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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

June, 2008 - Volume III, No. 6

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.


NOPAL GARDEN: starting the collection

In collaboration with researchers from the Botanical Garden of the Autonomous University of México (UNAM), El Charco has begun work on exchanging and collecting specimens of this genus of cactus, so abundant and emblematic of our country. The goal is to establish an area for exhibition of these plants, the Nopal Garden, which will be located near the Conservatory of Mexican Plants. The collection process is being coordinated by Dra. Leia Sheinvar, from the UNAM Institute of Biology, and entails rigorous identification, with name and source, of the collected specimens.

Mario Mendoza, Technical Director of the Botanical Garden and head of the collection team, has begun its work in various zones in the state of Guanajuato. We appreciate the generous economic support of Mrs. Robyn Flintoff, North American resident of San Miguel, for the establishment of the new Nopal Garden in El Charco.

Save The Laja funds
applied to the wetlands in the reserve

A significant part of the funds given to the Botanical Garden in 2007 by this environmental foundation were used during the month of May for intensive restoration works for the Las Colonias reservoir. Taking advantage of the empty basin of the reservoir, a large amount of black earth was removed with heavy machinery in order to create new islands, trenches for capturing water and banks on the shores of the reservoir. presa1

The idea has been to expand the work done up to now for the Botanical Garden wetland, which has had very good results in terms of our three objectives: the creation of niches for wildlife refuges and nesting areas for wild birds, the establishment of wooded landscapes, and the mitigation - to some extent - of the siltification of the reservoir.

A good part of the contribution by Save the Laja to El Charco has not been spent. The funds are destined for complementary works on the artificial wetland for the treatment of waste water, which continues under construction in Landeta Park.


World Environment Day

As has become tradition, on June 5 various commemorative activities will take place in San Miguel, sponsored by governmental offices as well as citizens' organizations. In El Charco, World Environment Day will be celebrated one day later, on Friday, June 6, with a tree-planting day carried out by local primary school children and groups of volunteers. This day is organized by the Botanical Garden with the support of the Save the Children foundation (FAI) and the Evironmental Education Program (PEASMA:

This year, the planting will take place in the wetlands of the reserve, specifically on the new islands and shores of the Las Colonias reservoir, in both the Botanical Garden and in Landeta Park, using species of trees native to our region: willows and poplars. Volunteers with desire to plant trees are welcome! Information available at the Visitors Center of the Botanical Garden. And after the planting, we hope it will rain!   planting trees



On Friday June 20th Fen Taylor will be leading a walk through El Charco focusing on the various kinds of trees, their characteristics, care, problems, etc.
Fen has been gardening in San Miguel for over 30 years and built an environmentally friendly home just outside of town. For many years Fen led the Audubon bird walks once a month.

The tree identification walk will start at the entrance to the Garden at 9:30a.m. Please arrive by 9:20a.m. Cost is 70 pesos for members of El Charco and 100 pesos for non-members. Reserve a space at

Guided Tours of El Charco
Every Tuesday at 9:00 AM
Conservatory of Mexican Plants, Wildlife, Canyon of the Charco del Ingenio, historical site.
Duration: two hours
Cost: 80 pesos

Recently published book
Wild and Wonderful, Nature Up Close El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden. Text by Walter Meagher and photographs by Wayne Colony. W & W Publishing, San Miguel de Allende, 2008. 300 pesos. On sale at the Botanical Garden gift shop and bookstores in San Miguel.


Artists for El Charco
For years, the natural monument of El Charco del Ingenio has been an inspirational place for artists, both residents of San Miguel and foreign visitors. Some of them have donated their works in order to support El Charco: watercolors by Leonard Brooks, drawings by Pedro Friedeberg, oil paintings by Keith Miller, prints by Aurora Estrada, photographs by Skidmore Smith, Norma Suarez and Jennife Hass - to name a few - recreate the motifs and landscapes of the site, and today their artworks form a part of the artistic collection of El Charco.

Starting with this issue of the newsletter, every month we will include images from each of these artists, who offer a new dimension to the conservation project of El Charco del Ingenio.

keith miller
oil painting by Canadian San Miguel resident Keith Miller

New dues for member of the Charco starting in July

After ten years of keeping the annual membership dues at 500 pesos, the board of directors of the Botanical Garden have decided to increase it by 100 pesos. The advantages of membership are:
-       unlimited access to the Botanical Garden for the member and two guests
-       discounts for concerts and other activities in the Botanical Garden
-       subscription to this electronic newsletter
-       options for participation, as a volunteer, at the Botanical Garden.
The new membership dues of 600 pesos per year will take effect starting July 1, 2008 (so it's worth getting your membership before that date!)


El Charco Gift Shop
Have you visited the new gift shop at El Charco? We recommend that you stop by to see a series of new products at the Botanical Garden. And don't miss the juice bar and cafeteria next to the Visitors Center of the Botanical Garden.


Wednesday, June 18th 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 June 20, 8 PM
Saturday, June 21, 8 PM

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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