San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato, México



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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

June, 2007 - Volume 2, 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.

Botanical Gardens Day   ... was celebrated on May 26th in various parts of Mexico to give attention to the role that botanical gardens play in the conservation of the biodiversity of the entire planet. The special day was declared by the Mexican Botanical Gardens Association of which El Charco is a member. In view of this celebration El Charco has begun a campaign, through local and state media, to enhance the importance of El Charco as an ecological reserve.


All Ecological Preservation Zones must have a management plan which provides a set of regulations for all the activities that that take place within it. This is established by law, specifically the Declaration of El Charco de Ingenio as an Ecological Preservation Zone by the city council. In order to comply with this statute San Miguel’s Department of Ecology sent a team of biologists from the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro (UAQ) led by Dr. Raúl Pineda to design this plan. After several weeks of hard work and at least three public meetings, the final version is almost ready to be promulgated. This new plan will conserve the use of 380 hectares of water and land for environmental preservation. Notable in the plan is the creation of a Board of Directors, consisting of city authorities, ecological groups, experts, neighbors and members of the Botanical Garden. The Plan likewise establishes various restrictions regarding land use, both in the central zone and the “buffer zone”, in which real estate developments must abide by the ecological and scenic goals of the area. One more step in the rescue and preservation of this important part of San Miguel’s natural heritage!

Ecological Protection Zone


More than a single day, it appears that this week will be full of activities linked to the earth’s environment that supports all life.

Sunday June 3rd.-
The Environmental Educational Program of San Miguel de Allende (PEASMA), of which the Botanical Garden is an active partner, will celebrate its FIRST GREEN FAIR in Benito Juárez park. A day dedicated to nature with exhibits, sales of organic products, and activities including environmental education, etc. more info: peasma05@yahoo.com.mx.

Tuesday June 5
and Sunday June 10
World Environment Day will be celebrated as in past years in El Charco with two PLANTING TRIPS both in Parque Landeta. The first will be held June 5th – during the day, with the collaboration of students from PEASMA who will plant trees from our region in the “Arboretum” of the park. The second, Sunday June 10th, will consist of the planting of “cucharilla”-a type of cactus used for centuries in San Miguel to create the “súchiles” and various other offerings used in sacred ceremonies. The cucharillas have been decimated by years of over extraction, by many different communities, such as Santa Cruz.

All volunteers are welcome to join us for this important planting! More information in the reception area of El Charco and we hope for rain!




Thursday June 7 & Friday June 8
Course in Assembling and Installation of Home Solar Water Heaters.
Given by GAIA (Interdisciplinary Ecology Action Group), this workshop will be held in the Botanical Garden during World Environment week - Thursday and Friday June 7-8, morning and afternoon (lunch included). Fifteen people maximum, $2000 pesos cost. The course will be in Spanish. More info in the reception of El Charco, tel. 15 4 88 38 and 15 4 47 15 or mail: charcodelingenio@gmail.com.

A lecture, in English with a slide show by Wayne Colony, a retired geologist living in town, who has been studying the grounds of El Charco for the last several years.   Wayne has also participated in the latest scientific research about wildlife in the area and will share his beautiful photos. Thursday June 14th 9:30 am in Botanical Garden Library. Reserve now at: nzerriffi@yahoo.com, General 100 pesos, members 70 pesos.



Starting in 2004 when the Dalai Lama proclaimed El Charco del Ingenio along with five other sites in México “A WORLD PEACE ZONE”, ceremonial visits from Tibetan monks have been held every year and this year is no exception. Monks will be solemnly welcomed to El Charco by the Santa Cruz community ‘mayordomos’ who will “give them the word” so they can carry out their peace ritual in the Plaza de los Cuatro Vientos. Everyone is invited to this beautiful ceremony to pray for World Peace. Sunday June 17th, 10 am. Entrance is free for this special event.


A bilingual publication with text and photos; written by Martin Smith, curator of plants for the Botanical Garden, with the collaboration of Linda Whynman (design) and Wayne Colony (photos). Now on sale in El Charco’s reception store and in the Recreo Book Store on Recreo 4, near the Jardin.

and Saturday June 30th



Everyone is invited to this public celebration that has been held for many years now during each full moon cycle in the Four Winds Plaza in the Botanical Garden. As always both ceremonies will be directed by the inspired hand of Alicia Mayo.  We recommend you arrive a little early to admire the setting of the sun and the appearance of the moon over the mountains. We also recommend you bring a coat and a musical instrument if you wish.  Admission is 30pesos, free for members.

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.  This event will be hosted by Eduardo de la Garza an expert in temazcals. 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. As there will be two full moons this season, there will be several temazcals: Friday 1st 8pm, Sunday 3rd 10am, Friday 29th 8pm, Sunday July 1st 10 pm. Tickets 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, help 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