San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato, México



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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

April, 2007 - Volume 2, No. 4

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.

The Ides of March

The observation of the lunar eclipse March 3rd united more than 400 people of various ages and nationalities, who enjoyed rituals, an explanation of the astronomical event, a theater event, observed through telescopes, and had punch around a campfire.   

A few weeks later, a concert with a saxophone quartet celebrated the Spring Equinox and delighted over 200 people as the sun set in the natural stage of the canyon.   



Days later, a very successful “fun”raiser was held near the Conservatory of Mexican Plants. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Bob Haas, the staff of El Charco and our volunteers, we had a wonderful event.  120 people enjoyed champagne, food by Patsy DuBois and a fashion show by Barbara Porter.  Thanks to our supporters we raised $10,500 which will be used for our various projects this year.


In addition, we are happy to announce that Save the Laja presented a cheque at this event in the amount of $25,000 for our constructed wetland project which will treat sewage that is currently contaminating this wetland area.  We are most honored by Save the Laja’s generosity and support. (see article in March 30 issue of Atencion, page 12).



As we did last year in support of this worldwide environmental awareness movement (April 22nd), the Botanical Garden will lead a Clean Up Day throughout the reserve of Charco del Ingenio.  The Botanical Garden manages to be generally garbage free but we do not have the staff or resources to clean Parque Landeta and the exterior zones south of the reserve.  For this reason we are asking everyone, especially neighbors and members of el Charco to share this day in support of our local environment. Starting at 8:00a.m. on Saturday, April 21st at the entrance to the Botanical Garden, please come with comfortable shoes, sunscreen, hat, water and gloves if possible.  For more information, contact charcodelingenio@gmail.com or call 154-8838.

Garden Lecture Series:  GOOD BUGS/BAD BUGS

April 11th, 10:00 am

We have the privilege this month of having a scientific expert present a slide show about insects in the garden. Antonio Marin Jarillo majored in biological science at the University of the State of Morelos and was professor of Zoology at the same university from 1977 to 1982.  Since then he has been curator of the national collection of insects at the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias (National Research Center for Forests, Agriculture and Livestock) in Celaya.  Antonio has given various workshops related to agricultural entomology and has published several articles in scientific magazines and spoken on entomology at national conferences.



This presentation will be at the botanical garden and space is limited so reservations are required. Contact nzerriffi@yahoo.com to save a place. 

Members of the garden: 70 pesos. Non-members: 100 pesos.  The lecture will be in Spanish with translation provided by Mario Mendoza, sub-director of the botanical garden.


New Product in Store:
DVD’s of Garden Lecture Series

Now if you can’t attend the presentation, you can still get the information. The first in a series is the February session on medicinal plants.  The second in the series will be our March visit to Fen Taylor’s ranch and discuss water features and ecological living. This will be available in July (our volunteer video person is traveling).  DVDs sell for 100 pesos.

Cacti in bloom

This is the best time for a stroll through El Charco to observe the magnificent forms and colors of the flowers throughout the garden. If you arrive early, the birds are also active.  Don’t forget your cameras!

cactus flower     cactus flower    





US Botanical Illustrators in El Charco

A group of twelve botanical artists from the Washington, DC area were in San Miguel de Allende in March and spent three days sketching the endangered plants in our collection. They were illustrating the cacti for inclusion in a traveling show to be presented by the American Society of Botanical Artists called "Losing Paradise, Endangered Plant Species Here and Around the World." 

The show is scheduled to be open in May of 2008. The artists took many photos in order to continue their work back in Washington, D.C.



It is hoped that the paintings of these endangered plants will help bring awareness to the public of the need to preserve these special plants. All of the artists were connected by the Corcoran School of Art as students or teachers in a certificate program in botanical art; one came from the Smithsonian Institution. Nine of the group had been brought together by Leslie Exton of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C. who curated a show last year by these illustrators based on the flora Lewis and Clark identified on their explorations in 1804-1806.

The illustrators were introduced to local San Miguel botanical artists who indicated they would like to collaborate with us on teaching future classes in botanical art at El Charco.


April 2nd

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 April 2nd. 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 30pesos, free for members.


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, sub-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. We suggest that if you do not drive, you take a taxi at a cost of 30-40 pesos as it is an uphill walk.



Please reserve a space by calling the reception at 154-8838 or e-mail charcodelingenio@gmail.com.


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.com