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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

July 2011 - Volume VI, No. 07

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.


XX ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHARCO: Festividad de la Santa Cruz del Charco del Ingenio - 9-10 julio

Summer Day Camp, July 11 - 29


Full Moon Ceremony - Friday, July 15

Traditional Temazcal - Saturday, July 16th, Sunday, July 17th

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays

BIRD-WATCHING TOURS - Every first and third Wednesday of the month


Fiesta Charco del Ingenio

Saturday and Sunday, July 9th and 10th

The celebration this year will be particularly relevant since it’s been 20 years since the first celebration took place during the solar eclipse on July 11, 1991, led by the traditional leaders of the communities of San Miguel.  Since then this popular festival has become a place for uniting the various sectors of  our population, contributing to the continuation of popular culture and providing an intercultural exchange among the participants.

El Charco was not only rescued as a natural area, but also as a ritual space for the indigenous population of San Miguel around the image of the cross which goes back to the wars of the Conquest in the 16th century and the founding of our City.  There is the ceremony of the four winds and a walk to the four Stations of the Cross of the Botanical Garden. The walk ends up in Parque Landeta where the Cross is installed and the day-long fiesta continues with dancing, music and other popular activities. Let’s continue celebrating our 20th anniversary.






Every Saturday from 9 am - noon

The fire that happened a few weeks ago has ignited a spirit of solidarity and work not only among the staff of El Charco in charge of maintaining the reserve but also in a large group of San Miguel residents who have helped in various ways.  Since the beginning of June, there has been intensive group work dedicated to rehabilitating the damaged flora as well as retaining the soil to avoid erosion during this rainy season.  This community effort, which took place daily right after the fire, will continue permanently every Saturday morning as a way of supporting El Charco. Little by little, just as nature does it, we will restore the affected area and recuperate the biodiversity in the north sector of the reserve.  We invite the community to join us for Saturdays in the Charco.  Please bring hats, sunblock, thick garden gloves, water, pails and a desire to help.  The tasks are diverse and the satisfaction great.

restoration work
photo by Amanda Buddhi



To all those who responded to our appeal for help after the fire, whether through financial donations or hands-on assistance, we offer our most heartfelt thanks (we are sorry if we omit any names): 

Martha García, David Martin, Jean Dorr, Jock Ferguson, Holly Yasui, Mary Conaway, Laura & John Wood, Diana Heydlauff, Barbara Flynn, Georgeana Johnson, George Atto, Peter y Gillian Neumier, Roger y Jill Brosnahan, Liam Méndez, Ginger Robbins, Javier Álvarez, Berta Cauduro, Rebecca Peterson, Paulo Stingo, Gabriel Arzola, Annie Coleman, Sibila van Dijk, Jock, Patricia Díaz, Ananda Buddhi, John Dickson, Claudia Rangel, Sergio, Angelina Loera, Cecilia Loera, José Luis Mendoza, Rosario Otero, Jimena Giménez Cacho, Paul Wer, Pedro Allende, Javier Gordillo, Alan Romo, Georgina Ponce, Mark Wirganowicz, Angelina Pol, Jesica Suarez, Eric Ramírez, Ana Sofía Rosas, Rodrigo Ortíz, Diego López, Alejandro González, Alfredo Vargas, Luis Fernando Luna, Octavio Cambron, Arturo Ramírez, Felipe Mendoza, José Luis Galindo, Nicolás Mendoza, Katherine, Rosita Arvigo, Nico Dams, Greg Shiopshire, Carla Xochitl, William Holtby, Lindsey Vickers, Arendo Olvera, Francisco Salgado, Angeles Pantoja, Andrea Tovar, Evelia Nolasco, Regina Ortega, Teresa Gómez, Julian Zavala, Jesús Daniel Zavala, Casilda Barajas, Maribel Medina Díaz, Francisco Centeno, Cesáreo Ramírez, Ernesto Martínez, Diana Heydlanff, Barbara Flynn, Bertha Lilia Velásquez, Diego Adrián Gutiérrez, María Teresa Morales, Hiram Zamora, Uriel Iván Gracia, Osvaldo Ulises García, Cuautli Coyotl, Wendolen Vázquez, Akiko Yazuda, Mónica Hoth, Bruno Hoth y Ana Zayra López.

brush fire
Photo by Jennifer Haas

Before the fire, a request was made for financial assistance to the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semanart) and we are pleased to announce that they have provided us with generous economic support to restore the native flora in the reserve and improve the conditions of our cacti collection of Mexican plants which has resided in the Garden since 1990. 




Construction has begun on the side of the Conservatory of Mexican Plants on buildings dedicated to various scientific studies, either by ourselves or in conjunction with national and international scientific institutions.  This Center was designed by the architect Casilda Barajas, who is also assisting with the work. The buildings, made with local materials (rammed earth, stone, reeds), fit into the landscape and are appropriate for our needs.  There will be an office, herbarium, laboratory, dormitory for researchers, dormitory for the night watchman, and a renovation of the current kitchen and bathroom in that area.  There is no doubt that this Research Center marks a new stage in the development of El Charco since it will allow us to optimize the maintenance of our collection, the propagation of species, and perform studies (taxonomy, biology, ecology, ethnobotany) as well as the biodiversity of our reserve and our region.

avances en propagación


July 11-29
| Monday through Firday from 9 am to 2 pm | Children 6 to 13 years old
Information and enrollment:

As in past years, we are organizing summer activities for boys and girls. Because this is the 20th anniversary of the Botanical Garden, this year the summer day camp will be special, with recreational activities carried out within the framework of environmental education. This will include diverse activities such as observation of insects, birds and trees; separation of trash; workshops for making mojigangas (large paper-maché figures that are worn like gigantic headdresses), masks, puppets, ephemeral and paper art, percussions and pre-Hispanic chants, ceramics, creation of wooden birdhouses, sweat lodge, sensorama and swimming.

Taking into account the economy of San Miguel families, we have reduced the cost of the summer day camp without diminishing its quality and contents. If you would like to sponsor a child, please contact (415) 154 4715. We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Download the program here:

summer day camp



As another way of commerating our 20th anniversary, we have decided to change our website to make navigation easier and fun through a creative and educational design.  You will be able to see these improvements starting this month.

nueva pagina web




The increasing diversity of activities and programs in El Charco has resulted in an increase in the number and type of visitors interested in nature, research, art, recreation and history. Considering the different needs and opportunities, especially as regards the local population, the Botanical Garden will from now on issue Special Passes, which permit multiple entries without committing to the purchase of an annual membership.

Annual membership: due to the increasing needs and improvements in the Botanical Garden, we feel it is time to increase the annual membership by $100 pesos. We feel this increase is fair and not onerous, given the benefits that members receive.

Thus the entrance categories and prices will be as follows:

  • Monthly pass: $180 pesos, which is equivalent to $6 pesos per day to enter the Botanical Garden.
  • Three-month pass: $300 pesos, which is equivalent to $3.3 pesos per day to enter the Botanical Garden
  • Six-month pass: $450 pesos, which is equivalent to $2.5 pesos per day to enter the Botancial Garden.
  • Annual membership: $700 pesos, which is equivalent to $2 pesos per day, plus 2 free admittances for guests and discounts for various activities and events.

We remind you that the passes and memberships are personal and non-transferable. In order to enter the Garden, the visitor should bring his/her pass or membership card.
Note: the single-day entrance fee ($40 pesos) will still be available for occasional visitors.

new passes



 On June 25th we had the opportunity to have an exclusive visit to the Thematic Garden at the Pyramid  of Cañada de la Virgen consisting of native regional plants in a beautiful design.  Our guides were the creators of this project:  Dr. Rosario Terrones, who has studied the regional botany at length, as well as Vittoria Partida and Cristina Gonzalez, who is the coordinator of the site.  We congratulate these professionals so dedicated to the rescue, propagation and conservation of native plants and thank them for sharing their knowledge with us on this trip.

Dr. Rosario Terrones and her associate, Vittoria Partida, have started a project called Arboceta Mexicana S.A., which promotes and produces native Mexican plants.  They offer consulting and training services in various areas such as soil restoration, reforestation,  sustainable gardens, pest control, and landscape design.  They have worked on several successful projects with both public institutions and private companies.  They can produce native trees and shrubs for special orders and can obtain existing species.  Their intent is to support the conservation and sustainability of native Mexican plants which are part of our culture and necessary for a setting that provides a good quality of life.

For more information:




The Pecan Of Tenerias Street

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. We dedicate this issue to a large tree growing in a private garden near Parque Juarez in the center of town.  This pecan (carya illionensis) produces a nut in the Fall which is appreciated as food and for its commercial value.  The tree is originally from the northeast of Mexico and the American Southwest but many varieties have been cultivated and propagated throughout centuries.  Pecans were introduced to San Miguel many years ago and thrive both in the city and the countryside.  Besides their edible fruit, other parts of the plant have medicinal properties and some are used for tinting.   These leafy, deciduous trees can attain 40 meters in height, and can live, producing nuts, for 300 years.  How old is this one on Tenerias, we wonder.

pecan tree
photo Ricardo Vidargas




Friday, June 24th the First Interstate Youth Meeting to Build Green took place at El Charco.  This activity was organized by La Casa del Bosque A.C. (The Forest House) with the sponsorship of the Secretary of Public Education (SEP), the United Nations Program for Development (PNUD), UNESCO and UNICEF.  About 400 young people from 40 high schools in Guanajuato and Queretaro participated in activities related to natural resources and the environment and their commitment to both. 

Construye T



Saturday, July 16th | 10 am
Sunday, July 17th
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, in the Botanical Garden visitor’s center or at Border Crossings.



full moon  

Friday, July 15th | 7:30 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.


Photo 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.  We welcome the beautiful rain which has refreshed El Charco. This is an ideal time of the year to walk the paths of the Garden and see the plants that remind us of nature’s beauty.

photo Patricia Lagarde


Every first and third Wednesday of the month,
9 - 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.





Each purchase in the shop or the café benefits the Botanical Garden which is why we are always looking for new products that are attractive to our visitors and help small producers.  This month we are featuring the delicious marmalade made by Santicilia from a cactus flower.  Now that the weather is cooler, enjoy a café and muffin in the cafeteria.
We thank you in advance for your support.





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