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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

August 2010 - Volume V, No. 8

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.



LEARN ABOUT PLANTS, Workshops with Dr. Rosa Arvigo, Saturday, August 21

BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATION, September 27 – October 1, 2010

Temazcal for children - Saturday August 28, led by Dayana Paz
Temazcal for adults - Sunday August 29, led by Dayana Paz

FULL MOON CEREMONY - Tuesday August 24

YOGA for Children - Every Monday

Bird Watching tours - First and third Wednesday of the month

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays




It was one morning in 1993 when the Botanical Garden was still just a dream looking to be realized, that a visitor appeared who passed hours observing the plants, even the smallest and least significant ones.  We soon learned more about this bright smiling man, his solid path as botanist and naturalist, and his wonderful human qualities all of which left a fundamental imprint on the conservation project, El Charco del Ingenio, and on its guardians.

From the beginning Walter could see the environmental significance of the site.  Thanks to his fruitful relationships with well-known researchers throughout the world, as well as his own fieldwork, we now have a deep understanding of the plants and wildlife in the reserve. To Walter we owe the first studies of the flora of El Charco published in 1994 and 2006, as well as a magnificent book dedicated to the biodiversity of the site: “Wild and Wonderful, Nature up Close in the Botanical Garden, El Charco del Ingenio, San Miguel de Allende”, which combines Walter’s text and Wayne Colony’s beautiful photographs.

We remember Walter and send our heartfelt thoughts to his wife, Wendy, and his family and friends who have said farewell to this extraordinary man in England and who has left such a void in our lives but also has inspired us.

  walter meagher

Walter Meagher



Sunday, August 8 | 10 am | Free

Since 2004, the year in which the XVI Dalai Lama declared El Charco del Ingenio a peace zone, along with 5 other sites in Mexico, the ceremonial visit of the Tibetan monks to the Botanical Garden has continued without interruption.  These ceremonies are open to everyone regardless of religion or beliefs – only a peaceful, loving attitude is required.  This year a lamas group will conduct an ecumenical ceremony in the Plaze of Four Winds and the Boveda dedicated to nature and our natural reserve.

zona de paz


BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATION | September 27 – October 1, 2010


We just finished two more classes at El Charco in conjunction with the Denver Botanic Gardens and the response was very enthusiastic.  Since we began this collaboration last November, the classes have become very popular and I suggest signing up right away. We did have a waiting list for the July classes.

The next two classes are Composing Compelling Artwork and Flower Portraits in Pencil and Color, both to be taught by Marjorie Leggitt in the Fall.  

In the first class you will learn to place your botanical subjects to best advantage using the principles of proportion, direction, and flow.  In the second, you learn to draft the blossom in proper perspective, then select a live specimen and work step-by-step from line studies through value mapping and color analysis.

For more information, contact Marlene Parra,  – but don’t wait!


Sunflower by Marjorie Leggit

ilustacion botanica

Landscape class given in July by Karla Beatty


LEARN ABOUT PLANTS | Workshops with Dr. Rosa Arvigo – August 21

With a vast knowledge of herbs due to over 20 years of research in the field and labs, Dr. Arvigo is a recognized authority on healing with medicinal plants, especially as applied in the Mayan culture, and has taught these techniques in the United States and Europe for over 10 years.

  • “Meet the Plants” | Saturday, 21st  | 10 - 11:30 am | Boveda

We invite participants to bring their favorite medicinal plant and share its properties with the audience. Maximum time per participant is 10 minutes. This will be an enriching experience.

  • “Applied Herbalism”  | Saturday 21st |  12 - 1:30 pm | Boveda

Preparation/ Demonstration of various products using medicinal plants such as cosmetic lotions, anti-itching cream,  powder for cuts and more.

  • “Plants are our Friends”  | Saturday 21st | 2:30 – 4 pm | Boveda

Dr. Arvigo will explain which plants we can use against illnesses such as diabetes, gastritis, headaches, etc.

Dra. Rosita Arvigo



We would like to inform our members that as of August 1st, the dog park is available for your use.  As we have explained, it is an ample and confined area, for the use of El Charco members only and whose entrance is through the gate in Balcones.  In the next issue of the newsletter we will publish the rules for using the park. We invite everyone to share their comments and suggestions with the staff of El Charco.

dog park



This year, which is the celebration of 19 years of El Charco, the well attended Festival took place on July 10 and 11th.  Thousands of people from both the rural and urban zones of our municipality saw the dances and traditional ceremonies in the Botanical Garden and Parque Landeta, and enjoyed the huapango music and poetry of the well-known group Guillermo Velázquez y los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú.  Many participants said it was the best fiesta in the history of El Charco, especially for its respectful and diverse community spirit from beginning to end.  A special mention is merited to the staff of El Charco for their coordination and organization that made this such a special event – a prelude to 2011 which will mark the celebration of El Charco’s 20th anniversary.

Fiesta de la Santa Cruz

Fiesta de la Santa Cruz



About 45 children enjoyed the activities offered by the well trained instructors who know how to use the natural spaces and installations available in the Botanical Garden.  Each year this program gets better and better and we hope to be able to offer it each summer for many years to come.

summer camp



Once again this past month CASA promoters visited the Charco with members of various communities in which they participate and spread their wonderful work of organizing, educating and gaining consciousness on important issues at a national level.




In July we were pleased to have an old friend visit the Garden – Fitz Maurice, a well known American cactologist who has been living for many years in San Luis Potosi.  We remember the enormous support that Fitz and his wife, Betsy, gave us during the first years of the project when his friend, Charles Glass, one of the founders of the Garden, put together the national botanical collection that today distinguishes El Charco.  We will never forget his participation in this effort and friendship.  On this visit, Fitz was accompanied by Anton Hoffer, a Swiss cactologist and student of Mexican succulents, who shared his knowledge with us on the management of our collection.  Fitz was happily surprised to recognize in the greenhouse labels with his handwriting more than 20 years later when the first expeditions were organized to gather the samples which now make up our collection. We hope to have many more visits from this dear friend.


from left to right: Anton Hoffer, Fitz Maurice , Matrita Granados, César Airas, Mario Hernández.


charco del ingenio  


Tuesdays and Thursdays
at 10 am | in English

Duration: two hours | Cost: $80 pesos, members $50

The rains have come and El Charco is green!  You are cordially invited to have a refreshing walk to enjoy the changing colors in the Garden.  This is the time when the nopals are full of prickly pears of many colors. Visit the Conservatory of Mexican Plants, the canyon, the wetlands, archeological vestiges and much more.



photo: Hector Guevara



guided tours


Every first and third Wednesday of the month, 9 am – 11 am. 

Cost: $100 pesos general public | $60 pesos Audubon or El Charco members
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.

Many species of fledgling songbirds made their debuts at El Charco in July, including Blue Grosbeak, Barn Swallow and Vermilion Flycatcher. In August, look for fledgling Cactus Wrens as well as juvenile birds of
many species. Singing Black-chinned Sparrows in late July suggested that there may be fledglings as late as August.

On the presa, matapulga, the pink-flowered plants that, in their aquatic state, provide anchorage for coot and grebe nests, have been resurgent only on land. As a result, no coot or grebe nests have been observed. In late July, only a single American Coot and Pied-billed Grebe were seen, while only a handful of Ruddy Ducks were hanging out.

In August 2009, we had a rare, brief sighting of Black Terns in winter plumage, the first harbinger of fall migration. Keep your eyes peeled!

Note of Correction: the photographs published in the July Bulletin were of Cinnamon Teal, a winter visitor, not of Ruddy Ducks, which in breeding plumage have light-blue bills, white cheek patches, ruddy flanks and perky tails.

pyrocephalus rubens


A magical and unforgettable experience that will put a smile on their faces

Saturday August 28 | 10 am-2 pm | 6-10 years old |$ 150 pesos | led by Dayana Paz

Loose clothing, bandana, swimsuit, towel, sandals and a smile

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 for kids


For the full moon, Sunday August 29 | 10 am | led by Dayana Paz
 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.

temazcal for adults


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

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!




Tuesday August 24 | 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.

More information: Alicia Mayo: 152.0376

full moon ceremony




Purchases in the store and at the café are a way of supporting El Charco.  We invite those interested in small, local producers to get to know the Eco jewelry of Angelina Loera who makes earrings from dried nopal.  We also suggest you try the exquisite salsas of xonocostle – without preservatives, made by Xoxoc. Thank you for your support!





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