Life Lab

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

Our Garden Classroom

In 1998, Life Lab Science Program began dreaming about creating an outdoor learning center where people could experience garden-based education.  After much planning, research and design, construction began in April of 2001. Life Lab along with the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems co-manage the two-acre Garden Classroom. The Garden Classroom which is located on the UCSC CASFS Farm overlooking the Monterey Bay. Come visit!

Life Lab Garden Classroom Map and Scavenger Hunt

Download Garden Classroom Map and Guide

Download Garden Classroom Educational Elements which lists resources and ideas to replicate in your educational garden. View as a text document with live links.

 

Garden Classroom Tri-fold Brochure

Programs in the Garden Classroom
 What You’ll Find in The Garden Classroom
  • The Rot Zone: A compost demonstration area featuring over ten different composting and vermicomposting structures
  • A chicken coop with laying hens view our chicken cam  view our coop design
  • Birds, Bats, Bees, Butterflies and Beyond: A wildlife habitat featuring bird blind, plant tunnel, native plants, nectary, solar powered bird bath, many feeders, bat house bird viewing station, hawk perch, bird houses and herb bed
  • Pollination garden which features annual and perennial plants
  • Observational Bee Hive
  • Tropical/Dry Comparison Beds which feature plants with different adaptations for their environment
  • A mini bog environment which hosts a hoard of carnivorous plants
  • Central Spiral with plant petting zoo that features touchable plants of many textures and scents
  • Tea beds full of harvestable teas and herbs
  • Cut flower bed
  • Native plant meadow
  • Freshwater Pond featuring aquatic plants & waterfall
  • Tool shed and storage area
  • Sculpture, mosaic and other art projects in the garden
  • Weather station
  • Fruiting trees, shrubs, and vines
  • Root view box
  • Pizza bed
  • Track Trail: wildlife footprints tell stories in the concrete pathways
  • Recycled and salvaged materials used throughout demonstrate creative reuse
  • A Human Sundial
  • An Outdoor Garden Kitchen with Cob and Solar Ovens
  • Agricultural History Timeline
  • Vegetable row crop field for growing food crops
  • Benches for picnicking
  • A musical tree
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    It’s a wonderful thing that this kind of classroom was being implemented and being introduced to those students who wanted to learn something in there. It’s a good technique actually that they did for their students.

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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!

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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 abilginsoy@coastal-watershed.org. Learn more at coastal-watershed.org/what-we-do/exploring-san-lorenzo-river-series/.
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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. 

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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

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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.