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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

February, 2009 - Volume IV, No. 2

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.


GARDEN LECTURE SERIES: Friday, Feb 6th, 10:00a.m. 

TEMASCAL, Sat and Sun, Feb 7 & 8, 10:00 a.m.

FULL MOON CEREMONY, Mon, Feb 9, sunset

Feb 28 & March 1

BIRD HOUSE AUCTION, Sun, Feb 15th from 12-3p.m.

CANCELLED ASTRONOMY EVENT, Fri, Feb 27th starting at 6:30p.m. CANCELLED


GUIDED TOURS, Tuesdays and Thursdays

YOGA EN EL CHARCO, Mondays and Wednesdays


The Interactive Garden:  A New Project in El Charco  

El Charco has become an important tourist destination, admired by people from Mexico and other countries.  It also attracts a good number of local residents, some members and some regular visitors. Currently most of our visitors and members are adults with a smaller number of families and children coming on weekends or during vacations.  The current design of the Botanical Garden, despite its beauty and diversity, does not offer a lot of activities for young families.  We think it’s time to open a space that is in keeping with the harmony of the Garden which will attract young people.

interactive garden

For several months we have been working on a design for a space we call “The Interactive Garden”, based on the experiences of other parks and botanical gardens, which have served as models, adapted to our local conditions.  We have dedicated an appropriate area to the west of reception.  Well defined and safe, the area will have a series of installations, rustic and simple, to introduce various environmental themes through hands-on experience to children under 10, accompanied by an adult of course.  Among the projected attractions will be a water area, a sandy area surrounded by rocks, a lookout with telescopes, a little plant house, ropes and various examples of alternative energy (wind, solar, water).  The project includes shaded areas to rest and educational signage. 

In our next newsletters, we will keep you informed of our progress on this project and we invite members and friends of the Botanical Garden to support it with ideas, experience or funds.


The City and UNAM formalize agreement re Parque Landeta

On January 21st, an agreement was signed between the City, represented by our mayor, Jesus Correa, and the University’s President, Jose Narro, and witnessed by the Governor of Guanajuato, Juan Manual Oliva.  The agreement consists of a 3 hectare donation to UNAM for a Multidisciplinary Research Center as well as giving them custody of the other 30 hectares of the park for its preservation and development as an educational, ecological and recreational space which benefits everyone in San Miguel.  The ceremony took place at Parque Landeta and was attended by members of local government, state government, civil society and UNAM.

We look forward to watching the campus take shape, and further collaboration between UNAM and the Botanical Garden.

  rector UNAM


Garden Lecture Series: Friday, February 6th, 10:00a.m. 

Our Little Winter Visitors
Wayne and Susan Colony

The winter months of December to February bring many visitors to San Miguel. The Botanical Garden, El Charco, greets its winter visitors too, as North American birds trade the cold and dark of northern climates for the warmth and abundant food of our area.  The wintering ducks in the presa are easily seen, but there are others, small and secretive, that are frequently overlooked. Flycatchers, wrens, warblers, and sparrows arrive in the last days of autumn to feed on the abundance of seeds and berries in the garden - some travel further south but many stay. The House Wren's melodious song rings out all winter in El Charco though you'll rarely see it. The Marsh Wren's scolding chatter is heard along streams and if you're patient the little bird may come out to defend his territory! Flocks of sparrows - Lark, Chipping, Clay-colored - feed industriously along the trails. Look closely and you'll find El Charco is full of wonderful birds in winter!

winter birds

On Friday Feb. 6, at 10:00a.m. in our multi-use space, the Boveda, Wayne and Susan Colony will present a lecture, accompanied by beautiful photographs, that will introduce all the colorful winter ducks plus the smallest winter visitors too. They'll lead a short walk around El Charco after the lecture to look for birds.

Please reserve a space at  Members 70pesos, non-members 100pesos.


Donor Recognition Path

Without the generous support of our donors, the conservation project, El Charco, would not be possible.  Over the years we have found various ways to thank  these individuals and organizations and now we will have a more public display of our gratitude.  Our staff has been hard at work building beautiful stone walls to line a path in which we will put cantera stones with the engraved names of our donors.   This walkway is located at a very central point, near the reception area and where the paths diverge to go to either the Conservatory or the Plaza of Four Winds.

donor recognition path


CANCELLED: will be rescheduled this spring
Astronomy Event
February 27th starting at 6:30p.m. until midnight


2009 is the Year of Astronomy and we will have a few evening events at El Charco to celebrate, led by astronomer Phyllis Pitluga.  The first will take place on February 27th when we will watch for the “green flash” with a prism, have explanations using telescopes, search for Venus and the new comet, Lulin, enjoy demonstrations on the motions of Venus and Saturn, identify the Earth’s shadow and much more. 

General admission 30pesos, children under 12 are free as are members (donations appreciated). In addition to Phyllis, Linton Pitluga and Rodrigo Trevino will be assisting with the telescopes. General admission 30pesos, children under 12 are free as are members (donations appreciated).


BIRD HOUSE AUCTION : February 15th from 12-3p.m.

This event is organized jointly by Audubon and El Charco at the Botanical Garden.  Over 50 artists, architects and generally creative people have built bird houses or feeders, true works of art, to be auctioned. 

The silent auction will be open from noon to 2:30p.m. and the live auction starts at 1p.m.  Tickets to this event are 250 pesos for members of either organization and 300 pesos for non-members.  We will have canapes, wine, mezcal and live music.  Many of the bird houses are available for viewing at .  

For those not in town that day or who weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket, we will offer remote bidding as well. Tell me which bird house(s) you want and what is your maximum bid and I will represent you at the event.  For information on this or to purchase a ticket while they last, contact


casitas de aves




Flowering Huizache

Although the rainy season is months away, there are several blooms to be seen in El Charco.  One of the most magnificent both for sight and smell is the yellow flower of the Huizache tree.


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


with certified teacher, Alejandro Negrete starting January 17th(Bilingual).

Workshop on Pneuma Breathwork with certified teacher, Alejandro Negrete
February 14th and 15th from 10a.m.-2p.m. and 4-8p.m.:  Mantras, Music Therapy, Process of Dying, Karma and Dharma, Reincarnation and Rebirth, Evolution, Involution and Revolution and Pneuma Breathwork Sunday from 4-8p.m.

February 28th and March 1st from 12-2p.m. and 4-8p.m.:  Universal Archetypes, Mystical Experience in Sacred Books and Pneuma Breathwork Saturday and Sunday from 4-8p.m.

For more information: (415) 120-2179



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.   botanical drawing botanical drawaing

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. 

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.  For more information on both sessions, contact

Click here for registration form.



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, February 7 and
Sunday, February 8 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


Monday, February 9th 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.


The Cafeteria at El Charco

Have you been to the cafeteria recently? Much more than a café or juice bar now, our young chef, Rodrigo, is preparing healthy and delicious dishes daily and has converted our little space into a high quality eating experience.  It’s right behind the gift shop which has new and interesting products for sale – have a look and then enjoy something sumptuous.



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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