San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato, México



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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

September, 2007 - Volume 2, No. 9

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.

A Biologist on Staff

We are most pleased to announce that Atahualpa Caldera Sosa has joined us at El Charco. Ata received his degree in Biology from the Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM) and recently completed his Masters Degree in Watershed Management at the Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro (UAQ). Ata has participated in various workshops and seminars in Mexico and abroad in Germany and Canada. He was Coordinator of Projects concerning Natural Protected Areas, Ecotourism and Compost for Organizacion Accion y Desarrollo Ecologico A.C. He also worked for the Ecology Department in Cuernavaca and the Environmental Management Program at the University of Morelos. In San Miguel he was Coordinator of Environmental Education for Save the Laja.



ata caldera

¡Welcome, Ata!




wildflowersPhotos by DOUG HUNT


September, the month of flowers… 

Whoever has visited El Charco during the month of September can’t forget the profusion and diversity of the aromatic and multicolored flowers on the green meadows during the rainy season.  Flowers sprout from the trees and shrubs and the low ones line the paths like carpets of lilac, white, yellow, red, and orange, along the sides of the canyon and the presa and generally throughout all of El Charco.  Along with the flowers is a large diversity of pollinating insects such as butterflies rivaling the flowers in color.  In this month when the center of town is bustling with festivals and celebrations, a morning escape to El Charco is highly recommended – or a late afternoon walk to admire, among other things, the magnificent sunset over San Miguel, the Rio Laja valley and the mountains of Guanajuato.  A spectacular month for flowers, insects, sunsets….come and enjoy. And speaking of which…


Richard Cretcher, author of the book, Flores Silvestres, a pocket guide to the wildflowers of San Miguel, will be offering walks in the botanical garden and Parque Landeta using this book to identify the multitude of gorgeous flowers blooming at this time of year.  The dates are September 5, 19.  They will start at 9:30a.m. and last about 2 hours. Cost is 70 pesos for members and 100 for non-members of El Charco. All proceeds will go to the botanical garden. Please reserve a space by emailing nzerriffi@yahoo.com specifying the day you would like to attend.


Butterfly Specialist in El Charco

During the month of September, Kim Garwood will be assisting with the inventory of butterflies in El Charco/Parque Landeta. Kim, and co-author Richard Lehman, published a book entitled Butterflies of Northeastern Mexico (2005) funded by CONABIO and the State Government of Nuevo Leon.  She is a consultant for a website, Mariposas Mexicanas, and has her own website, Neotropical Butterflies. Kim’s visit was coordinated by Wayne and Susan Colony, enthusiastic supporters of El Charco, who have been photographing for many weeks in these two areas.  To date they have identified 80 species, and counting…

Photo at right by WAYNE COLONY- Mexican Silverspot Butterfly
TOP: dorsal view
BOTTOM: ventral view



Juice Bar in the Charco opening soon…  

juice bar


At the end of September we will be 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. We are waiting with great anticipation the succulent treats to come…!

Photographers - Share Your Pics

charco at sunset

cactus at sunset
photos by Doug Hunt

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.


photos by Doug Hunt


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


Wednesday, Sept 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 September 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 30pesos, free for members

FRIDAY, September 21st at 8pm.
SUNDAY, September 23rd 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


Inventory of Spontaneous Flora in El Charco del Ingenio, by Walter L. Meagher, published in Spanish, edited by el Instituto de Ecología AC, de Pátzcuaro Michoacán,  as part of a series entitled “Flora del Bajío y Regiones Adyacente” (Flora of the Bajio and Adjacent Regions). 50 pesos.

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.


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