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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

July 2010 - Volume V, 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 - Saturday and Sunday July 10 & 11

Summer Day Camp - Monday-Friday, July 12 - 30

Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I - Saturday July 24 - Friday July 30
Ilustración Botánica de Paisaje en Acuarela - Monday July 26 - Firday July 30

Saturday, July 24, Por Alina Monterrubio
Sunday July 25, Por Doña Vicenta de Cruz del Palmar


YOGA for Children - Every Monday

Bird Watching tours - First and third Wednesday of the month

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays


fiesta de la santa cruz

Saturday and Sunday, July 10 & 11

Each year this traditional and colorful festival takes place as close as possible to our anniversary date, July 11th and this year the date actually coincides with the original one. The festival is a time to unite the diverse sectors of the population, rescuing the local traditions and offering a cultural exchange to the participants.

El Charco was rescued not only as a natural area but also as a ritual space for the indigenous communities of San Miguel using the Cross as an image which goes back to the conquest wars of the 16th century and the founding of our City.  In this way, El Charco del Ingenio is a sanctified land for the communities of the Santa Cruz, urban as well as rural, who attend the annual fiesta. During the festival there is the ceremony of the Four Winds as well as a walk to the four cardinal points of the Botanical Garden where the protective shrines are located.  The journey ends in Parque Landeta where the Cross is installed and the fiesta continues throughout the day with various activities including dancing and music, this year provided by Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichu.

fiesta de la santa cruz




Monday - Friday, July 12 al 30

As we do each year, the Botanical Garden will offer a summer camp for children between 6 and 13 years old from the 12th to the 30th of July and will be led by Hermes Arroyo and Jesus Bautista along with other qualified personnel.  Without a doubt, El Charco is an ideal place for children to be during the summer vacation where they can have fun and be sensitized to nature at the same time.  The course will have various activities such as rock climbing, navigation and knots, swimming, music and yoga, among others.

For more information or to register:  154.47.15 |


curso de verano





Dreams are becoming a reality in the interactive Jardin de la Tierra.  The Panoramic Observatory module is almost finished and consists of large rocks which the children can climb up and they can descend via a slide.

jardin de la tierra

The rainwater cistern, which will have a capacity of about 500m3, is also progressing.  The over exploitation of the aquifer by wells has reduced the availability of this vital liquid to the point of being a scarce resource.  The new cistern, funded by Save the Laja Foundation, will allow us to irrigate more of the Garden during the dry season and is vital to the future development of the Garden.






Mario Hernandez, Director of the Botanical Garden, attended the 4th Global Congress about Botanical Gardens, organized by Botanic Garden Conservation International (BGCI), celebrated in Dublin this past June.  The central theme of the Congress was “Addressing Global Change: a new agenda for botanic gardens.”  Botanical Gardens have an important role to play in the rescue and conservation of biological diversity and their collections and knowledge should be used to sensitize people to the value of our natural resources as necessary elements for human existence.

During the Congress, Mario had the opportunity to talk about El Charco’s conservation efforts as well as its environmental education programs, and its role in the community.  He was successful in establishing various contacts with people from other countries with a view to having exchanges and joint projects.

visita a irlanda





Kate and Roger Brudno  

Little by little and over many years, we have managed to put together a library specializing in natural resources and mainly in Mexican plants.  Thankfully, we have had significant donations, especially from the Huntington Gardens (Pasadena, California) and from Dutch Vandervort, resident of San Miguel.

Most importantly has been the tireless effort on the part of Roger and Kate Brudno, retired librarians who live in our City, who have offered their time, experience and enthusiasm to producing an inventory and catalogue of everything in our library.  Now our library is truly available to anyone who would like to consult it, including electronically here




EL CHARCO 20 years ago

In 1990 work started on the botanical garden in El Charco del Ingenio through the initiative of a group of both native and adoptive San Miguelenses who decided to start this ecological, cultural and touristic project in our City.  The pictures show the beginnings of this initiative.  There is the metal structure of the Conservatory of Mexican Plants, designed by Enrique Pliego, architect and landscaper of UNAM, which was turned into reality by Arturo Estrada, ironworker from Valle del Maiz. 

conservatorio exterior

Also, you can see the first collections of plants in the Conservatory and how it looks today, 20 years later. 

conservatorio interior

Another image shows the construction of the Plaza of the Four Winds, a ceremonial and panoramic space, also designed by Enrique Pliego and built by Jorge Estrada, master in construction from Valle del Maiz. 

plaza de 4 vientos

There are also some images of the opening and the first Fiesta of the Santa Cruz during the solar eclipse in 1991 with Dona Soledad Centeno leading the first walk on the grounds of the Botanical Garden.  It’s been a while since then ...

fiesta de la santa cruz

Resulta interesante observar las imágenes de aquellos días. Si usted cuenta con fotos antiguas de El Charco que desee compartir, contáctenos, ya sabe cómo.





The classes will take place during the month of July. For Watercolor I, we already have a waiting list. For the Landscaps in Watercolor course there are still spaces availalbe. We welcome the instructors from the Botanical Garden of Denver, Colorado, who will soon arrive in San Miguel.


Since December 2009 El Charco has been collaborating with the Denver Botanic Garden’s Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate Program and the initial response has been tremen-dous.  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

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

For more information or to register, contact  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. 




El Charco is interested in creating networks with other organizations in our municipality and one that was recently formed is with Via Organica which has been established in San Miguel for a few years.  This organization has been offering expertise and training in the area of cultivating healthy food for oneself.  Their intent is to help improve nutrition and re-establish a contact with nature. El Charco supports this effort.

Via Organica currently has a space in the municipal greenhouse in Parque Landeta offering vegetables and compost and it is open to the public.  Ask about their training and consulting capacities as well. Worth a visit.

via organica







El Charco del Ingenio recognizes that a formal education is essential to obtaining better options in life and it is also a human right recognized in the Mexican legal system.  This opportunity was not available to several of our staff members in the past.  This is why we have joined with the Institute of Literacy and Basic Education for Adults (INAEBA) to offer classes to our staff, neighbors and the general population in the Boveda in the afternoons.  Anyone interested in learning to read or write, or finish their primary or secondary education may come to El Charco. 

For more information concerning hours and required documents contact:




Every Monday | 5 pm – 6 pm | $60 pesos per class or package of 4 classes for $200 pesos | Taught by Alma Estrada

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!


  yoga para niños





Since the month of February, William Lee Grinager and Steven Thomas Kubas, both residents of San Miguel, assisted in caring for the plants in our collection and nursery.  They performed their tasks with seriousness and excellence for which the staff of El Charco thanks them. They provide a good example to follow.





For the full moon, Saturday, July 24th | 6 pm | led by Alina Monterrubio
For the full moon, Sunday, July 25th | 10 am | led by Dona Vincenta of Cruz del Palmar

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, 154.47.15, or in the Botanical Garden visitor’s center.





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.





Monday July 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.

Information: Alicia Mayo, tel 152.03.76

luna llena




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.

Full summer is upon us. Many songbirds have finished nesting and fledged their chicks. The plumage of juvenile birds can be confusing. Juvenile male Vermilion Flycatchers may have blotchy pink and white breasts, or even clear pink. Some juvenile males, which haven't yet molted into adult plumage, can look a bit like adult females. First-year male Scott's Orioles, for example, don't yet have their gorgeous black hoods.

On and around the presa, Black-crowned Night-herons were seen in June, as were Red-winged Blackbirds. Because of the heavy rains in February, the presa never lost water this spring, but the Ruddy Ducks departed for a couple of months anyway. A single male, in breeding plumage, was spotted on June 20--will more return? Last year the matapulga, aquatic plants that ringed the islands and grew more sparsely throughout the presa, enabled Least and Pied-billed Grebes to breed by providing anchors for their floating nests. This year, because of the February flooding, the matapulga has not grown. Least Grebes have not stuck around, and only one or two Pied-billed Grebes have been seen. What a difference a year makes!

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

ruddy duck





After a wonderful walk in El Charco during this hot season, refresh yourself with a delicious juice and something nutritious from our café.


In an effort to support small producers, you will now find in our gift shop hand embroidered covers by Olivia Lopez from Petaca and new jewelry, mostly amber, made by Lida Galindo of Chiapas.  These will go fast.





agave  garambullo  pajaros  nopales  bisnaga

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