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.


follow us on Facebook

It takes a village... ... See MoreSee Less

Thanks to the Whole Kids Foundation for the generous grant and to Big Creek Lumber for your donation to the Amesti Eagles' Garden. With the generous support of Life Lab and other community supporters, our students are receiving the gift of hands-on Next Generation Science Standards and learning about healthy eating in a beautiful outdoor classroom!

View on Facebook

Do you ever wonder what is living just below the surface of the San Lorenzo River? Join the Coastal Watershed Council and Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for tomorrow's Exploring the San Lorenzo River tour and find out!

We will be meeting at 8:30 on the Santa Cruz Riverwalk next to Mike Fox park and will be seining for fish and collecting benthic macroinvertebrates aka bugs! We will learn about the organisms that live in the San Lorenzo River and their food webs. This tour is open to all ages. You can sign up online or by emailing CWC River Scientist Alev Bilginsoy at Learn more at
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

At a @soilbornfarms school garden conference, in a workshop on trees reminded me of this incredible Radiolab Podcast podcast. Listen to this one. ... See MoreSee Less

Forests feel like a place of great stillness but dig deeper and there’s a hidden world beneath your feet as busy and complicated as a city. 

View on Facebook

LIFE LAB on MAUI! so AnB stopped sugar production on Maui this year, there is tons of land available to lease and they are now taking offers. If farmers or farm educators won't get to it, it will turn into development, there are not enough offers from farmers and we need more, so please pass this on to those that are interested. To speak to An B need to look them up and make an offer. They are taking offers now! ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Watch us on Youtube

View Life Lab Channel

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.