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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

August, 2008 - Volume III, No. 8

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.

Fiesta de la Santa Cruz

fiesta de la santa cruz

With greater attendence than in past years, this celebration took place on July 12th and 13th with the participation of thousands of people from the urban and rural communities. They congregated in El Charco del Ingenio to honor and venerate the Santa Cruz and to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the founding of the Botanical Garden and the preservation of this natural monument in our city. 

fiesta de la santa cruz

The ritual offerings made with the cucharilla plant (suchil, angels and staffs) were hung in the Plaza of the Four Winds and the stations of the cross of the Botanical Garden and Parque Landeta to rededicate the entire area as protected and communal land. After the ritual ceremonies came the indigenous and folkloric dances to the sounds of huapango music from the Sierra de Xichu, Guanajuato.

Summer Camp in El Charco

summer camp

A wonderful group of children and young people participated in this annual camp which concluded in July, led by Hermes Arroyo and Jesus Bautista.  The kids return home after almost a month of fun and educational activities, and we look forward to doing it again next year.

summer camp

Exhibit of Snakes and Reptiles

The Boveda, which is located to one side of the Plaza of Four Winds, will be inaugurated shortly as the multi-use space of the Botanical Garden, starting with this interesting exhibit of Mexican biodiversity.  Live specimen of the main species of reptiles and amphibians of our region will be displayed.  These come from the Herpetario of San Luis de la Paz, headed by Raul Hernandez Arciga, biologist and herpetologist from the National Polytechnical Institute and an enthusiastic collaborator with El Charco del Ingenio.  The exhibit will be on display for two months and will have guided explanations and the occasionally special exotic sample of snakes will be added to the exhibit.

Sunday, August 31st to Thursday, October 30th
Open every day from 10a.m. to 5p.m.
Entrance: 10 pesos (members with cards, free)
Inauguration: Saturday, August 30th at noon



New Website for El Charco
Coming Soon …

Starting in September, our new website will be up and running with a lot of new material and photos.  There will also be the possibility to donate online at last. 

Garden Lecture Series:  The Flowering Wetland
August 14th, 9:30a.m

In no other part of El Charco is there so much floral color, such an abundance of cosmos and sunflowers, forming swathes of pink and yellow.  But a wetland, beloved by naturalists -  Thoreau sad he’d rather have a marsh for a garden – is an “extreme” environment. Water is in excess of what most plants need. So there are specialists. And we will see these. Over the wet meadow (come with the right shoes), while we are looking at the ground, swallows will skim and hover overhead; maybe a crested caracara will drift by.  This walk will start in Parque Landeta and last about one hour. Our guide will be Walter Meagher, author of Wild and Wonderful: Nature up Close in El Charco, which has great coverage of the wetland area in both text and photos. Members pay 70 pesoso, non-memebers 100 pesos. Please reserve a space at



Volunteers in El Charco

We would like to thank three young people who assisted the personnel of the Botanical Garden in various work areas during the month of July. These were Joachim Havard and Corentin Havard, both geographers from France and Nicolas Vanlangendonck, cellular biologist from Belgium.  We extend our sincere gratitude to them for their efforts and hope to see them back again in El Charco someday. There are many possibilities for participating in the activities of the Garden. For more information, contact Naomi Zerriffi at


El Charco

Margarette Dawit, reknowned artist originally from South Africa, has been living in San Miguel since 1990.

She made this magnificent oil painting a few months ago of the rocky canyon in El Charco. It is currently on exhibit in San Miguel along with other works by the artist.

  margarette dawitt

What’s Blooming

Although many cacti bloom in March, there are several showy flowers in the Conservatory right now. And, of course, during the rainy season, there are many beautiful wildflowers to be seen throughout the garden. If you haven’t been recently, we highly recommend a stroll at this time of year.


Guided Tours in English

For the next few months El Charco will be trying out some changes to our tour schedule. Rather than only offering one tour a week on Tuesdays, we will be giving the tour 3 days-Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The start time will be 10:00a.m. sharp (instead of 9) and it will last 2 hours. A hat, water and good walking shoes are recommended.

Fees for the tours remain the same, 50 pesos for members and 80 pesos for non-members. Private tours are available for 150 pesos per person (minimum 5 persons). Reservations are not necessary. If you have any questions or would like to comment on these changes, email


The Gift Shop

We would like to thank Angelina Loera for setting up and developing during 2008 the new shop as well as the juice bar, both of which represent an important source of income for the garden. After many months of hard work, confronting and resolving various difficulties, and succeeding at consolidating these new spaces into El Charco, Angelina hands over the responsibilities for the entire Visitor’s Reception area to Liz Moran. 

Many sincere thanks, Ange!!
Welcome, Liz!!

Featured Product
at our Store

Wild and Wonderful: Nature Up Close at El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden. Text by Walter Meagher and photographs by Wayne Colony. Foreward by E.O. Wilson. 300 pesos.

On sale at the Botanical Garden gift shop and bookstores in San Miguel.

This book is being highly praised by all who have read it. A must have.

  wild and wonderful

Saturday, August 16th 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, August 15th, 8p.m. and Sunday, August 17th, 10a.m.

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

New Membership Fees

Starting July 1st the fee has gone from 500 to 600 pesos for annual membership.  This source of income is important for El Charco and is a way of contributing to the future of our project.  Benefits to the member include:

  1. unlimited access for the card holder and 2 other people,
  2. discounts at concerts and other activities,
  3. subscription to this electronic newsletter, and
  4. opportunities to volunteer and participate in our work.

We thank you for your understanding and support.

Our Survey Question:  Thank you to everyone who replied. Every answer to our question, “would you recommend membership to El Charco to friends and family”, was a resounding, enthusiastic YES! And thank you also for your very supportive comments that came with your vote. So now, let’s do just that…please recommend to your family and/or friends to become a member. This is an easy way to support the garden and is very much appreciated by all of us at El Charco.

Please send comments or questions to

You can make a difference

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

“Botanical Gardens are not just places for conserving and displaying plants.  At the dawn of the new millennium, they are main actors in the defense and protection of the planet’s biodiversity, with a growing focus on the regional – thinking globally and acting locally.  And they are also builders of a new environmental culture for the societies that inhabit the Earth.” 




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