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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

January 2011 - Volume VI, No. 01

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.

WORKSHOP: Organic management of nopal, prickly pear and xoconostle - January 16, 17, 18

Festival de Maguey - January 23


TREES FOR THE PLANET - ANNUAL FUNDRAISER auction - February 27, 2011

Traditional Temazcal - Saturday and Sunday, January 22 and January 23

Full Moon Ceremony - Wednesday, January 19

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays

Bird Watching tours - first and third Wednesday of the month



Sychronicity came into play for this conservation, environmental and cultural project which forms part of the life, heritage and appearance of San Miguel de Allende.  From the beginning this has been an independent, inclusive and community project.  The first years were dedicated to rescuing the site and consolidating the territory as a conservation area.  This was also the time of gathering our vast collection of Mexican succulents as well as studying the regional and local flora.  Then came the time of working towards the goal of ensuring economic autonomy which has been achieved through El Charco’s own efforts and with the generous support of many people who recognize the importance of this space. What we now know as El Charco del Ingenio has been a labor of love of many people who since the beginning and throughout its 20 years have helped it flourish in a variety of ways.  Directors, curators, students, designers, gardeners, artists, construction workers and watchmen, local communities, administrators, educators, and many volunteers….looking back, there has been a true multitude of creators of this magnificent space which crowns our city, to whom we will always be most grateful.

20 aniversario



2011 CHARCO CALENDER | Artists For El Charco

The new year is here and it’s a special one for El Charco since it’s our 20th anniversary. What better occasion  to have a calendar that has been illustrated with beautiful art by talented artists, some of international stature, who appreciate our beautiful site and help others to do so as well through their pictures.

You can help support our conservation project by purchasing the 2011 Charco calendar which is available in our gift shop, Border Crossing (Reloj and Mesones), Tierra Madre (Correo and Sollano), Tecolote bookstore on Jesus, A La Deriva (Correo and also Aurora), Tinta y Papel (Salida Celaya). 

charco calendar


Organic management of nopal, prickly pear and xoconostle
| with Fidel Mejia
January 16, 17, 18 | 9 am – 6 pm

Fidel Mejia is an agronomist and expert in Agro-ecosystems. He has 25 years experience
cultivating nopal and agricultural production. During the last 12 years he has been a producer, promoter, and consultant in organic agriculture.  He has participated in more than 40 events training people in organic agriculture in classes, workshops, conventions, seminars, etc. in various states of Mexico and has represented this country throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

This 3 day course is for producers, technicians, agronomists, biologists, geologists and the public in general.  Themes to be covered include: history and morphology of nopal and cacti, organic agriculture in arid zones, plant nutrition in organic nopal and prickly pear, theory of the trofobiosis applied to these plants, geological evolution and mineral ecoevolution, relationship between land-plant-insect-climate, symbiotic relationships, ecological management of land, agroecological management of organic production, organic fertilizer, compost, reproduction of microorganisms, mineral soup and plant extracts, use and application of nopal, insects and illnesses and how to prevent and cure, natural biological control, organic certification. The cost for the three days is $500 pesos per person.

For more information or to register:; 154 4715

Taller Nopal


January 23 |  11 am – 5 pm |  $20pesos

The magueys or agaves that form part of the Mexican landscape especially in arid and semiarid zones, have for centuries had an important economic and cultural role in this country.  They are a source of food, drink, medicine, fuel, shelter, decoration, fiber extraction (ixle), fertilizer, construction material and more.  We invite you to celebrate the maguey and learn more about its by-products such as honey water, pulque, BBQ in the maguey leaf, maguey honey and much more.  The Festival will include a photography exhibit, documentaries and live music.  Please join us!

festival de Maguey



We will be offering three classes this year in conjunction with the Denver Botanic Gardens which may be used towards a certificate in botanical illustration, or just for fun.  The classes are for all levels, from beginners to professionals.  Each class has a limit of 14 students so it’s best to register quickly.

The first class is Succulents: Texture and Form in colored pencil with Libby Kyer.  It is from February 7-11, 10a.m.-1p.m. in El Charco.

In July we will have Nature Illuminated: Ink and Mixed Media with Renee Jorgensen and next December there will be Bright and Bold in colored pencil with Susan Rubin.

To register for the February class and for more information, email  Don’t miss out.

botanical illustration


Sunday, February 27, 2011  |  12 – 3 pm

This coming year, the Botanical Garden's 20th anniversary, our annual fundraising event will have a special meaning since we will dedicate it to these wonderful life forms that have inhabited Planet Earth for thousands of years: TREES.  The United Nations has designated 2011 as the International Year of Forests to give attention at a global level to their importance in our lives and to their endangered status.

We invite artists, designers and architects in San Miguel to participate in this event by creating something with the theme of trees which will be part of a silent or live auction.  A surprise category this year is wearable art inspired by our local natural environment. There will be live music, food and drink.

Let your imagination take flight and sign up to design either a piece of wearable art or artwork based on trees and forests.  Please let us know as soon as possible if you will be joining us in this creative, exciting and annual adventure. Email to sign up or if you have questions.

annual fundraiser



WILD FLOWERS OF SAN MIGUEL | New edition now available

In 2006 this excellent field guide was self-published by its author, Richard Cretcher, a professional photographer who resides in our City and is a strong supporter of the Botanical Garden.  The guide includes a large number of local flowering species, many of which exist in El Charco. While it follows a scientific rigor, the presentation is simple, including beautiful photos taken by Richard himself over many years of observation and is of pocket guide size. The first edition completely sold out and this second edition was prepared collaboratively between Richard and the Botanical Garden to whom the author has ceded all rights as a generous donation on his part. Starting in January, the book will be available at our gift shop and other bookstores in San Miguel. 
Many thanks, Richard, for this magnificent gift to El Charco and the public.

Wildflowers Book



We would like to thank each of you who have responded to our letter so far and just remind everyone that there is no deadline. This is an ongoing campaign during our 20th anniversary year.  We appreciate our members and friends and are grateful for your support of El Charco.



Wednesday, January 19 | 6p.m. |
Plaza of 4 Winds | members free, 30pesos general public

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


Saturday, January 22 |  10a.m.
Sunday, January 23 | 10a.m.
Cost $250 pesos | Limited space

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, or in the Botanical Garden visitor’s center



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

This is a wonderful time of year to observe the migratory birds which visit the Botanical Garden each year as they start to feel the cool weather up north.  You, too, can enjoy the sunny paths and pleasant, energizing walks.

Guided Tours


Every first and third Wednesday of the month, 9 am – 11:30 a.m.
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. Your guide will meet you after you pass through the Reception area of the Botanical Garden.

bird walks



Have you discovered the handmade soaps, “D’Rancho” produced in the nearby community of Los Galvanes?  They are made of honey, almonds, milk, flax, jasmine, mandarins, avocados, etc.  People in this community also make a cream (Cardon) that is ideal to relieve muscle pain, and their cinnamon cream for bites or itching or try the ant get (hormiga) for arthritis. You can find a variety of natural products in the store which also support small scale, local producers.




agave  garambullo  pajaros  nopales  bisnaga

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