Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Asphalt to Ecosystems – Greening Your Schoolyard

Sharon Danks, author of Asphalt to Ecosystems – Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformations, shares a vision of creating outdoor learning spaces as places of beauty and inspiration for natural interactions. From her travels around the world documenting stellar examples of schoolyard greening and her experience as an Environmental Planner, Sharon provide ideas and resources for anyone interested in creating change on a school campus or outdoor community space. Her book highlights ecological teaching tools such as energy, water, and garden systems. Additionally she outlines how to plan for schoolyard transformation and includes hundreds of photos of "green" schoolyard design. Her emphasis on demonstrating ways to encourage outdoor play make this book useful for parents as well.

On September 16-18, 2011 Sharon and her colleagues will be hosting the 2011 International Green Schoolyards Conference, "Engaging Our Grounds" in San Francisco. Life Lab will be there – maybe we will see you there?

Sharon has an extensive list of organizations from around the world that support the creation of green schoolyards on her website. She mentioned the following as good sites to start exploring green schoolyards:

Evergreen (a nonprofit organization in Canada) has a great resource list for schools and school gardens including grades K-10 lessons for outdoor classroom exploration.

Learning through Landscapes based in the UK, Sharon mentions they have great publications.

Earthplay Network specializes in early childhood landscapes for preschools and community built nature play spaces.

Boston Schoolyard Initiative a great example of program that has reclaimed more than 130 acres of schoolyard asphalt.

Green Schools Initiative an extensive resource that focuses a bit more on policy and facilities than outdoor learning.

 

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Doron Comerchero, founder and director of FoodWhat?!, will interview Chadwick Garden manager Orin Martin tonight (Wednesday, July 12) on the FoodSpeaks show, 7-7:45 pm on KZSC, 88.1. Call with your comments and questions at 831-459-4036. Streaming: www.kzsc.org/listen/

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Having a great time in Portland, OR. Life Lab's John Fisher is presenting at the International Master Gardens Conference and the AHS National Children & Youth Gardening Symposium. Sharing and learning with 1,500+ garden educators.
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30 educators from across the country shared the power of garden-based learning. Mindfulness in the garden, transplanting with kids, bed prep, and bringing learning to life in the garden were just a few of the topics covered over the two days. Our next workshop is on Outdoor Classroom and Garden Program Management July 27th. ... See MoreSee Less

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Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside

Life Lab has been the most innovative and relevant organization in this field. From providing the best curriculum to their cutting edge professional development, we have relied on Life Lab as our go to organization for support, ideas, and collaboration.

Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps

Life Lab provides truly inspiring training. Their breadth of experience, joy for teaching, and commitment to sharing knowledge highlight the best practices in food and garden education.

Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary

Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.

Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom

Terry had another awesome two weeks at Life Lab. I think he learns more there than in any other part of his year. School is great, but he’s passionate (and often dogmatic) about what he learns there.