Alice and Mia

I have previously written about nectar guides.  The guides draw nectar-seekers into the flower for their rewards.  As such, I too have been drawn in for a reward by way of two women who have guided me to the Monarch butterfly, Alice Cason and Mia Monroe.

When I worked in the Presidio I first met Mia and her group in an effort to create a Monarch habitat / sanctuary in a eucalyptus grove near Robb Hill Campground.  Who knew I would cross paths with her again at my next stop?

Alice and I met shortly after I started working at Marin Art and Garden Center.  She offered context to the gardens by way of history and a working knowledge of our campus.  She also offered seeds of Asclepius speciosa and Asclepius fascicularis, showy milkweed and narrow leaf milkweed respectively.   I took her up on the offer of seeds.

Over the last 3 years I’ve sought to create  a safe and thriving place for Monarchs.  Using the seeds Alice gave us and the help of students, we have grown and planted enough milkweed to dedicate and area for just milkweed.   It has been very meaningful to work with elementary school students, middle school students and high school students to make what we call Monarch Meadow.  Students have been involved in every step of the process.

Showy Milkweed, Asclepius speciosa

Thus began my interest in the Monarch. Before Alice and Mia guided me to develop a care and passion for the butterfly, I was casually aware.   I have always cared enough to never harm a butterfly and to respect its process from egg to adult. 

But with Mia’s encouragement and knowledge and Alice’s seeds and connections, I have developed a deeper understanding of its fragility and importance.   I had been guided!

Gardener Tom and I just planted out the last of the narrow leaf in early May.  We’ve seen monarchs already, though it seems early for them , it looks promising.   If you’d like to see Monarch Meadow it’s near the Habitat Pond.  Just find Tom or me and we’ll guide you to it.

More to explore

IRS Guidelines for Gifts from Donor Advised Funds to Support MAGC Events

Thank you for your interest in giving to the Marin Art & Garden Center events from your Donor Advised Fund (DAF) or Family Foundation.

We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support!

To ensure your gift follows the current IRS guidelines for DAF/Family Foundation support of an event, we would like to share the below guidelines with you.

  • Raffle tickets, tickets to galas and other special events, auction items, and benefits conferred in connection with a DAF/foundation grant are not permitted.
    • IRS has specifically ruled that fair market value associated with fundraising events cannot be separated, a practice known as “bifurcation.”
      • For example, with Edible Garden, if the price of the ticket is $200 and the FMV fair market value (non-tax-deductible amount) is designated to be $50, the donor must pay from sources other than her DAF/foundation for the full value of the ticket ($200) and not just for the non-tax-deductible amount ($50).
    • We recommend you confer with your financial advisor to confirm if any of these examples of how donors may still use their DAF to support an event would work for you:
      • A donor could sponsor the event, and not attend, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event using DAF/foundation funds and attend by purchasing an individual ticket through non-DAF/foundation funds.
      • A donor could sponsor the event, join the event as a guest of another donor/table guest, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event and host the afforded number of people at their chosen level as long as they pay for the seats at the lowest ticket price ($200 for Edible Garden) outside of their DAF.
        • As an example, a $1,500 sponsor that covers 2 guests, could pay for their sponsorship with $400 from a different source of funds, and then give an additional gift of $1,100 out of their DAF.


Please email Tod Thorpe, Director of Development at to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center