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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

May 2011 - Volume VI, No. 05

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.





Temazcal for WOMEN ONLY: Saturday, May 14 | 6 pm
Traditional Temazcal:
Sunday, May 15 | 4 pm

Full Moon Ceremony - Tuesday, May 17

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays

Bird Watching tours - first and third Wednesday of the month



We welcome Urani Caririllo Huerta to the El Charco family. With her experience and personality, Urani will help us advance in scientific knowledge, management of the large biodiversity that exists in our natural reserve.

Urani, who name means “open flower” in the Purepecha language of Michoacan), graduated from the Michoacan University of San Nicolas de Hidalgo. She has experience with environmental education projects in all different school levels as well as knowledge of communications. She has collaborated in various scientific projects with the Ecosystems Research Center of UNAM, Morelia.  Urani is also completely bilingual, which will strengthen communication with local sectors of society and with the international scientific community.  In addition to her professional experience, Urani enjoys cultural outlets as well such as theater regional music, which makes her a perfect fit for the Botanical Garden’s cultural and community work.  Welcome Urani!!

Urani Carrillo




May 22 is the International Day of Biodiversity which celebrates the variety of forms of life and their interaction which is necessary for the preservation of the function and structure of ecosystems.  Mexico is one of the countries with the largest biodiversity in the world due to its extensive variety of plant and animal species and its high number of endemic species.

El Charco’s ecosystem has three habitats, which over the last 20 years of protection have incrementally grown in wildlife, both plants and animals.  These habitats are the grasslands with its shrubs, nopals and trees; the wetland with its reservoir where reeds, willows and tules; and the canyon which has a wide range of spontaneously growing plants, from cacti to aquatic plants, including a diversity of succulents, and tropical forest trees. 

Each habitat has its distinct conditions for flora and its interaction with fauna, all of which  make up the wonderful reserve which is the natural heritage for everyone in San Miguel.





Walter Meager homage

On Saturday, April 30th, there was a small, intimate ceremony in the Botanical Garden to remember our dear friend, researcher and generous supporter, Walter L. Meagher who passed away July 2010.  The knowledge he brought to the reserve was fundamental in so many ways.  Walter did the first studies of the flora in El Charco which were published in 1994 and updated in 2006. As well, he wrote the magnificent book dedicated to the biodiversity of the reserve, “Wild and Wonderful, Nature Up Close in the Botanical Garden El Charco del Ingenio, San Miguel de Allende” which combines his text with the beautiful photos of Wayne Colony. The ceremony for Walter united his family – wife, Wendy and son, Freddie – with the staff of the Garden and some close friends.  His books, photographs and personal objects were displayed as we affectionately remembered this scientist, teacher, supporter and friend. We will always remember Walter.

walter meagher homage

walter meagher homage




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. How many times as we have passed by the Atascadero Hotel have we admired this irregular form with its branches and leaves projected against the sky, with its wide trunks on each side of the road?  We have watched them grow over the years to their current size, these admirable examples of Yucca filifera, a native species to our region, which is found in the semi-arid zones of Mexico and belongs to the Agave family.  It is called palma, palma pita or just yucca.  Its white flowers, profuse in Spring, are still eaten in traditional stews.  In rural areas, these yuccas are planted as living corrals.  More recently yuccas have been incorporated into the landscape on highways and strees, offering the traveler its capricious forms resembling the human body on the horizon.





We now have new brochures for our visitors to assist them in their visit to the Garden with interesting graphics and more useful information. We have also changed the look and content of the menu in our cafeteria which offers more tasty and healthy options for our visitors.

new brochure

Download: brochure-map & menu


Sunday, May 15 | 10 am  - 6 pm| $200 pesos, $180 pesos members | Dayana Paz  | Spanish

For Mother’s Day we invite all the women to this workshop who want to grow and develop their own consciousness of a new generation of women.

Activities include an initiation ceremony, lunar and menstrual cycles, ceremonial use of plants, healthy exercise, songs and dance, closing ceremony of thanks. 

Please bring a notebook, a loose long skirt, yoga mat, musical instruments and flowers.

For more information or to enroll:



Saturday, May 21| 10 am – 3 pm | Boveda of the Botanical Garden | In Spanish

Awakening the Dreamer, a symposium first dreamt up in the Amazon Rainforest, is now an international event.  This symposium grew out of The Pachamama Alliance, an unlikely group of North Americans and a group of Achuar, the indigenous people of the rainforests of Ecuador.  The symposium is now in over 50 countries.  It is designed to inspire the participants to respond to humanities' crisis.  This crisis is the Earth's crisis.

Awakening the Dreamer  Workshopwas presented here in San Miguel in April.  From this a small group of inspired people are meeting to discuss how best to transform inspiration into work in a sustainable community.  One result is to present the symposium to interested young Mexicans.  A group of facilitators from Queretaro will come to SMA to present the event; in Spanish it is called Cambiando el Sueño. If you would like to sponsor a young (or even an "older") person, we are looking for bright, curious, eager and empathetic learners! Sponsorship is by donation, with proceeds to be given to El Charco del Ingenio.  The workshop will be held on Saturday, May 21, from 10:00a.m. to 3:00 pm at El Charco, Jardin Botanico. 18 years and older; space is limited, reservations required.

For registration: Georgeann Johnson, 152-6902 (English); or Angeles Agreda P., 154-7589, information in Spanish.


Monday - Friday, July 25 - 29, 2011 | 10 am - 1 pm
Nature Iluminated: Ink and Mixed Media
Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

El Charco is bursting with blooms and butterflies. Combine drawings and design in the traditional illumination technique. Learn the basics of pen and ink and add color to create a stunning stylized work that illustrates nature.

Renee Jorgensen is a technical illustrator with background in fine art disciplines that include calligraphy and modern illumination. She has been teaching at the Denver Botanic Gardens since 2005. She exhibits locally and internationally. Renee teaches Graphite, Illumination, Calligraphy and Watercolor Pencil.

To reserve a place or for more information:

botanical illustration


Temazcal for WOMEN ONLY: Saturday, May 14 | 6 pm
Traditional Temazcal: Sunday, May 15 | 4 pm
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 or Border Crossings.



Tuesday, May 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 ceremony
photo by Nico Dams


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

The Botanical Garden and Nature Reserve of El Charco del Ingenio is home to a large botanical collection and a whole biodiversity of flora and fauna of this region.  It is definitely worth a visit to this community space, ideal for photography, exercise, spending time with the family or just appreciating nature and the magnificent sunsets.  We recommend wearing a hat during these sunny days.

guided tours
photo by MariJo Ruiz


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.





In this hot weather you will appreciate our salads, vegetarian wraps, and quesadillas of hibiscus!  In the store you will find new earrings made of nopal and hand woven ones. Come see our new Tshirts with designs by Rocio Rios. Remember, each purchase in the shop or the café benefits the Botanical Garden. We thank you in advance for your support.




agave  garambullo  pajaros  nopales  bisnaga

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