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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

July, 2009 - Volume IV, No. 7

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 - Sunday July 12

Summer Camp - Wed July 15 - Sun August 2

Talk: Todos por el Agua - Thurs July 16

Talk: Geology of El Charco - Friday July 31

Inauguration of the Benefactors Garden - Saturday August 1

Cello Concert - Saturday August 1

TEMASCAL - Saturday July 4th and Sunday July 5

Full Moon Ceremony - Tuesday July 7

Yoga at El Charco - Mondays and Wednesdays

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays

fiesta de la santa cruz

Sunday, July 12th starting at noon , Free Entrance

Since its beginnings in 1991, this celebration is held every year in July to commemorate the foundation of the Botanical Garden as well the rescue of this magnificent ravine – a project that not only preserves El Charco as an ecological reserve but also as a ritual space for local indigenous communities of San Miguel. The image of the Santa Cruz goes back to the wars of Conquest of the 16th century and the foundation of our city. As such, Charco del Ingenio is a sacred territory for the communities of the Santa Cruz, urban as well as rural, who come to the annual festival. 

The ceremony starts in the Plaza of the Four Winds and the cross is carried to the four cardinal points of the Botanical Garden where the protective shrines are located.  It finishes with the installation of the cross in Parque Landeta where the fiesta continues all day with ritual dances, music and more.


campamento verano

SUMMER CAMP:  July 15th - August 2nd

As in 2008, the July summer camp will have an artistic and recreational focus for most of its activities and workshops:  working with plants in the nursery, recycled paper, temascal, rock-climbing, rappelling, trekking, making mojigangas, horseback riding and more. All activities will be under the guidance of 2 trained leaders, Hermes Arroyo and Jesus Bautista.  Accept the challenge and experience the adventure in an extraordinary natural environment.
Monday through Friday from 9 am to 2 pm .

Boys and girls from 6 to 15 years old.
Cost: $2,200 pesos
More information at the Visitor's Center of El Charco del Ingenio,
or call 154 8838, 044 415 113 59 09 or 044 415 112 74 82



Thursday, July 16th, 10:00a.m. in the Boveda

Mark Hill and Josh Ellsworth of Ecosystem Sciences will talk about their ongoing work on a project called: Todos por el Agua: A shared solution to protect water resources in San Miguel de Allende.  According to Hill and Ellsworth, to ensure a more sustainable future for San Miguel de Allende, all its citizens will have to share the costs, benefits, and risks of water use and conservation. Currently, the labor and money required for the proper management of soils and other natural resources are too costly for our small farmers and rural communities.

Todos por el Agua is creating a public and transparent system for collaboration in which local water users pay farmers and other landowners in the upper watershed to protect and restore their land to promote the retention and infiltration of water and the biodiversity of native ecosystems. At the same time, Todos por el Agua is promoting a “culture” of water conservation that will reduce water use and facilitate a clear connection between water users and their rural neighbors. The program operates in three distinct areas:  the promotion of the program and collection of payments from water users; development of a transparent institution to administer the collected funds; and the implementation of water protection and ecological restoration projects.  Similar programs have been successfully developed and implemented in other countries and in the municipalities of Coatepec, Veracruz and Saltillo, Coahuila. 

Todos por el Agua is being implemented by Salvemos al Rio Laja, A.C. and Ecosystem Sciences Foundation.  The project is supported by Fondo Mexicana para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza A.C. (, USAID, and the Tinker and and Overbrook Foundations.

Mark Hill is the principal scientist in Ecosystem Sciences, a scientific and environmental design consulting firm, and has over 35-years of experience in the environmental field. Mr. Hill conducts large-scale watershed ecosystem studies and research, provides expert testimony for environmental litigation, and is a scientific advisor to several national and international organizations. Mr. Hill has published widely on stream and river restoration and ecosystem management and is a recognized expert nationally and internationally.  Their successful river restoration of the Lower Owens River Valley in Northern California is an interesting example of what can be done ( To learn more visit .

Josh Ellsworth has 15 years of experience with restoration ecology, forestry, wildlife biology, community development and environmental economics. He is an expert on invasive plant biology and control and has managed numerous public and private ecological restoration projects.

Come and find out more about their work here and how it affects us.
General public, 100 pesos; members of El Charco, 70pesos

todos por el agua

todos por el agua

geologia del charco  


The Geology of
the Charco del Ingenio
Friday July 31, 10 a.m.

You won’t want to miss this audio-visual presentation in English by Wayne Colony, a retired geologist living in San Miguel who has been studying the geology of El Charco for the last several years.  

Wayne has also participated in the latest scientific research about wildlife in the area and took the photos in the beautiful book, Wild & Wonderful: Nature Up Close in El Charco.  He and his wife, Susan, have prepared the inventories of the birds and butterflies in El Charco.  This presentation sells out early each time so reserve soon by emailing:

General Admission 100 pesos, members 70 pesos.
Friday July 31, 10 am
Bóveda, Jardín Botánico.


Giving Honor Where Due
Inauguration of the BENEFACTOR’S GARDEN:
Saturday, August 1st; 10:30am

 Since its beginning in 1991, the conservation project of El Charco Del Ingenio, has depended to a large extent on the local community which has contributed in so many ways through every stage of El Charco’s development.

We have always appreciated this support and now we would like to demonstrate our gratitude in a public and permanent way. We have created a beautiful space, a few steps from the entrance of the Garden, where the names and category of support of our most important donors are engraved on flagstones. (Some prefer to remain anonymous and, although their names do not appear, they will always have our gratitude).


jardin de benefactores


For the inauguration of this new Donor’s Garden, we would like to invite our donors, members, and friends to join us, and just after the inauguration, a musical treat in Nature ...  We hope to see you there.


CELLO CONCERT – Jimena Giménez Cacho
Bach Program – Boveda at the Botanical Garden

jimena gimenez cacho  

Saturday August 1 at 11 am
100 pesos for members, 150 non-members

Jimena is a well known Mexican cellist and, to our good fortune, has been a resident of San Miguel for one year now. She studied in Mexico and later in France, Germany and Spain, attending the Scola Cantorum in Paris, the Volkswang Hochschule in Essen as well as the Staatliche Hochschule in Freiburg and graduated from the Real Conservatorio in Madrid. She has performed with European orchestras as well as those in Mexico and has become renowned for her study and publication of musical repertoire related to the cello and for her discovery and dissemination of lesser-known composers. In Mexico alone she has premiered the works of over twenty artists. Her concerts always follow a thematic unity, in either a historical or geographical sense. To Jimena Giménez Cacho, the cello represents one of the profoundest voices found among the sounds of this earth; it is a voice she is able to employ in order to express the sentiments and sensations stemming from her most inner self.

General Admission 150 pesos, members 100 pesos. Limited seating. Advance sales of tickets starting July 20 in the Visitor's Center of the Botanical Garden and Border Crossing (Reloj & Mesones).




June Planting for World Environment Day

As every year at this time, the Botanical Garden sponsored a day of planting in the north zone of the Charco on June 22, World Environment Day. With the support of Reforestamos Mexico and Save the Children Mexico, through its Environmental Education program (PEASMA) and with the participation of 160 children from five different schools in San Miguel, 400 specimens of Cucharilla (Dasylirion Acrotriche) were planted. This succulent species, native to this region, is traditionally used in ritual offerings by local communities and is in danger of extinction because of increased harvesting of the wild plant in the countryside.

plantacion de cucharilla




Volunteers and Social Service

We appreciate the collaboration in various areas of the Botanical Garden of college students from professional practicum (social service) programs: José Luis Morales, Adán Puerto, Alberto Arellano and Gerardo Luna, from the Instituto Tecnológico SCC, in design and engineering calculus; Martha Hernández and Adriana Gutiérrez, students of la Universidad Tecnológica del Norte de Guanajuato (UTNG) in Dolores Hidlago, in promotion of the juice bar; and José Fabián Chávez, Pablo Manzano and Sergio Almaguer, also from UTNG, in marketing diagnostics.

Thanks also to Christian Veintimilla (Ecuador), José Ignacio Miguel (Spain) y Juan Carlos Ventura (México), students of Atlantic College in England, for their valuable participation as volunteers in the management of plants.


If you would like to make a difference also, we are looking for people to assist with membership, events and workshops, coordinate volunteers, become tour guides and help with fundraising.  If you would like to learn more, contact Naomi at


What’s Blooming
Although the rains have just started, there are plenty of surprises popping up all over the Garden.  Some are quite obvious, but be sure to look carefully close to the ground as well for some little beauties.



Garden Gift Shop: 
This month we are featuring two items – umbrellas for the rainy season – extra large for 100pesos each.  And a hard to find item in San Miguel – hummingbird feeders, 100 pesos each.  Come and see what else is new in the tienda. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.



hummingbird feeders




Shuttle Service between El Charco and downtown San Miguel:
T.T. Turísticos Dandy

This new program got off to a shaky start with some technical problems but the service is now operational providing visitors with round-trip transportation to and from the Botanical Garden from the historical center of San Miguel. It is a small bus with capacity of 17 passengers that will provide service every day, every two hours, leaving from the corner of Juárez and San Francisco, in front of the church. The cost is 20 pesos per person per trip, 40 pesos for round-trip. The schedule follows:

From downtown to Jardín Botánico

From Jardín Botánico to downtown



9:30 am

11:00 am

11:30 am

1:00 pm

1:30 pm

3:00 pm

3:30 pm

5:00 pm


Yoga “Desde el corazón” (from the Heart)
in el  Charco del Ingenio

Starting June 1st - call
Cost 100 pesos per class, Mon & Wed 10-11:15

Monthly package (8 classes)  680 pesos
For more information or to reserve a space, please contact Juan Manuel:
Tel 154-4715.
Need to bring yoga mat and blanket
Boveda at the Botanical Garden

Enjoy a wonderful yoga experience in a perfect setting.  Those who are familiar with this ecological site know that the experience starts at the entrance, its beauty immediately filling our senses.  The harmony, silence, peace, clean air, plants and animals make this place a fountain of inspiration in which to practice yoga in San Miguel.  El Charco del Ingenio offers a perfect mix that invites our senses to open up to the natural beauty around us and within us.
Ximena Velasco has practised yoga for 11 years and for the last 10 years has shared her passion for this philosphy-discipline through her classes.  She has studied in various countries such as France; Italy, India, Nepal, Australia, Mexico and the US among others.  She has explored various yoga techniques such as Iyengar, Ashtanga, Anusara, y Vinyasa.  Her passion to understand the human body has led her to investigate other techniques of movement, meditation and alternative medicine to bring the necessary tools that her students need. Ximena teaches in several places in San Miguel.
Yoga, as other ancient philosophy-disciplines in the world, is inspired by nature, learning to observe, hear, feel and imitate.  This work allows us to observe, hear and feel ourselves, connecting us to our inner nature. If you are a lover of nature and yoga, this is a worthwhile experience whether you are a resident or visitor.



Guided Tours in English

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.  Try using the shuttle service to arrive and return.


Saturday July 4th , 10:00a.m. with Alina Monterrubio
Sunday July 19th, 10:00a.m. with Tati Ortiz

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



Tuesday, July 7th 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. Come and enthusiastically participate and dedicate your intention and energies at the Plaza of the Four Winds.  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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