and foreigners, to participate in this urgent action.

Lic. Jesus Correa Ramirez, Presidente Municipal: jesuscorrea@sanmiguelallende.gob.mx
Lic. Cristobal Finkelstein, Secretario del Ayuntamiento: cfinkelstein@sanmiguelallende.gob.mx
Sr. Don Patterson, Director of Ecologia: pmexc@pmexc.com
Atencion San Miguel: edit@atencionsanmiguel.org
El Charco: charcodelingenio@gmail.com