Life Lab

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

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View Photos from the 2014 Camp Season

Aahhh, summer….  The season of summer day camp; when Life Lab rings with the sound of children’s laughter, the sun shines down on the heads of kids playing games in the meadow, and every child lifts up a cup of a delicious green garden smoothie and gives thanks to the bees and the chickens.  I think the camp staff says this every single summer, and it is always true, “This summer was the best year yet for summer camp!”  

It’s been a summer of growth, for the garden plants as well as the number of kids served and the amount of volunteer support we received.  This summer we welcomed 120 kids total in our Garden Sprouts Camp for 4-6 year olds, 84 kids in our Wildlands and Watering Cans Camp for 7-10 year olds, and 14 kids in our one week Farm and Wilderness Camp for 11-14 year olds.  We also had a record number of high school youth volunteers and adult community volunteers, in addition to our counselor staff, helping to keep the kids safe, healthy, and having loads of fun.

Every Life Lab camper participates in hands-on exploration of the natural world, harvesting and preparing food from the farm, hiking, garden crafts, music, and storytelling on a daily basis.  Our activities are always fun, but the secret to creating a truly special camp environment, and summer memories that last a lifetime: Give love and appreciation, everyday to those around you, and to the place where those memories are being made.  All staff, volunteers, and campers, give appreciation and support to each other in a way that makes a lasting difference.  As one camp mother said on the last day of camp, “My daughter has opened up and gained more confidence in just the last two weeks than she has all year.”  

Summer is all about letting go of the worries and pressures of the school year and embracing the joy of life and simple things.  You can see it in the way that a group of Wildlands campers can’t wait to be the first on stage during snack time, to act out their farmer interview and the wildlife they saw on the farm; or in the way a group of Garden Sprouts campers proudly march through the garden with their milk-jug “watering cans”, diligently watering every semi-parched plant they find; or in the way the faces of the Farm and Wilderness kids break out into grins as they learn how to knead dough and make bread.  It’s hard to say goodbye to summer, but as one seven year old told me on his last day of camp, “Don’t worry, I’ll be back next year!”

Cara-Alexandra Sundell
Garden Educator and Wildlands and Watering Cans Camp Director

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4 days ago

Life Lab

We have a few spots still open for our 4-6 years old camp T/TH camp. Tell your friends.Calling all 4-6 year olds! We have openings in our T/Th Garden Sprouts Day Camp www.lifelab.org/camp This is a great first day camp experience! See MoreSee Less

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5 days ago

Life Lab

A reminder to vote for Life Lab when you shop at New Leaf (there are paper ballots in the stores) to continue to be an EnviroToken recipient! We have been so grateful for this support from New Leaf Community Markets! Voting closes June 30th, and you can vote EVERY time you go to the store!Help select your store’s Envirotoken partners! For every reusable grocery bag you use at New Leaf, we give you a 10¢ Envirotoken to donate to one of six local nonprofits. Visit your neighborhood store between now and June 30 to cast your vote for which non-profits will receive this year’s donations. Thanks for helping us give back to our local communities! See MoreSee Less

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6 days ago

Life Lab

Happy Monday!

#lifelab #gardeneducation #chickens #chickensofinstagram See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

Thanks to our volunteer carpenter Michael for the beautiful new planters.

Have you visited the life lab garden lately? Come check out what’s new. The garden is open to the public sunrise to sunset daily!

#lifelab #gardeneducation #welovevolunteers See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

We are so grateful to be a current EnviroToken recipient at New Leaf’s Westside location–AND we are on the ballot AGAIN for the next round! Be sure to go into any store location and cast your paper ballot for Life Lab! This support makes a big impact on our ability to grow healthy, inspired children across Santa Cruz County & beyond. Thank you, New Leaf Community Markets!Happy Earth Month! Our Envirotoken program turns 25 this year, and we owe a HUGE thank you to all of our amazing customers for your support over the years. Founded in 1993, together we’ve kept 7 million bags out of landfills and raised over $700,000 for local non-profits! See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

Calling all 4-6 year olds! We have openings in our T/Th Garden Sprouts Day Camp www.lifelab.org/camp This is a great first day camp experience! See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Less than 3 weeks until our Benefit Brunch! Hope you can join us!

Here’s a taste of the kind of inspiration you’ll get at our Brunch. Whitney Cohen, our Education Director, gave this speech at our 2014 Benefit Brunch–totally worth 8 minutes of your time to watch this! Whitney is gearing up to give a brand new speech at our upcoming event–you won’t want to miss it!
youtu.be/hre1kPWel0A

Registration at: www.lifelab.org/brunchLife Lab Education Director eloquently shares why our work matters to 150 guest at our 2014 Benefit Brunch. www.lifelab.org See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

In 2009, a group of teachers from Health, Wellness and Environmental Studies Elementary School in Jonesboro, Arkansas came to Life Lab. A year later, we visited them to lead two workshops for their staff (side note: this was also my first experience with okra, sweet tea, and flying in a biplane flown by Garden Teacher Melinda’s son). Now nine years, 3 courtyard gardens, 1 kitchen, and countless gardening and cooking classes later, Melinda and Sherri are back at Life Lab! What a treat to reconnect and hear about the amazing work they and their team have accomplished in their school! See MoreSee Less

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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.
Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside
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.
Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps
Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.
Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary
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.
Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom