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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

May 2010 - Volume V, No. 5

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.



Temzacal workshop for children - Saturday, May 1st
Temazcal workshop for women - Saturday, May 15th
Traditional temazcal - Sunday, May 30th 

Garden Lecture Series (in Spanish), Friday, May 14th

Full Moon Ceremony - Thursday, May 27th

Bird Watching tours - First and third Wednesday of the month

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays

festival de nopal  

Saturday, May 22nd | 10 am - 5 pm

To celebrate the International Day of Biodiversity, the Garden has organized exhibits of local producers of products of this plant, the emblem of Mexico and of great importance for its population since time immemorial.

There will be tastings of both traditional dishes and new innovatations. Renowned researchers will give lectures appropriate for all ages on nopal and other indigenous, edible plants. 

And to add even more fun to the Festival, a son jarocho musical group, Caña Dulce y Caña Brava, will provide entertainment. Admission: $20 pesos. More information at El Charco’s Reception.  Don’t miss this event!





a child at the New York Botanical Garden

  Work is advancing on the Jardin de la Tierra, an interactive space, sponsored by the Save the Laja Foundation and dedicated to our youngest visitors, situated a few steps from the main Reception. A squadron of workers, led by Timoteo Wachter, landscape designer and director of this project, have been moving large stones into place for the first module of the garden: a panoramic observatory from which the reservoir and northern zone of El Charco can be seen, which will be a recreational area for children with mysterious and exciting climbs and descents. The hill will be crowned with a telescope for observing the birds, islands and wildlife of the reserve.

interactive garden

interactive garden



An important part of Save the Laja Foundation’s support is dedicated to the construction, already underway, of a large cistern with the capacity of more than 400 m3 to capture and hold rain water. This volume of almost entirely uncontaminated water will be valuable to El Charco del Ingenio in the near future when the reservoir’s capacity will be reduced due to silting and when using City water to irrigate will be prohibitive and unthinkable.  A network of collectors will capture rainwater and irrigate the Garden in areas requiring it. Without a doubt, this initiative marks a new stage in our conservation project. Thanks to STL.



DOG PARK  |  Coming soon!

To address the interests of our members, some for and some against allowing dogs in the Garden, the Board decided to dedicate a section of the reserve of about one hectare in the western part where members can enter with their dogs as long as the rules for the correct usage of this space are respected.  During this past April the area was fenced and there are several doors for people to enter and exit at any time. The entrance for dogs is the Balcones gate. We will initiate this on a trial basis, subject to modifications, and we appreciate input from our members. For more information about the rules for this area, please contact




In our last issue of this newsletter, we mentioned the support of our friends and collaborators, Susan and Wayne Colony, in putting together a list of birds and dragonflies which, along with photos of each species taken by them over years in the reserve, is on our website.  Now the inventory and photos of butterflies (130 species) in El Charco is also available by clicking on the name in the Biodiversity section of the website.  Try it and you will be surprised not only by the rich diversity of fauna in El Charco but also by the quality of these images. Check it out here.



In December 2009 El Charco began a collaboration with the Denver Botanic Garden’s Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate Program and the initial response has been tremendous. We will be offering two classes in July:

Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I

Saturday July 24th - Friday July 30th, 9 am – noon

Instructor: Constance Sayas 

(6 places remaining)



constance sayas


Karla Beatty  

Botanical Landscapes in Watercolor

Monday July 26th – Friday July 30th, 1 – 4 pm

Instructor: Karla Beatty

(10 places remaining)

The certificate program provides a comprehensive course of study, offering the drawing and painting skills required to render accurate and useful depictions of the plant world and fungi. Instructed by eight professional staff educators, the core curricula as well as the broad and encouraging range of elective courses present a bridge that connects people to the science of botany and ecology. Students not only develop an understanding and appreciation of science and art, but also gain an appreciation of conservation and knowledge beyond botany and plant sciences to applied fields.

For more information or to register, contact before July 3rd.  Word is out and these classes have become very popular. We suggest registering early since class size is limited to only 14 people.

In September we’ll be offering Composing Compelling Artwork and Flower Portraits in Pencil and Color and in December Focus on Form and Hand-Made Journals & Hand Lettering. 



During the month of April, the second Expo Reptiles captivated over 3000 people, mostly children and youth of our City.  Both foreigners and Mexicans enjoyed the opportunity to observe live specimens, learn about the different species in our region and throughout Mexico, and most importantly to value and respect an endangered fauna.  The Expo included informative talks and classes on handling reptiles, under the supervision of biologist Sandra Cruz, who is in charge of the herpetarium of the University of Queretaro.  El Charco will continue to regularly provide exhibits such as this that are both educational and interesting.   snake

expo reptiles



earth day  


From the 12th to the 24th of April El Charco celebrated Earth Day in coordination with PEASMA (Environmental Education Program of San Miguel) and UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico). 

Starting with PEASMA’s workshops with primary school children in the municipality, the celebration helped children increase their knowledge of environmental themes through various activities in the Botanical Garden. Interpretative walks taught not only about the flora and fauna but also about the different types of contamination and alternative solutions to this problem.

During this event a giant nest was installed, made of plant material and, to the rhythm of drums, young and old made their egg and hung it in the nest indicating in a symbolic manner their commitment to Mother Earth.  Many thanks to all who participated.


GET TO KNOW OUR TEAM  |  This month we present Rogelio López González

roy   Rogelio, better known as Roy, has spent a lot of time at the Botanical Garden in the areas of gardening, maintenance and surveillance.  Originally from Tierra Blanca, in the region of the Sierra Gorda of Guanajuato, has been for many years an essential and trustworthy builder of our conservation project. He has mechanical, construction and gardening abilities as well as knowledge about the local flora and fauna.  His energy combined with a willingness to learn and a sense of humor, have allowed him to expand his range of activities including representing El Charco to various communities of the region.




Diana María Garcia Velasquez is a biologist who graduated from the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes (UAA).  During her training with the biotechnology lab of UAA, she participated in environmental education projects, rehabilitation of wild animals, and collaborated with the Botanical Garden in Texcoco, “Rey Netzahualcoyotl”.  Currently Diana is doing professional training at El Charco especially in the area of propagation.  Her sensibility and knowledge of the regional plants, as well as her naturally fitting in with our team, has contributed to the training of our staff.

diana garcia



This month we have three: the traditional one, a workshop/ temazcal to celebrate Children’s Day and one to celebrate Mother’s Day, especially for women.

TRADITIONAL TEMAZCAL: Sunday, May 30th  |  6 pm  | $250 pesos | with Alina Monterrubio

TEMAZCAL WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN aged 6 -10 | May 1st | 9 - 2:30 pm | Dayana Paz | Cost $350 pesos

Objectives: Stimulate creativity, free emotional expresión, develop security and concentration, cultivate a taste for good Elath, strengthen family ties and encourage respect and love for nature.

Program: yoga, meditation, toltec exercises, sacred games and the temazcal ceremony. We recommend loose clothing, a bandana, bathing suit, towel, sandals and a smile.


TEMAZCAL WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN | May 15th | 4 pm – 10 pm | $350 pesos | By Dayana Paz

Objectives:  recuperate, revive and reinforce the magic of the sacred woman.

Program: Initiation ceremony, burning of the lifeboat, regression to the womb, rehabilitation “pranica”, energy curing, practice of yoga chikong and temazcal ceremony.
Materials: loose clothing, a bandana, bathing suit, towel, sandals, quartz of 7 different colors, yoga rug, freedom, and a smile.

Space is limited so please call for reservations or information 154 47.15 | or in El Charco’s main office.



Garden Lecture Series: Conservation of resources, soil, water and vegetation
Friday, May 14th  | 10 am | In Spanish | Cost included with the entrance fee


This month, Jaime Ocampo, ecoagriculturist from Dolores Hidalgo, who has 25 years of experience with restoration of soil, water and local vegetation as well as sustainable harvesting of mesquite wood, will be the guest speaker. Is it possible to live in harmony with nature? Can we use native regional resources in a sustainable way? Can we contribute to the restoration of our aquifers and watersheds? Find out on the 14th and learn about Jaime’s outstanding personal example.

Reservations: | 154. 4715



Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am - 12:00 pm approx.

A hat, water and good walking shoes are recommended. $50 pesos for members and $80 pesos for non-members. Reservations are not necessary. Private tours are also available for $150 pesos per person (minimum 5 persons).



BIRD WALKSMay 5th and 19th

The walks are for birders of all levels. They begin at 9:00 am and last about 2 1/2 hours. No reservations needed, and feel free to leave the walk at any time.  Please bring binoculars, wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, and bring water. Signe will meet you after you pass through the Reception area of the Botanical Garden.

Cost: $60 pesos for members of either El Charco or Audubon, $100 pesos for non-members of either organization (includes El Charco entrance fee).

May is the month for nesting. Look for the big, football-size-and-shaped nests of the Cactus Wren, made of dry grasses. Typically, Cactus Wrens nest in the Cholla cactus, more or less at eye level, but you might find a nest in a Nopal or a thorny tree such as a Huisache. On the opposite end of the size scale, look for the tiny, solid cup of the hummingbird nest, fastened to a twig or branch. Last year, Broad-billed Hummingbirds nested in the Conservatory--a smart strategy as it offers protection from both weather and predators.

cactus wren


Thursday, May 27th  |  8 pm  |
Plaza of the Four Winds  |  $30 pesos general public, members free

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. Children welcome. Any questions, call Alicia Mayo at 152 .0376.

full moon ceremony




It´s very important to bring your membership card with you when you visit the Garden please.  We must have spot checks since, unfortunately, we encounter on a regular basis abuses of privileges.  We regret any inconvenience to our members and appreciate your cooperation.




We currently have a show of Sabrina Gaydos’ paintings that were used in the 2010 calendar as well as new ecological products personalized for El Charco. 

gaydo expo


After a pleasant walk in the Garden, the Café offers delicious refreshments.  Don’t leave without visiting the store and sampling snacks.



agave  garambullo  pajaros  nopales  bisnaga

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