Life Lab

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


Browse our offerings below or jump to the following:

Life Lab Field Trip Guide Internships

Fall Farm to Fork Spring Science Exploration

Lead groups of elementary schoolers on hands-on harvest celebrations on the UCSC farm and Life Lab Garden Classroom.

When: Fall UCSC Quarter, Mon, Tues, Thur, or Fri, 9:00-1:45

More program information

Lead groups of elementary schoolers on hands-on science investigations in the Life Lab Garden Classroom and explorations of the UCSC Farm.



When: Spring UCSC Quarter, Mon, Tues, Thur, or Fri, 9:00-1:45

More program information

 Seeds of Wonder  Feeling Fine with Fresh Foods
Lead groups of pre-schoolers and Kindergarteners in hands-on garden explorations in the Life Lab Garden Classroom.



When: Fall and Spring UCSC Quarter, Wednesdays, 8:30-1:45

More program information

Lead groups 3rd-5th graders in hands-on nutrition investigations in the Life Lab Garden Classroom and on the UCSC Farm.



When: Winter UCSC Quarter,     Tuesdays or Thursdays, 9:00-1:45

More program information

Watsonville Blooming Classroom Field Trips Watsonville School Garden Corps
Lead groups of 3rd-5th graders in hands-on science and nutrition investigations at Life Lab's Blooming Classroom site in Watsonville.



When: Fall, Winter, Spring UCSC Quarter, Tuesdays 1:30-6:00 and/or
Fridays 8:30-1:30

Contact Cara

Create and sustain school garden projects in Watsonville through a practicum placement, garden-corps work/learn day, and personal project.

Learn more at



Field Trip Guide Interns at the Garden Classroom will receive training in garden-based environmental education, working with children, concepts in organic gardening & farming, games, songs, and much more!

2 credits available with 6 internship hours per week, 5 credits available with 12-14 internship hours per week.

For more information contact Amy at 831.459.4035,

See Environmental Studies Department, Community Studies Field Program or Independent Study for more on getting UCSC credit as a Life Lab intern. We also serve interns from other institutions, as well as non-student volunteers.


Summer Internships/Volunteer Opportunities

Interns assist with our garden-based summer camps. Work with our counselors to make camp happen! Assist with teaching camp activities, leading hikes, and behind-the-scenes tasks such as setting up stations and stocking materials. Gain valuable experience in environmental education!


Garden Sprouts Camp (for 4-6 year olds) Come explore the garden and farm with us! Our camp days will include harvesting, making garden snacks, singing, storytelling, garden caretaking, garden crafts, and investigation of the natural world. Each day has a theme (past examples: Bugs, Seeds, Chickens & Eggs).

Wildlands & Watering Cans Camp (for 7-10 year olds) Come explore, harvest, prepare and enjoy fresh food from the farm, hike, create garden crafts, art, and music, play games, and form new friendships! Each day has a theme (past examples: Bug Day, Solar Energy Day, Chickens & Eggs Day) and each day begins with farm chores (Chickens, Fresh Fruit Popsicle-making, Farm Update, and Weather Report) and ends with storytelling under the walnut tree. The last Friday afternoon of each session families join us for a kid- harvested Farmer's Market Party.

Interns receive training in: Garden-based environmental education, working with children in an outdoor setting, positive discipline, games, songs, activities, and much more!

For more information contact Amy at 831.459.4035,

See Environmental Studies DepartmentCommunity Studies Field Program or Independent Study for more on getting UCSC credit as a Life Lab intern. We also serve interns from other institutions, as well as non-student volunteers.


Quotes From Past Interns


"Interning at Life Lab was one of my favorite experiences at UCSC. The kids, the staff and the atmosphere are unparalleled. You don't know how much I regretted finding out about Life Lab during my final year; I would have been there starting freshman year if I had known. You won't find a better place to be anywhere on campus."

"I just wanted to write and express my thanks to all of you. I just applied and was offered the position of Garden Education Manager at Harding Elementary School in Santa Barbara. This position is honestly a dream come true and I know I couldn't have made it here without the knowledge and support I received from all of you. I hope the gardens I help to build and create over the next 2 years bring even a fraction of the wonder and joy that the Life Lab Science Program and garden has brought to it's visiting students and interns.  Thank you! All the best!

– Emma Hodges, 2010

"I just wanted to thank you so much for all the encouragement and wisdom you have passed my way. I did end up getting a job with Playworks, a non profit organization that energizes classroom learning through safe, healthy, and inclusive play out on the recess yard. I'm also running a leadership program with 35 4th & 5th graders and an after school enrichment program with 15 students. I can not tell you how helpful it is to draw back on all my previous experience with kids. Life Lab does such a wonderful job of sustaining an entire quarter's worth of action and reflection. – Rachel Evernden, 2010

"Introducing kids to the many faces of Mother Nature during my Life Lab internship at the UCSC farm made college a holistic experience, grounded on nutrient-rich, compost earth; there is nothing more fufilling than nurturing the bonds between the next generation and permaculture. Kids with a connection to dirt and bugs and our food sources are kids that are going to make a paradigm shift in the modern ecological idiom from a planet in environmental degradation to a happenin' biodiverse party in our bubble."

– Molly McCalla, Anthropology 2002-2005

"Life Lab was a great opportunity for me to close my books for a while, leave the library and get outside to spend interactive time with kids! Life lab helped balance my time at UCSC and gave me the opportunity to witness the growth I was going through by being in college. It was a fun way to continue learning, but it gave me a chance to practice using my skills that I will need post-graduation! Thanks Life Lab!"

– Vanessa Shaw, Community Studies Class of 2006

"Life Lab was one of the most fun things I did in Santa Cruz, I wish I'd known about it earlier. I probably would have tried to be there every quarter!"

– Milli Chennell, History and Environmental Studies Double Major, 2000-2004


The UCSC Farm offers the following Farming, Gardening, and Food System Opportunities

follow us on Facebook

This year's Slow Food Santa Cruz Edible Garden Tour highlights and benefits Watsonville School Gardens! 10 a.m on September 10th

The tour starts at H.A. Hyde Elementary the most impressive production school garden in the county!

Join the tour to explore programs that engage children and teachers in organic gardening, provide fresh nutritious snacks at recess, and share organic vegetable boxes with the families of participating students.

There will be an after-party and silent auction to raise funds for Slow Food Santa Cruz and the Watsonville school gardens starting at 2 p.m. at Elkhorn Slough Brewing!
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

It is our last week of Garden Sprouts and Wildlands and Watering Cans day camps :( But we know the fun, tastes, songs, stories and magic of the outdoors will be waiting for everyone next summer.

Meanwhile we will be sharing nourishment and learning all school year with thousands of school children via field trips and school garden instruction.

Bring learning to life in the garden!
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Great Summer Workshop! A summer visit to Santa Cruz is even better when you attend a Growing Classroom Workshop. Gain some inspiration for your outdoor teaching at our 2-day intensive on garden-based learning. August 2-3 - great food, great people, great location, great garden, great workshop. Early bird registration ends 7/20 ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Thanks @foodwhatfarm for the workday BLAST: deer fence up - check, field weeded and planted - done, signs painted - beautiful, perennials planted - love it! ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Watch us on Youtube

View Life Lab Channel

Rachel Pringle

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 Curry

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 Bricken

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 Neier

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.