Life Lab

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

Santa Cruz County Open School Gardens Day

Saturday, October 12th,2019

Free Admission

Connect with the vibrant school garden culture of Santa Cruz County! The greater community is invited to visit area school gardens for tours and special events.

Photo Album of some of the garden sites.


RSVP to let us know you what gardens you are interested in visiting.

View times and descriptions by clicking on the map icons. Expand the “Event Info & Parking” of map legend for a list view.

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Participating Gardens

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8am – 11am – Delaveaga Elementary, Santa Cruz – Please stop by our garden. There will be refreshments and garden games to play. If you’d like to lend a hand,  we have some garden beds that can use some weeding. Thank you. 

9am – 12pm – Live Oak Elementary, Live Oak – Our garden will be open from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Come by and visit our new greenhouse, tour the garden, and enjoy refreshments.

9am – 12pm – Gault Elementary, Santa Cruz – Our garden will be open for tours and a work party  from 9:00 am to 12 pm. We will be painting signs, building a new worm bin, sprucing up the native plant bed, and general garden maintenance.  Come join in on the fun!

9:30am – 12pm –  Hall District Elementary, Las Lomas – We will be hosting a garden tour with student ambassadors.  Learn about our garden’s rebirth and maybe get your hands dirty. Small treats will be available.  Bring your own beverage cup.  

10am – 12pm – Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary, Santa Cruz – Come visit Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary from 10 am- 12 pm. We will be making seed balls with native seeds. Bring your own mug for fresh mint sun-tea!

10am – 12pm – Westlake Elementary, Santa Cruz – The garden will be open for visitors to drop by and tour from 10-12

10am – 2pm – Branciforte Middle School, Santa Cruz – We will be stringing sunflower heads up to feed the birds and flavoring lemon water with garden herbs.

11am – 4pm – Del Mar Elementary, Live Oak – Our garden will be open for visitors to participate in a community work day from 11am – 4pm.

CANCELED due to construction project 11am – 4pm – Gateway, Santa Cruz –  Out in the garden, we will have tours of our new site, led by Gateway students; seeds and pollinator plant starts propagated by our students to give away to visitors; and light refreshments throughout the day. Indoors, we will also be showing a 3-minute video about our Life Lab Science program at Gateway School.

11am – 1pm – Amesti Elementary, Watsonville – Tasty snacks and a beautiful garden to play, learn, and explore

11am – 2pm – Vine Hill Elementary, Scotts Valley – We welcome visitors to drop in and your our classroom garden, between 11:00- 2:00pm.  We will have some fresh squeezed lemonade to sample!  

1pm – 3pm – Brook Knoll Elementary, Scotts Valley – Our garden will be open for visitors to drop by and tour from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm.

12pm – 5pm – Pacific Elementary, Davenport – Visit our garden, tour our orchard and kitchen herb garden. Help at our workday. We will be painting garden signs.

1pm – 3pm – Green Acres Elementary, Live Oak – Our school garden will be focusing on weeding and turning some beds over for new fall crops. There is general landscaping to do too, if there is interest. I hope to provide some light refreshments as well. Hope to see you there!

1pm – 4pm – Main Street Elementary, Soquel – Our garden will be open for visitors to drop by and tour from 1 to 4 p.m. We will be making clay flower balls to take home.

Did you know that many of the school gardens in Santa Cruz County were started through Life Lab’s work in the 1980s and 90s.
Today we support local school gardens through our Santa Cruz County Garden-Education Network and our Life Lab Partner Schools Program. Additionally we run day camps and local school field trips.
Educators across the nation are supported through our Professional Development and Publications.

Sponsored by:

Whole Foods Logo

RSVP to let us know you what gardens you are interested in visiting,

Santa Cruz County Open School Gardens

Visit the vibrant school gardens of Santa Cruz County

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2 days ago

Alecia Green

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

As we all navigate the dynamics of distance learning education, Life Lab would like to offer support.

Check out our website for resources outlining the potential for outdoor learning spaces to provide "extra “classroom” space; allow for social distancing; and provide strategic and cost-effective tools for improving academic, mental and physical well being. #outdoorlearningspaces #outdooreducation #schoolgardens #lifelab #notallclassroomshavefourwalls #livinglaboratory #socialemotionallearning See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Today’s Thankful Thursday shout out goes to our @pajarovalleyusd Partner Schools: Hall District Elementary, H. A. Hyde Elementary, Starlight Elementary, Amesti Elementary, Ohlone Elementary, Ann Soldo Elementary, & McQuiddy Elementary🌱We look forward to another school year of bringing learning to life through nature based education🌻#schoolgardens #lifelab #thankfulthursday #nature #education See MoreSee Less

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

Change is good and delicious #Blackberry #schoolgardens #outdoorlearning #LifeLab #gardeneducation See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

We are grateful for the continued support from @newleafcmarket Life Lab is honored to have been chosen as a community non-profit benefactor of their Bloom Wellness products that are all organic, non-GMO, & gluten free. Our partnership reflects New Leaf Community Markets’ core values of education, environmental stewardship, and nutrition. #thankyouthursday #schoolgardens #lifelab #newleafcommunitymarket #gardensofgratitude See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

🌱Moment of the Month🌱

Life Lab Summer Camps are always a beautiful and nurturing way to share the interconnections of nature with children. Although our campers could not join us in the Life Lab Garden Classroom this summer, we wanted to make it possible for them to have fun at home! So our camp team assembled Summer Activity Care Packages full of materials, recipes, and advice for 225 children who had already registered for camp. They then carefully and lovingly hand delivered them to each family, occasionally getting to say Hi! from a safe distance, too.

"Thank you so much!! I have tears in my eyes. Thank you for pooling your ideas together for non-screen fun and learning opportunities. We can’t wait to dive in!
With much gratitude,"

We are grateful to each and every camp family for their kindness, generosity, and patience as we all navigated the new realities of this year. As a community, the camp families even donated more than $12,000 of their camp fees towards ensuring that Life Lab will continue cultivating children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education during this challenging time.

While we cannot deliver care packages to everyone in our broader Life Lab community, we hope that our growing website will help families seeking simple, fun, nature based activities and healthy family recipes to enjoy together at home this summer!🌈🐝🌻🌞

#lifelabmomentofthemonth #mylifelab #lifelab #summercamp #summerfun #gardenbasededucation #gardenlife #garden See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Our “Share Your Garden Saturday” video series continues with a sweet share from Emma Christie in the Life Lab garden at Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville🌸#shareyourgaredLL #school gardens PVUSD Food & Nutrition Services #LifeLab AmeriCorps See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

In love with our @reneesgardenseeds flowers❤️thank you Renee for years of support & providing seeds for Life Lab gardens. We appreciate you! #reneesgardenseeds #lifelab #outdooreducation #gardensofgratitude #schoolgardens See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

“Education is a practice of Freedom” #emancipation #juneteenth #americanhistory #blackhistory #teachablemoments See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Happy National Eat Your Veggies Day!😋🥕

To celebrate today we wanted to share some of our impacts this past school year. In our seven PVUSD Partner Elementary Schools, 98% of kindergarten, 1st and 2nd teachers reported that the Fall 2019 NGSS in the Garden programs improved their 1,900 students’ attitudes towards fresh fruits and vegetables, their emotional well-being, and their connection with nature.

Our Kids Cook presentation brought exciting hands-on cooking and healthy eating to more than 1,500 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at these schools, too, in January, February and March. In tastings surveys 72% of the children reported liking or loving the fresh, healthful foods they ate, with 63% said they were trying a new fresh produce item for the first time.

278 second-graders from our partner schools enjoyed hands-on learning in field trips to our Blooming Classroom this school year. 59% reported tasting new healthy food items for the first time in lesson-based tastings, and 70% said they loved or liked what they tasted.

We would also like to remind you to eat a rainbow 🌈🥗

A diverse and colorful diet nourishes a strong and healthy body. All fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. In addition, they contain phytonutrients, which give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors and also play a wide range of roles in keeping our bodies healthy.

Thank you to our partners and sponsors for making this work possible. @sagegardenproject @pvhealth @pajarovalleyusd
@unfi @foodcorps

#eatyourveggies #EatYourVegetablesDay #mylifelab #vegetables See MoreSee Less

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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
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