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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

June 2010 - Volume V, No. 6

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: VIA ORGANICA - Friday, June 18


TEMAZCAL FOR CHILDREN | 6 to 10 years old. Saturday June 12
TRADITIONAL TEMAZCAL FOR ADULTS Sunday June 13, Saturday June 26

FULL MOON CEREMONY - Saturday, June 26

YOGA for Children - every Monday

Bird Watching tours - First and third Wednesday of the month

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays

University Work-Study

Starting in the month of May, there will be five students from the Technical University of Northern Guanajuato (UTNG) at El Charco. Two are studying Gastronomy and two are majoring in Tourism at the San Miguel campus, and one is a Business Administration student from the Dolores campus. All are working in different areas of the Botanical Garden, developing their professional skills and implementing projects resulting from collaboration with El Charco staff. This program contributes to the education of young people, who in turn effectively contribute their work and energy to the Garden.

Rita, Joel, Mar, Ana and Carmen.



In December 2009 El Charco began 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 more classes in July:

Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I
Saturday July 24th - Friday July 30th, 9 am – noon
Instructor: Constance Sayas 

Botanical Landscapes in Watercolor
Monday July 26th – Friday July 30th, 1 – 4 pm
Instructor: Karla Beatty

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. These classes are appropriate for all levels, from beginner to professional artist, photographer, etc.

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. 

ilustracion Karla Beatty


Garden Lecture Series: VIA ORGANICA
Bóveda de Usos Múltiples | Friday June 18 | 10 am | $100 pesos, members $70 pesos

For this month we have invited our friends from Via Organica, a Mexican nonprofit organization whose mission is the promotion of healthy eating and lifestyle, organic agriculture, fair trade, and protection of the planet. Ana Maria Quispe, dietician and long-time environmentalist, will speak about the extensive work of Via Organica, whose activities in San Miguel de Allende have begun to expand and have notable results.

via organica


First Nopal Festival at the Charco del Ingenio a Success

The First Nopal Festival took place in the Botanical Garden last Saturday May 22 with high attendance and participation of numerous regional producers. Claudio Mayer, representative of the Municipal Council and Helio Bastién, director of the department of Environment and Ecology, formally inaugurated the Festival. The directors of El Charco, César Arias and Mario Hernández explained to the pubic the importance of these succulent plants, and led a guided tour of the Opuntia (Nopal) Garden, a new area in the Charco del Ingenio created in collaboration with the UNAM Institute of Biology. The new garden is dedicated to the numerous and varied species of nopal in Mexico, a plant of enormous economic, historic and nutritional importance – as well as symbolic importance, as it forms part of our national coat of arms.

Numerous micro-businesses and nonprofit organizations of the region exhibited and sold their products to the public, which flowed through the Botanical Garden throughout the whole day. Local and out-of-town visitors discovered the surprising possibilities of nopal, as well as tasted original and delicious dishes, sweets and drinks prepared from this prodigious native plant.

During the Festival there were two lectures given: the first by Fidel Mejía, organic farmer from Valle de Teotihuacan in the state of Mexico, specialist in agro-ecosystems and organic agriculture consultant: “Agro-ecological production of Nopal and Tuna.” The second lecture was given by Ana María Quispe, dietician at Via Organica, “Her majesty Nopal, healer of many infirmities.” The ambiance of the event was enhanced by pre-Hispanic music and by a women’s “son jarocho” (Veracruz music) group, which shared with the public a delightful song about the nopal as food, medicine and national emblem.

festival de nopal


Visit by CASA staff to the Botanical Garden

El Centro de Adolescentes de San Miguel de Allende (CASA) is an organization admired not only on the local level but also throughout the country. After 30 years of independent work, its achievements are multiple and its impact in the community unquestionable, especially with regard to issues so neglected by the government such as sexual education, reproductive health and community development among the youngest members of our society. With the idea of approaching CASA in order to plan joint activities with this exemplary organization, we invited a group of about 25 social workers to make a tour of El Charco during the month of May, guided by the director, Mario Hernandez. Ideas and common interests flourished, of course, and soon we will announce our organizations’ joint activities.

visita de CASA


Literacy for Adults
in El Charco

In addition to our commitment to conservation, research and environmental education, the Botanical Garden, since its inception, has always carried out activities for the community. We cannot imagine functioning outside of the social context in which we live, with special attention to the sectors of society that lack what is essential. For this reason, the Garden plans to initiate soon literacy courses for adults as well as primary and secondary certification for adults from neighboring communities.

In future editions of this newsletter we will inform you about advances in this new program.



expo medio ambiente  

Art Exhibit
Bóveda | June 5 | 11 am – 3 pm

To celebrate World Environment Day, an exhibit of paintings by a group of boys and girls, students of artist and teacher Liliana Zuppini, will be inaugurated on Saturday June 5.

The works exhibited are drawings made in the nature reserve of El Charco and other natural settings.


Temazcal for Children: A magical and unforgettable learning experience that will brighten your smile!
Saturday June 12 | from 11 am – 2:30 pm | for children 6 - 10 years old | Cost: $150 | Led by Dayana Paz |
Bring: loose clothing, bandana, bathing suit, towel, sandals and a smile

Starting this month El Charco will organize a traditional Temazcalli herbal sweatlodge especially for children. The purpose is to plant in the children a seed of enjoyment and the habit of temazcal, which provides many benefits to the body, mind and spirit … all in a fun and enjoyable way through exercises, sacred games and the Temazcalli ceremony.

The objectives are to stimulate creativity, liberate expression of feelings, develop self-confidence and concentration, cultivate healthy habits, strengthen family unity, and promote respect and love for nature.

temazcal niños


Traditional Temazcal for Adults
For the new moon, Sunday June 13 | 11 am | led by Dayana Paz
For the full moon, Saturday June 26 | 11 am | led by Alina Monterrubio
Fee $250 pesos | Space limited

This sweat-lodge steam bath, of ritual and healing character, takes place under the direction of an experienced temazcal leader in the ruins of the hacienda located in the Botanical Garden on the far side of the reservoir.

The combination of heat, humidity and fragrant herbs provides a purifying experience for the body and spirit. Its benefits are multiple: it activates circulation, increases the body’s defenses, eliminates pains, decreases uric acid, relaxes the muscles, regulates the nervous system, stimulates respiration and is excellent for losing weight.

RESERVATION NECESSARY: : | Tel:154.8838, 154.4715, o in the Botanical Garden visitor’s center.



Yoga for Children in El Charco!
Every Monday | 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm | $60 pesos per class or package of 4 classes for $200 pesos | Taught by Alma Estrada

yoga niños  

We are pleased to announce that starting June 7, every Monday will be a fun day in El Charco thanks to new yoga classes for children taught by Alma Estrada. Alma is a yoga teacher certified by Namasté Yoga & Pilates por Sheri Cherokee (Alpha-Omega Yoga, with headquarters in Dallas, Texas), valid for registration with the Yoga Alliance, and also certified by Rainbow Kids Yoga.

Yoga is a fun way for children to develop important abilities in a positive, non-competitive environment. Opinions are not given in a yoga class regarding how a child takes a posture or carries out a game. To take a “perfect” posture is not the goal of yoga, which supports the child’s inner strength and self-acceptance.
This development-oriented atmosphere motivates the children to relax and have fun while they develop not only strength, coordination, flexibility and balance, but also body consciousness, better attention and self-confidence. Yoga is a holistic practice, with focus on the interior as well as the exterior. But the most important is that in addition, it is fun!



Visit the El Charco store and cafeteria

Don’t miss the chance to get a copy of the great book about the biodiversity of El Charco, Wild and Wonderful, Nature up close El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden for a special price of $250 pesos. Texts in English by Walter L. Meagher and photos by Wayne Colony. W&W Publishing, San Miguel de Allende, 2008.

Wild and Wonderful


We also invite you to acquire a plant from the El Charco collection, which can be found next to the cafeteria.



Guided Tours in El Charco
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 am | en English
Duration: two hours | Cost: $80 pesos, members $50

During this hot season, don’t forget to bring a good hat and be ready for a visit to the Conservatory of Mexican Plants, the Charco del Ingenio, the wetlands, the canyon, the archeological ruins and more.

guided tours


Bird-watching Tours
Every first and third Wednesday of the month, 9 am – 11 am.
Guide: Signe Hammer

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).



Full Moon Ceremony
Saturday June 26 | 8 pm | Plaza of the 4 Winds | Admission $30 pesos, members no charge

We invite everyone to this open celebration which, for the past several years, has taken place at the end of each lunar cycle in the Plaza of the Four Winds of the Botanical Garden, under the always-inspired direction of Alicia Mayo. It is worth coming a little early to watch the coincidence of the setting of the sun among the mountains on the horizon, and the rising of the moon. We recommend that you come with a jacket and bring a musical instrument.

lluna llena More information from Alicia Mayo, tel 152.03.76




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