El Charco–Rebellion and Biocultural Resistance

Mario Hernández

A presentation of The Rotary Club of San Miguel de Allende – Midday

El Charco de Ingenio (The Mill Pond) in San Miguel de Allende has been a focus of concern and controversy from the beginning. In 1989, an initiative by César Arias and Federico Gama bought the land occupied by El Charco and turned it into a natural reserve which was inaugurated during the solar eclipse on July 11, 1991. The present General Director, Mario Hernandez, a stalwart protector of this exquisite landscape, will explain how he and his team have fended off developers, lack of water, pollution, and other difficulties to preserve the fragile acres of Mexican flora and fauna. Instead of “blocky buildings” that might have been there, El Charco is a spectacular reservation dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Mexican flora in danger of extinction. The reserve is centered on a canyon and natural pool that was the center of a number of myths and legends during the pre-Hispanic period. It has a stable wetland area now for the botanic gardens, with areas of the reserve crisscrossed with walking paths. Recent enhancements include a new visitor center, a playground for children, and a museum of natural history. El Charco has expanded its grounds and amassed recognition. Among the most unique is the one granted by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, who declared this a “Peace Zone” during a 2004 visit.