Life Lab

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

Category : Garden Tips & Resources

Whole Class Garden Caretaker Activities

As part of a University of California Global Food Initiative project that we collaborated on with UC Davis and UC Berkeley, we created the the following activity guides for undergraduates to lead local school children in garden caretaking. These UCSC students are part o [...]

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Make a Weather Station

Incorporating climate science into a classroom or garden is a fun and enriching way to heighten students’ awareness of the natural world around them. Weather stations are compact and versatile and are an excellent tool for teaching children about weather patterns and [...]

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Independent Stations – Caretaking and Observations

A garden classroom is wonderful space for children to "take ownership" of a corner of their school. Here are examples and resources for independent stations that contribute to garden caretaking and/or engage students in the scientific practice of observation. Many of [...]

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Webinar: Innovative Ways to Fund Your School Garden

View the archived webinar at EdWeb Growing School Gardens Community www.edweb.net/schoolgardens. Life Lab curates the following resources at the Collective School Garden Network: Finding Funds for School Gardens at www.csgn.org/funding-school [...]

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Summer Vacation for Your School Garden

Summer Vacation for Your Garden- Adapted from The Life Lab Garden Times, Spring 2003. Here are some ideas to keep your garden maintained during the summer so that your fall garden will be full of treats to harvest instead of weeds. Garden Guardia [...]

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Outdoor Classroom Management Webinar

View Life Lab and EdWeb's Growing School Garden Community webinar on Outdoor Classroom Management View the archived webinar here! View all our webinars. View Life Lab's resources on effective outdoor classroom management [...]

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Steps to a Successful Garden Workday

-by John Fisher Life Lab's Director of Partnerships and Programs This post is part of our Sustaining School Gardens Series   Over the years I have led many garden workdays at the Life Lab Garden Classroom and school gardens across California [...]

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1,700+ Educators Trained in California School Garden Training Program

The California School Garden Training Program (CSGT) trained 1,729 educators from 2012- June, 2014. It includes workshops on Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden (CSYSG) and Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education (GENE). CSGT also conducts Train-the-Trainer Works [...]

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Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

What a great example of repurposing, but do they work? I have researched a bit and asked school gardeners that use these greenhouses if they do work. They can with the right design.     The following sites are the b [...]

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How Do Schools Compost?

A senior intern at Life Lab, Savannah Rugg, created a composting in schools survey (still open!) to better understand how composting functions in schools and school-districts. The survey asks questions regarding types of composting, compost materials, compost manageme [...]

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Common Core in the Garden

Here at Life Lab, we have cross-mapped every lesson in The Growing Classroom with the new Common Core Math and Language Arts standards and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) being rolled out in schools across the country! We&# [...]

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Saving Water in the Garden

The newest sign in our Garden Sign collection is designed by National Geographic Scientific Illustrator Jose Miguel Mayo and demonstrates tips and tools for saving water.  View all our Garden Sign Designs. T [...]

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Fall 2013 Newsletter

View our September 2013 Newsletter View newsletter archives Program Updates Meet Faith - Support our Work  Summer Accomplishments Announcing the National School Garden Network The Top Ten of Farm- and Garden-Based Education Garden Tips and Educator Re [...]

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Detergent Bottle Watering Can

Watering is an activity that kids can do by themselves, with little or no instruction. Having kids water their garden instills a care taking ethic. Kids love to water and having a watering can for every kid makes it even more fun! By collecting the right types of bot [...]

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Spring 2013 Newsletter

View The May 2013 Garden Times - Life Lab's Newsletter Program Updates What We Have Been Up To Since Our Last Newsletter Meet our Senior Program Associate - Amber Turpin and her baby Hazel Update on the California School Garden Training Program California FoodC [...]

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School Garden Design Webinar

Life Lab's John Fisher led a photo filled webinar on School Garden Design as part of EdWeb's Growing School Gardens Community. Design Ideas for a Fun, Successful Instructional School Garden Webinar shares school garden design elements from school [...]

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December 2012 Life Lab Newsletter

  You don't want to miss our December 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Educator Resources Planting Fruits Trees and Vines in School Gardens Sustaining School Gardens - Funding Garden Coordinators Book Review: Our School Garden! Recipe: H [...]

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100 Plus Years of Garden-Based Learning

​Check out the Chard those kids are holding!! And we thought that our 35 plus years of school garden work at Life Lab was a long time. Browse through these school garden publications from a 100+ years ago! There are some great illustratio [...]

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Summer 2012 Newsletter

  You don't want to miss our Summer 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Educator Resources Seed Saving Resources and Video Growing Questions - Inquiry in the Garden Teaching at a Farmer's Market Recipes: Zucchini Baba Ganoush and More [...]

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Seed Saving Resources

  Educator Resources for Teaching About Seeds A Handful of Seeds: Seed-Saving and Seed Study for Educators - free download with practical information on seed saving in the school garden and seed history and lore. Fedco Seeds [...]

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Growing Questions – Inquiry in the Garden

When kids explore Life Lab's Garden Classroom, questions naturally bubble to the surface. Giant drops of water on kohlrabi leaves, gophers peering out of their holes, and hummingbirds drinking from flower vases seem to ignite their curiosity. We find students' [...]

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Spring 2012 Newsletter

  View Newsletter View Archives     Garden Tips and Recipe Make a Human Sundial Edible Crop Planning Recipe - Kale Salad Program Updates The Book of Garden Projects for Kids Update on the California School Garden Training Program In the Community S [...]

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Make A Human Sundial

The human sundial in our garden never fails to fascinate children and adults alike. To use it a person stands on the appropriate month marked on the ground and their shadow is cast on a numbered marker that tells the time. A human sundial or analemmatic sundial dif [...]

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2012 ~ Family Gardening Book

Order Now View front and back cover [...]

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2012 Winter Newsletter

You don't want to miss our Winter 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Lessons Lesson - Six Seed Trail Mix Making Garden Signs - Tips and Photos Lesson Packet - Feeling Fine With Fresh Foods Recipe - Winter Squash Teacakes  Program Up [...]

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Planning Annual Vegetable Crops

What are Annual Plants? Annuals plants go from a planted seed to producing a seed within a year. They complete their whole lifecycle in one year or season. Annual plants make up most of our vegetable crops, and many of them can be harvested within 2 to 3 mont [...]

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Making Garden Signs

In the Life Lab Garden Classroom, we consider a good sign to be one that you don't have to repair year after year ... unless, of course, you want sign making to be a project for your students year after year.  If making signs year after year, or& [...]

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“Help! I’m the New Garden Parent” – Online Lessons and Resources for Garden Educators

Recently, my friend who has become the "garden parent" for her son's school lamented to me, "I know how to garden, but what am I going to do with 10 kindergarteners in the garden?" There is a world of difference between gardening in your yard and [...]

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Worm Composting Resources and Video

We like our red worms that compost for us at the Garden Classroom. Here are some resources for you to learn and teach about red worms. Life Lab's Ultimate School Composting Website   The Worm Guide: Vermicomposting Guide for Teachers [...]

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400 Interns and Counting – Working with Interns at The Garden Classroom

Tips for running an internship program Life Lab Internships Long ago, before the time of higher education, SAT’s and grueling college applications, we would instead dedicate ourselves to a mentor. Apprenticeships took the place of school, giving us a career path g [...]

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How Do You Say “Rake” In Spanish? – Spanish Language Garden Resources

Over the years we have been asked, "Do you have any garden-based education resources in Spanish?" Here's a nice collection of resources for teaching and working in school and community gardens with Spanish speakers:   For Ga [...]

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Farm and Garden Educator Resource Round-up

Farm and Garden Educator Resources that were shared during the "On the farm and in the garden educators" bus tour. 2011 Eco-Farm Bus Tour visited Cesar Chavez Middle School in Watsonville, De LaVeaga School in Santa Cruz, The Life Lab Garden Classro [...]

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Reuse and Repurpose in the Garden

Save money, save your landfill, and teach conservation by reusing materials in your garden. Next time you're off to buy something at the garden center first look around to see what else you have that might do the trick. Check out these resources for creat [...]

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Chicken Coop Design

Many folks have asked us for our chicken coop design. Here it is as a four page PDF(1.4mb). This coop is: easy to clean with its side access door crafty with its viewing windows and hinged roof option secure with a nest box an [...]

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Edible Crop Planning

If you haven't already it is time to start planting for your school harvest.. Planting for a school time harvest takes a bit more planning so that you time your harvests while school is still in session. Generally there are a few harvest windows [...]

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Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden

The Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden (CSYSG) Video Series is a part of the CSYSG Training Model. This workshop has been given to over a thousand educators in California and it includes the California School Garden Network's book Gardens for Learning, parti [...]

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Worm Composting

Learn to compost with worms. Video goes over selecting a container, starting a worm bin, caring and troubleshooting.Worm Composting Basics http://www.compostsantacruzcounty.org/Home_Composting/Worm_Composting/index.htmThe Worm Guide: Vermicomposting Guide for Teachers h [...]

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Summer Vacation for Your Garden

Summer Vacation for Your Garden- Taken from The Life Lab Garden Times, Spring 2003. Also view Summer in the School Garden a 40 page guide for summer garden care from www.growing-gardens.org and confluencecenter.org Here are some ideas to keep you [...]

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Managing an Effective Outdoor Classroom

Life Lab's Effective Outdoor Management Handout (Two page PDF or view text below.) More resources on effective outdoor management: Observe School Garden Lessons taught by veteran garden instructors View our Easy "B [...]

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Sustaining Your School Garden

Sustaining Your School Garden - Taken from The Life Lab Garden Times, Spring 2002 Most people connected to schools realize that change is a given. Administrators, staff, teachers, parents and students eventually move on. This can be a challenge for maintaining and s [...]

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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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7 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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3 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