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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

March, 2009 - Volume IV, No. 3

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.


Full Moon ceremony March 10

Temascal March 14-15

Equinox ceremony March 20

Equinox concert March 20

Botanical Illustration March 23-30

Garden Lecture Series: Lavender Project March 30

Yoga Mondays and Wednesdays

Guided Tours Tuesdays and Thursdays



Please celebrate this festival of the Sun with us.  From 1p.m. onwards we will have a tasting of organic Xoconostle (sour prickly pear) products from the hacienda San Jose El Marquez in Chapantongo, Hidalgo.  At 3:30p.m. there will be an hour of Conchero dancing by Grupo de Danza Tonalli, del Señor de la Conquista.

The Spring Equinox Ceremony will start promptly at 4:30p.m. and last half an hour.  The Spring Equinox is one of the four great solar festivals of the year. It is the day of equal daylight and equal darkness.  The world feels a sense of rebirth and in many traditions, this is the start of the new year. Red and green are the colors of this festival. Red represents life. Green symbolizes the growth of the plants. You will be given a red carnation as a symbol to welcome Spring. While eggs contain the promise of new animal life, seeds are like eggs in that both represent new life and potential.  We will use seeds in the ceremony: the seeds for the mind and the seeds for the earth.  We will end with the ceremony of the four elements and then go to the canyon for the concert should you wish.  For more information, call Alicia Mayo at 152-0376.


Spring Equinox CONCERT –

As is customary every year, El Charco celebrates this festival of the Sun with a musical offering.  This year a special performance by Rodrigo Garciarroyo (tenor), Belinda Gonzalez (soprano) and Mario Alberto Hernandez (pianist) will take place in the canyon’s natural amphitheatre – sculpted by millennia of flowing water.  The program will have arias from various operas by Puccini and others as well as some Spanish songs from Zarzuelas. 

Come with friends and enjoy an hour of magnificent music in a spectacular setting. We suggest you come early -and bring a hat and cushion.

Admission: 80 pesos, 50 pesos for members, students and teachers 20 pesos and children under 10 are free.

To avoid line ups, tickets will be sold at the front entrance of the garden, Border Crossing (Mesones 57) and Madre Tierra (Correo 12) starting March 7th.

  belinda gonzales


Successful Fundraising Event

We would like to thank the artists who donated magnificent works of art, our staff and volunteers, sponsors, Patsy DuBois for catering, our auctioneer Anado, Bobby Kaplan and group, and everyone who came and enjoyed the Casitas de Aves event on February 15th.   We raised close to $20,000US to be shared by Audubon and El Charco to continue our conservation and environmental education efforts.  We will be having our second annual Casitas de Aves fundraiser on February 14th, 2010 and are planning on holding it in a larger space since this was a sold out event and we will try to accommodate more people next year.


UNAM designates distinguished researcher
for the Multidisciplinary Research Center in Parque Landeta

ken oyama   On January 21st the Municipality ceded 3 hectares to UNAM for this research center, as well as putting the other 28 hectares in their care. Since then UNAM has taken the first steps in pursuing this project which is important for our town.  One of these steps is to designate the renowned biologist, Ken Oyama.  Dr. Oyama has an undergraduate degree in Biology. His undergraduate thesis was about Ecology and its interactions. He has a masters degree in science from UNAM (Universidad Autonoma de Mexico). His master's thesis was about Ecology and the plant populations. His area of speciality is molecular ecology and the genetics of conservation and filography. We welcome Dr. Oyama to San Miguel de Allende.


Garden Lecture Series:  Monday, March 30th

The Lavender Project

This month we will visit The Lavender Project in Rancho La Colorado.  In 2005 the board of St. Anthony’s Alliance came to this little village and saw a possibility for growing a perfect value-added crop.  In 2006 a local farmer spent time in Idaho learning to grow lavender and a young lady interned in New Mexico to learn how to make products from the lavender.  There is also a community center where soybeans are dried and transformed into breakfast donuts and milk for the children of the Rancho, a sewing room and a computer room as well as a clinic and library.  We will visit the fields, see how the lavender is grown, cut, dried and processed. In the Bodega we will see the finished products and we will visit the community center as well.


Since it takes an hour to drive there, we will meet in the parking lot of Fabrica La Aurora and leave from there at 9:00a.m. We will car pool.  Bring a hat, water, good walking shoes. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED:  Members 70pesos, general public 100 pesos.

Products from the Lavender Project are available in El Charco’s gift shop.


YOGA EN EL CHARCO with Ximena Velasco.
every Monday & Wednesday from 10 – 11:15 am in the Boveda.

Cost: 85 pesos /class, or monthly package of 8 classes for 560 pesos (70 pesos /class).
For more information or to reserve a space, please contact Olivia Ledon:
Tel 154 47 15  or
If you would like to rent the multi-use space, the Boveda, for an event or meeting, please contact Olivia.


charlotte straub  

–Only 3 spaces left

From March 23 to the 27th, Charlotte Staub Thomas will teach from 9a.m.-1p.m. at the Botanical Garden using pen and ink, colored pencil and watercolor.  Charlotte Staub Thomas teaches workshops at Art Center Manatee, and the Corcoran School of Art and Design (in conjunction with the United States Botanic Garden) in Washington, D.C. 

After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, she studied botanical art at the New York Botanical Garden.

Ms Thomas painted twenty-five watercolors for the book, Common to This Country: Botanical Discoveries of Lewis and Clark (Artesan 2003). Those paintings were exhibited at the South Florida Museum, New York Botanical Garden, Smith College, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. 

Class is limited to 15. 

  charlotte straub

On the weekend, we will have a local artist giving 2 classes of 4 hours each in Spanish.  Alifie Rojas Candanedo is a scientific illustrator who has had individual shows throughout Mexico, has illustrated several books and worked as a scientific illustrator for laboratories and universities in Mexico. Classes limited to 5 people.  Beginning early March, Alifie’s work will be available for viewing and purchase in our Garden Gift Shop and Cafeteria.
For more information on both sessions, contact

Click here for registration form.


Staff Training in Environmental Education

Marta García y Lorena Gutiérrez, our staff members responsible for the plant collection, attended a two day training session in the nature reserve Xochitla  in Tepotzotlan on the subject “Environmental Education in Mexican Botanical Gardens” given by Dr. Javier Reyes Ruiz from the University of Gudalajara.  It was organized by the Mexican Association of Botanical Gardens, the Botanical Garden of UNAM and the Botanical Garden of the Xochitla Foundation.


Guided Tours in English – Now Two Days/Week

During the months of January, February and March, we will have two tours a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10a.m.-12:30p.m.. A hat, water and good walking shoes are recommended. 50 pesos for members and 80 pesos for non-members. Private tours are also available for 150 pesos per person (minimum 5 persons). Reservations are not necessary.

Saturday, March 14
Sunday, March 15 at 10:00 a.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

Tuesday, March 10 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.

We celebrate the Full Moon Ceremony to come back into balance with nature on earth.  This is one of the most important Full Moons of 2009.  It amplifies the ongoing opposition between Saturn and Uranus.  Their face-off- heightens the contrast between hierarchy and democracy, the status quo and progress, fear and freedom.

Come and enthusiastically participate and dedicate your intention and energies on Tuesday, March 10th at 7 PM at the Plaza of the Four Winds at the Jardin Botánico.  Bonfire, incense, chanting, drumming included.  Bring flutes, cymbals, a drum or any other instrument if you want.  

It’s worth arriving a little early to admire the setting of the sun and the appearance of the moon over the mountains. You may want to bring a coat for cool evenings.  Admission is 30 pesos, free for members. Children welcome. Any questions, call Alicia Mayo at 152 -0376.


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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