Our Mission & About Us

Mariposa means butterfly in Spanish.  It is a place to change, to grow and learn.  What started in 1971 as a private alternative school has evolved into a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the enrichment and education of people of all ages by providing a unique opportunity to be in the natural world, to relax, to learn, and to reflect.

7124632_origLocal flora and fauna include native wildflowers, oak and fir woodlands, black tail deer, wild turkeys, ravens, turkey vultures, redtail and other hawks, California quail, raccoons, mountain lion, red fox and sometimes bear. There are seasonal creeks, hiking trails, a meadow, an abandoned orchard, and a waterfall in the winter.

On the north side of the creek are the school buildings and restrooms. These include a large classroom, an art room, a kitchen and dining room, a bunkhouse, a barn, a yurt and a garden. On the south side are 10 small cabins which are private residences. There is also a small labyrinth maze which was built by students in Ukiah.

Birds, bees and butterflies are at work spreading pollen and seeds; a perpetual planting program. Squirrel, deer, quail and wild turkeys help to distribute seeds. They raise their families here year after year and feel like family to us too.


The Mariposa Institute holds land and its associated facilities to nurture and support educational programs that will promote a humane, equitable, sustainable and regenerative human culture that can coexist on this earth in harmony with all life. The facilities and land should be made available for use to local and regional programs that aim to promote this mission. 

*We offer a sliding scale rate to support groups and individuals with low income and/or have historically limited access to open space and gathering sites. Please contact us for inquiries and more information.


  1. Leave the area as clean or better than you found it.
  2. Take water with you to the meadow and on all hikes.
  3. Avoid all neighboring buildings and the pathways leading to them.
  4. Please gather uneaten or unwanted food stuffs, return to the kitchen area and place in compost containers.
  5. Place all trash in receptacles and recycling in those labeled containers.
  6. There may be quiet hours, contact us about the needs of your event
  7. This is a smoke free, alcohol and recreational drug free space
  8. In the summer, fires are prohibited.

Enjoy yourself!

IN CAUTION: As with all California coastal woodlands, we have our share of poison oak, ticks, yellow jackets and other wasps, and an occasional rattlesnake. Bears and mountain lions have been spotted so be aware of your surroundings in this beautiful place.
For more information see the notice posted on the bulletin board by the dining room.

* There are first aid supplies available in a cupboard above the kitchen sink. Also in the kitchen is a telephone for emergencies.