Don joined Life Lab in 2011 as associate director, working on finance, development, planning, and staff and board support. He served as co-director with Gail Harlamoff beginning in January 2012 and assumed the role of executive director in July 2012, when Gail left the staff and joined the board of directors. Previously, Don served as development director for the Organic Farming Research Foundation, the leading national organic farming grantmaking and advocacy organization in the U.S. Prior to a decade with OFRF, Don worked for three seasons as an apprentice and then staff of the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, where Life Lab is located. In the 1990s, Don was a leader in urban agriculture and community food security programs, working in low-income communities across Los Angeles, co-founding the LA Community Garden Council and the LA School Greening Partnership, and co-chairing the Urban Agriculture Committee of the national Community Food Security Coalition. Don earned a BA in Geography/Ecosystems from UCLA and a Master Gardener certificate from the UC Cooperative Extension Los Angeles Common Ground Garden Program. Read more about Don.
John came to Life Lab in 2000 with years of experience as an environmental educator in places such as Hidden Villa and in Honduras as a Peace Corps Volunteer. After a couple of years working at UCSC CASFS as Outreach Coordinator, creating a summer camp program, and expanding fieldtrips John came to Life Lab. With Life Lab he built and maintained the Garden Classroom and developed programming for children and UCSC interns. Currently John is focused on sharing the innovative work of Life Lab through communications, educator professional development, and networking across the state and nation. John attended UC San Diego and has a BA in Biological Anthropology. At home John tends a small flock of hens, a mini orchard, and a cut flower/vegetable garden with his wife and son. Read more about John.
Whitney Cohen is a teacher, trainer, and author with tremendous commitment to, and expertise in, place-based education; student-led inquiry; strategies for engaging a diverse student population; school gardens; and the intersection between environmental education, Common Core and Next Generation academic content standards, and the public school system. As the Education Director at Life Lab, Whitney leads educator workshops nationwide and has written and contributed to various activity guides, including The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids, The Growing Classroom, and The Soil Story Curriculum. Whitney is also a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz where she teaches a course on environmental education. Whitney received her MA in Education from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2002 and her BA in Sustainable Community Development from Vassar College in 1999. Prior to working with Life Lab, Whitney taught Earth, Life, and Physical Science and Introductory Spanish for five years in a low income, public middle school. At this school, Whitney worked with the local community to create a school garden and a watershed adoption project. In addition to classroom teaching, Whitney has worked in environmental education and public health in California, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Read more about Whitney.
Emily Mastellone-Snyder – Associate Director of Development – 831-459-3833 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hailing from a tiny town in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts, Emily grew up exploring forests and playing in the garden. She attended Skidmore College in upstate NY, where she studied Sociology and Environmental Studies. California beckoned, and Emily worked for four years as a teacher naturalist at outdoor environmental education programs along the Central Coast. Emily also directed a bilingual teen center in Davenport, CA. When not teaching, Emily is drawn to the earth and she has worked on several organic farms. In 2009, she received a certificate in Ecological Horticulture through the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Emily loves incorporating music into her teaching and is fluent in Spanish. She enjoys backpacking, hiking, riding her bike, growing and cooking good food, and practicing yoga. She excitedly joined the Life Lab team in 2012 as the Garden Educator, running our Wildlands and Watering Cans Summer Camp, as well as a variety of field trips throughout the school-year. Read more about Emily.
Liz came to Life Lab in December 2017 to work as development associate. She has a BA in Literature from UCSC. Over the last 20 years she has explored a variety of administrative work. She gradually found herself fundraising for schools and leading finance departments for farmers and lovers of good food and drink. All paths in her life lead to a love of children, nature, food and farming. In her free time you can find her sailing in the Monterey Bay.
Amber Turpin was fortunate enough to grow up in a garden. Since then, she has dedicated most of her efforts towards the good food movement, promoting access to ethical, delicious, and pure food for all. From freelance food writing, working as Office Manager for Slow Food Nation, starting an artisan cookie company, or pulling weeds on her small farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Amber lends a diverse passion for all things food to her work at Life Lab. Read more about Amber
We wanted to say thank you to everyone who made our Spring Benefit Brunch such a special event. Without your generous support Life Lab could not continue doing this very important work. We hope that you all had as much fun as we did.🌱
If you could not make it to the brunch but would like to know more information on how you can make a contribution to our impactful work click this link ****. 🐝
A very special thank you to @EllasattheAirport for all the delicious food we enjoyed🍽️, @whalecitybakery for the amazing pastries😋, and @coffeevillesantacruz for the gourmets coffee☕. . . . . #mylifelab #lifelab #lifelabscience #gardenbasedlearning #gardening #santacruz #Watsonville #ellasattheairport #wahlecitybakery #community … See MoreSee Less
Help us grow healthy children and reduce your carbon footprint. 🌿
EVERY time you visit ANY New Leaf Community Market (@NewLeafCMarket) from now until May 27th, find the PAPER BALLOT in the store & VOTE FOR LIFE LAB to be a recipient of the Envirotoken program. 10 cents from every reusable bag can be donated to us.
This support has provided a wonderful boost for us over the years–thanks for your votes! ✅ … See MoreSee Less
We are thrilled to announce that the Governor of Wisconsin will proclaim Thursday, May 23, 2019 to be the very first Wisconsin School Garden Day!
On May 23, school and youth garden programs throughout Wisconsin will participate in garden-related lessons and activities, and share about their garden with fellow educators and garden enthusiasts on social media.
While this day recognizes the people and garden programs that are making garden-based education a reality for Wisconsin youth, it is a demonstration of the support garden-based education is receiving within and beyond the educational community. We hope that the recognition that garden-based education is receiving in Wisconsin can help to set a precedent for official recognition of school garden days in other states.
Cultivating Childhood Health through Gardening at Schools, Childcare Centers and Afterschool Sites. A project of Community GroundWorks, with funding provided by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Wisconsin Partnership Program.
Wow, this is incredible! In a recent study, researchers found that students remained focused twice as long on a 40-minute lesson taught indoors if it followed a 40-minute lesson taught outdoor.
“Lessons taught in nature allow students to simultaneously learn classroom curriculum while rejuvenating their capacity for learning, or to ‘refuel in flight,’” writes lead researcher Dr. Frances (Ming) Kuo.
Teachers were able to teach twice as long without interruption after a lesson taught outdoors A growing body of research indicates there are numerous benefits to increasing the amount of time school children spend outdoors. It improves their academic scores, mental health and physical health. Follow…
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.