Newsletter February 2024

NEWSLETTER

OUR MISSION:
Protect and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of Charco del Ingenio, as well as maintain a botanical garden dedicated to the conservation and study of regional flora and ecosystems, mainly oriented towards environmental education.


EL CHARCO: A CONFLUENCE SPACE FOR ART AND NATURE

Since its inception, the San Miguel de Allende Botanical Garden has welcomed various expressions of culture and the arts as part of its mission. The annual concerts, every spring equinox, like other artistic presentations throughout the year, attract diverse audiences.

Added to this are the periodic exhibitions ofLand Artand the installation of a series of sculptural works in the Garden. Among these, the monumental work of the German artist Wilhelm Holderied stands out, on the north side of the canyon, both a labyrinth and an observatory, called “A House for Starlight.” Likewise, the Sculpture Trail stands out, where various artistic pieces offered to the Botanical Garden surge among the vegetation. An outstanding contribution is the powerful sculptural fountain that welcomes visitors, at the entrance to El Charco, the work of the Philipino sculptor from Tepoztlán, Eduardo Olbes. And most recent aesthetic contribution: the sculpture/bench called “Aleteo”, by the North American artist Glen Rogers, inaugurated at the beginning of 2024.

A relevant contribution to support Charco is a series of copies of the engraving “Nopal”, (etching, ink and drypoint) whose author is the Cuban artist based in San Miguel, Edgar Soberon, which are exhibited and for sale in the Garden shop.

In the musical field, the British composer Michael Hoppé, resident in San Miguel, has honored El Charco with the beautiful piece Beneath Mexican Stars, inspired during the walks that he and his wife began in the Garden from the pandemic and that they continue to do to date. Bajo las estrellas mexicanas (Beneath Mexican Stars), inspirada durante las caminatas que iniciaron en el Jardín él y su esposa a partir de la pandemia y que continúan realizando hasta la fecha.

The closeness and support of artists to El Charco goes back a long way. In 1997, during the Botanical Garden’s first years of life, a group of renowned creators in Mexico made graphic work in silkscreen in support of the conservation project. The artists: Mario Palacios Kaim, Joy Laville, Pedro Friedeberg, Sergio Hernández, Jan Hendrix, Miguel Castro Leñero, Carla Rippey, Boris Viskin, Martha Hellion and Roberto Turnbull. The works were exhibited during 2023 at the Interpretative Hall of the Botanical Garden, under the title Artistic Looks at Mexican Nature, an exhibition that was later presented at the “El Nigromante” Cultural Center and, during January 2024, at the Bella Epoca Cultural Center in Colonia Condesa, Mexico City.

Ofrendas…

The Interpretative Hall of the Botanical Garden also hosted other exhibitions during 2023: Preponderancy of the Small, by the local collective Taller 30, Nostalgia for Nature, by Maribel Portela, and Imaginary Animals by a youth group from Mision de Chichimecas, an indigenous community of San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato.

El Charco del Ingenio will continue to host and promote diverse cultural activities, aiming to combine art and nature in pursuit of the conservation of Mexico's biocultural heritage.


NEW ACCESS FEE TO EL CHARCO DEL INGENIO

As of January 8, 2024, the general admission ticket to the Botanical Garden will cost 80 pesos, with a special discount for students and teachers citizens (with an INE credential), whose rate will be 40 pesosfrom now on. Free entrance for children under 10 years old will be maintained, as well as the fee exemption on Wednesdays and Sundays for the sanmiguelenses (with an INE credential).

It has been a difficult but unavoidable decision for the Board of Directors of El Charco. After more than ten years of maintaining general access to the Garden at 50 pesos, and in view of the continuous raise in the cost of living that we are experiencing both globally and locally, we are forced to make this increase in the entrance fee. This will allow us to better cover the growing expenses of the Botanical Garden, which include staff salaries as well as daily expenses for maintenance, conservation, research, education and community service. It will also help us to undertake diverse improvements --joining external donations-- and finally to offer a better service, attention and security to the users and visitors of this important biocultural heritage of San Miguel de Allende.

We thank the public in advance for their understanding for this unprecedented increase in the entrance fee to El Charco, considering an unquestionable reality: "Conservation Costs".


NOTICE TO VISITORS OF THE BOTANICAL GARDEN

Activities and private classes in drawing, painting, photography, video (use of drones), that use equipment and occupy spaces in the Garden, as well as ceremonies of any type, require advance written permission from the Direction, via email: charcodelingeniocomunicacion@gmail.com

We appreciate your understanding.


COMMUNITY MEETING: CORN, CEREMONIAL TORTILLAS AND BIOSECURITY IN ORDER TO PROTECT OUR TERRITORY

In recent days, a community meeting of artisans and heirs of the ritual practice of painting tortillas, as well as academics from the University of Guanajuato and the Autonomous University of Querétaro, was held in the facilities of the ethnobiological garden of Guanajuato, in order to discuss a program of activities designed to address issues of importance for food sovereignty in the region.

This meeting was a collaboration with representatives of CIBIOGEM (Inter-Ministerial Commission on Biosecurity and Genetically Modified Organisms) who shared information regarding the contamination of native corn with transgenic corn in Mexico, risk factors for the ritual practice of the ceremonial tortilla and participatory biosecurity actions for the protection of the milpa.

Inter-community strengthening is essential for the protection of this ritual practice in the localities near the Laja River, due to the risks the appropriation for commercial purposes of their practices by non-indigenous groups.


AUDUBON Y EL CHARCO: CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT RESULTS

By Norman Besman

On a cold morning in December five birders from Sociedad Audubon de Mexico came to El Charco del Ingenio to count all the birds they could find in one day. They were part of 71 counting circles in Mexico joining in the 124th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) between mid-December and early-January, in Mexico’s 51st year of participation.

Among the first of all citizen science projects, the CBC started in 1900 in the U.S.A. as an environmental response to an older tradition of teams competitively hunting and shooting as many birds as they could find on Christmas Day. This “count rather than shoot” alternative was established by the organization that would later become the National Audubon Society of the U.S.A. The CBC is now also held in Canada, Mexico, 12 countries in Central and South America, plus 14 islands in the Caribbean and Pacific.

The 24 kilometer San Miguel counting circle included two other sites where counts took place: Pena Blanca (near Canada de la Virgen) and the Rio Laja (near La Cieneguita). 

The El Charco team found 1688 birds of 61 different species, almost half of which were migratory. The totals for all three sites in our circle were 2560 birds of 103 species, making El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Gardens an important “hot spot” for birding.


SCIENTIFIC CAFÉ: STORIES AND CURIOSITIES OF A HERBARIUM

Saturday February 24 / 10:00 a.m.
Free admission

Scientific cafés are opportunities to talk and think about science while sharing a pleasant moment. In each session, a scientist presents the topic of his or her specialty through a talk in an everyday language, which is then discussed with the audience. This activity is carried out in many parts of the world with the objective of expanding or updating the knowledge of a non-specialist but interested audience. Throughout 2024, we will be inviting you to enjoy a good cup of coffee and science in the Botanical Garden.

On this occasion you will have a chance to see an important selection of botanical specimens that belong to our scientific collection of the Herbario del Charco; from their bizarre names and some mystery stories to whimsical shapes and unique details.

Bring your cup and we'll put the coffee!


Viridantha minuscula: A NEW PLANT DISCOVERED IN EL CHARCO DEL INGENIO, A SPECIES OF BROMELIAD WITH NO PREVIOUS RECORD.

Last October, a specimen of this new species from the Bromeliaceae family was presented to the members of the Botanical Garden, during a special reception in the historic center of San Miguel de Allende. The members were able to observe, appreciate and learn from El Charco directors and curators the characteristics of this plant and the details surrounding its discovery and botanical identification.

The discovery of new plant species is not common nowadays, especially in populated territories studied by botanists for centuries, such as the region of San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato. For this reason, the discovery of a new plant species, already confirmed by specialized scientific institutions, is very relevant news. This plant was sighted on the cliffs of El Charco del Ingenio by José Viccon, official biologist from the Botanical Garden, for several years. Resembling two species of the Bromeliad family, of the Tillandsia genus (locally known as paxtle, gallitos, heno), it turned out to be a new species of the Viridanthagenus, according to studies carried out by experts over several years and recently published in the journal International Phytotaxa.


2024 CALENDAR OF THE BOTANICAL GARDEN

Containing an image of the new species discoverd in El Charco Viridantha minuscula, an engraving by the sanmiguelense artist Rocio Rios, the new yearly calendar is for sale at the Garden’s giftshop.


NEW PUBLICATIONS!

ASK FOR THESE BOOKS ON YOUR NEXT VISIT TO THE BOTANICAL GARDEN


EL CHARCO DEL INGENIO: MEMBER OF BOTANIC GARDEN CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL (BGCI) BOTANIC GARDENS CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL (BGCI)

Since 2005, El Charco del Ingenio has been part of Botanical Garden Conservation International , the largest network of botanical gardens and plant conservation experts in the world. Based in London,England, this organization brings together a large number of botanical gardens in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to link members to create global participatory strategies in order to ensure plant diversity, for the well-being of people and the planet.

In a country like Mexico, whose geography comprises an enormous biotic wealth, botanical gardens play a fundamental role in the knowledge and conservation of biocultural heritage.


NATURAL HISTORY TOURS IN ENGLISH

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am

Ticket: 200 pesos per person / 150 pesos members


CHARCO BIRDWALKS

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am

Ticket: 200 pesos per person / 150 pesos members


ART AND SCIENCE IN THE BOTANICAL GARDEN

JUEGO DE 12 POSTALES: MARIPOSAS Y PALOMILLAS DEL CHARCO

Graphic work of four creative women from San Miguel de Allende:

Marijose Marín, Marisol Guerrero, Paquina Langenscheidt and Rocío Ríos

Available in our gift shop: 300 pesos