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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

April, 2008 - Volume III, No. 4

OUR MISSION: To protect and preserve our natural heritage and help build an environmental culture while developing a Botanical Garden dedicated to Mexican flora and providing an oasis of peace and tranquility for all. Please tell your friends and prospective members/supporters how to access the newsletter and help broaden the base of support for the Botanical Garden.

Earth Day 

As we did last year in support of this worldwide environmental awareness movement, the Botanical Garden will lead a Clean Up Day in conjunction with FAI (Save the Children Mexico) and PEASMA (environmental education organization).  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. From 8:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. on Saturday, April 26th at the entrance to Parque Landeta. Please come with comfortable shoes, sunscreen, hat, water and gloves if possible.  For more information, contact or call 154-8838.

earth day cleanup

Earth Day

Garden Lecture Series:
Mexican culinary herbs and other edible plants

Victoria Challancin, owner of Flavors of the Sun International Cooking School of San Miguel, will be the special guest lecturer at the Botanical Garden, El Charco del Ingenio, on April 11th at 9:30 a.m.  Her talk will be about Mexican culinary herbs and lesser-known edible plants such as romeritos, verdolagos, pápalo, and quelites.  Victoria’s lifetime affair with history, culture, travel, and food have provided her with a broad base of knowledge which naturally spills over into both her classes and her talks.  In addition to providing solid practical information and recipes, Victoria sprinkles her lively lectures with food anthropology, ethnobotany, a bit of phytochemistry, and Mexican herbal lore.  Her love of plants includes not only their use in the kitchen, but also their vital role in healing.  Her cooking classes have been featured on TV and in magazines and newspapers. Be sure to check out her food blog as well at
Reservations for this presentation may be made at

Victoria Challancin
Victoria Challancin

Cost is 70 pesos for members of El Charco and 100 pesos for non-members. Please arrive by 9:20 at the reception area of the botanical garden.

New Publication: Wild & Wonderful: Nature Up Close in the Botanical Garden ‘El Charco del Ingenio’

This new book will be available at the tienda at the garden starting April 15th. Text is by Walter Meagher and photography by Wayne Colony, Foreward by E.O. Wilson. On April 22 at 4p.m. at Villa Jacaranda, Walter and Wayne will present a talk and slide show for Audubon about the three habitats in Parque Landeta and El Charco.  The book will also be on sale at that time. Watch for an announcement about a book signing event and official inauguration of our new store at El Charco in the near future. Members: you still have an opportunity to purchase this book at the pre-publication price of 220pesos (instead of 300p) until April 12th. Contact Wendy at 

Meager and Colony

Audubon and El Charco to work together on Parque Landeta project

After many years of friendly collaboration in San Miguel between Audubon and the Botanical Garden, mainly focused on the protection of Parque Landeta ecosystems, both environmental organizations are now envisioning ways to protect and improve the natural bird habitats surrounding Presa Las Colonias wetlands. During a recent meeting, the idea of buiding a bird observatory area on the south bank of the park was discussed. This park – managed for several years by the Botanical Garden – has natural and man-built bird sanctuaries where birds can be easily observation especially in the wetlands area. We hope to have concrete results soon.

Bob Haas, Bruce Carruth, Ricardo Vidargas, César Arias y Linda Whynman

Meet the new staff at the Tienda

Angelina (on the right) store manager and Elizabeth (on the left) and Manuela are our newest staff members.  The recently opened tienda has exciting new items – and lots more to come.  For the months of April, May and June, we are offering 10% off selected items for members.  If you are interested in volunteering in the store, please contact


Spring Equinox Concert

More than 300 people attended the concert of music of Holy Thursday in a beautiful, natural setting. The music was written over a century ago by San Miguel composers and was interpreted by a small ensemble and a children’s choir.


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 flowers

Friday, April 20th 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. 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, April 11th, 8:00p.m.
Sunday, April 13th 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: 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


We have a one page user survey at the garden for your feedback on our various services but for this newsletter, we have just one question to ask you: Would you recommend becoming a member of El Charco to your family and friends?

We thank you in advance for taking a few seconds to send this simple yes/no answer to   Feel free to add comments if you want.

You can make a difference - Please volunteer

And you can make a difference with your contribution - volunteer or donate. We appreciate your support!! Please contact Naomi at

E-mail any comments or questions to the Editor at




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