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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

April 2011 - Volume VI, No. 04

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.

BOOK PRESENTATION: Culinary, Aromatic, Medicinal Plants which help fight cancer -
Saturday, April 23

CLASS: An anti-cancer life - Sunday, April 24

Lecture of the month: GREENING OUR ROOFS - Friday, April 29


Full Moon Ceremony - Sunday, April 17

Traditional Temazcal - Saturday and Sunday, April 16 & 17

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays

Bird Watching tours - first and third Wednesday of the month



spring equinox concert
About 1,300 people attended the concert in the canyon.

spring equinox concert
The music was provided by the Orquesta Silvestre Revueltas from the Conservatory in Celaya and by the quintet, Metales M-5.

spring equinox concert
We recognize the initiative and efforts of the Baroque Music Festival in bringing this exceptional concert to San Miguel

spring equinox concert
On the same day at the exact moment that the sun was at its zenith, the Solar Observatory, a module in the Interactive Garden, was inaugurated with the designer and general public present.

spring equinox concert
We thank the driving force, Guillermo Veytia, and our consultant, Phyllis Pitluga, Astronomer Emeritus of the Chicago Planetarium, for their work on this project




Last March 21, Dr. Javier Caballero, Director General of the Botanical Garden of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) along with Ms. Linda Balcazar, PR and Marketing Director at UNAM, visited El Charco.  The main reason for this visit was to organize the next annual meeting of the Association of Botanical Gardens of Mexico, whose current President is in charge of the UNAM Garden.  This week-long reunion will take place next November in San Miguel de Allende, hosted by El Charco del Ingenio at which dozens of delegates from 60 botanical gardens are expected.

El Charco’s collaboration with UNAM dates back to 1990 when we started acquiring our first collection of plants from the countryside with the assistance of UNAM researchers. Since then we have made great advances in developing our collection of cacti (now the second largest in the country after UNAM's national collection) as well as our conservation and restoration efforts, environmental education programs and integration into the community.  The Botanical Garden at UNAM is a leader in this nation in research and programs. We are honored to be associated with this Garden and we are pleased that our visitors were able to share in our Spring Equinox celebrations this year.

visit by UNAM Botanical Garden directors




The formation of this group took place on March 25th with the presence of almost all the representatives from the City, the Federal Government, El Charco, UNAM, property owners in the zone, environmental NGOs and scientific academics.  The meeting was called by the department of Ecology as required by the City law put in place January 2011.  At the next meeting, the group will be formally recognized at the City Council session.

environmental protection zone




We continue our stories about notable trees in our town whether for their beauty, history or size, true living monuments which form part of our heritage. During March and April, the urban landscape of San Miguel is painted with large spots of purple which overflow between houses and buildings.  These surprising jacarandas shoot their flowering branches into the sky reminding us that Spring has arrived.  Originally from the tropical and subtropical zones of South America, the Jacaranda mimosifolia has extended its range as an ornamental tree into warm and temperate zones throughout the world due to its incendiary purple color.  Its fascination is so great that we tolerate the dense, interminable falling of the leaves on our patios and roofs and the huge shallow roots that lift stones and invade houses.  There are many beautiful jacarandas throughout our City but we have chosen one of the most spectacular located on a patio on Sollano Street.

jacarandaphoto: Ricardo Vidargas


Culinary, Aromatic, Medicinal Plants which help fight cancer,
by the author, Dr. Eva Luz Soriano
Saturday, April 23 | 11 am | Boveda at El Charco | Free

Plants that we eat, use for aroma or in traditional medicine are preventative, alternative and complementary in the fight against cancer. This reference book relates how plants have been and are being used in the prevention and treatment of cancer with a particular emphasis on breast cancer.  The book lists plants being used in various countries as medicine and a section is dedicated to the herbs used by different groups of Mexicans in the treatment of cancer today based on oral tradition which has been preserved. The role of aromatic plants is also discussed. The book will be presented by the author and offered at a special price.

Dr. Eva Luz Soriano Bello worked as Professor/Researcher at the Michoacan University of San Nicolas de Hidalgo since 1982. She graduated from the National School of Biological Sciences of the National Polytech Institute in chemical bacteriology and parasitology and received a Masters degree in cellular biology from CINVESTAV-IPN and a Ph.D in plant biochemistry from the University of Wales.  She is certified as a Mexican herbalist by the University of the State of Mexico.  With 25 years experience teaching and researching, Dr. Soriano has published in national and international scientific journals.  As General Director of Research at U.M.S.N.H. she was in charge of the Scientific Journal of the Institute and founded the ¡Divulga! Journal.  She is also the founder of the Herbal Center Cihuapatli and currently resides in San Miguel.

book presentation

An anti-cancer life by Dr. Eva Luz Soriano
Sunday, April 24 
| 10 am – 2 pm | $150 pesos general public, $120 members | Boveda

This class is for the general public interested in learning about plants we can eat to help fight cancer.

  plants that fight cancer


Friday, April 29  | 11 am | $100 pesos general public, $70 pesos members | Boveda

Would you like to turn your roof top into a natural space and protect endemic plants at the same time? Learn how at this presentation by biologist Carlos Hesselburt who specializes in the conservation and propogation of cacti and succulents.  He will explain the benefits to the environment and native species of this transformation of your rooftop.

rooftop gardens




This month we give a huge thanks to all the volunteers from CASA (Center for Adolescents of San Miguel de Allende, A.C.) who shared the responsibility for security with us during the Spring Equinox activities.

Joseph Smith, old friend of El Charco, has donated a beautiful specimen of the Nolinacea family which is exhibited in the Agave Garden near the Conservatory. Many thanks!!

We thank Mr. Yamin of Productos Zeus who has generously decided to support El Charco by providing biodegradable cleaning products.

We also appreciate the spectacular photos taken by Eileen and Doug Leunig. To see their work, visit:

Leunig photo


FOR CHILDREN’S DAY – Saturday, April 30th

We invite children to get to know our Interactive Garden project. Although parts are still under construction, it’s possible to enjoy certain modules already such as the Look Out with its panoramic telescope, the Serpent Slide, the Amphitheatre and the Solar Observatory which demonstrates the movement of the Earth in space.  We remind you that entrance to El Charco is free for children under 10 years of age.

childrens day





Saturday, April 16 |  7 pm
Sunday, April 17 | 10 am
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.



Sunday, April 17 | 8 pm | Plaza of 4 Winds | Members free, $30 pesos 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


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

Come to El Charco, a community space, ideal for relaxing, walking, appreciating nature in a peaceful environment. At this time of year, you may appreciate how the nopal plants greet Spring with beautiful flowers of various colors.  We recommend wearing a hat during these sunny days.

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.



This month we are featuring two new products: the handmade PIAME books with various designs and our original tables for exterior or interior with folding legs and designs inspired by El Charco. These are made of cement and ceramic by the artist, Gabriel Ramirez.





agave  garambullo  pajaros  nopales  bisnaga

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