1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA, 95064
Our office is located at our Garden Classroom Site
Media inquiries should be directed to John Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-471-7831 (mobile)
Don Burgett – Executive Director – 831-459-3833 – email@example.com
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.
Judit Camacho – Co-Executive Director – 831-459-3833 – Judit@lifelab.org
I am thrilled to be part of Life Lab’s extraordinary team and 40-year mission.
My experience with nonprofits extends over 20 years. I served two terms as the Executive Director for SACNAS- Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americas in Science whose mission is to diversify science nationwide. In between these times, I was invited to work at the National Institutes of Health to develop research programs for underrepresented communities. And most recently, I supported nonprofits in Mexico, Colombia and the US with strategic planning and fund development.
I hold an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of California Santa Cruz, graduate coursework in Public Health from Johns Hopkins and a master degree in Ontological Coaching from the Universidad San Sebastian in Santiago, Chile.
I look forward to deepening Life Lab’s roots in Santa Cruz County while cultivating a stronger network across the country. It will be a pleasure to meet each of you to expand the limits of education through the wonder of the garden classroom.
John Fisher – Director of Programs and Partnerships – 831-471-7831 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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 – Education Director & Teacher Training – 831-459-2001 – email@example.com
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.
Sara Severance- Educator Training Specialist – 831-459-5395 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara comes to Life Lab after working as a public school science teacher, science instructional coach and science education researcher for the past 14 years. Sara brings expertise in implementing and facilitating NGSS-aligned lessons for diverse learners in the classroom and other informal spaces and strongly believes in making science accessible to everyone. Her passion for children and the outdoors started as a child attending summer camp on a lake in northern Michigan and led her to a teaching career in Denver, Colorado where she worked with a variety of students using educational programs such as Expeditionary Learning, Amplify Science, and the International Baccalaureate program. More recently, she led professional development for science and engineering teachers while also conducting formalized research in her classroom related to the implementation of NGSS-aligned curriculum and best practices in science education. Sara received her MA in curriculum and instruction in secondary science from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her BS in biology from the University of Michigan. Sara enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 children, reading, and playing ultimate frisbee and volleyball.
Emily Mastellone-Snyder – Associate Director of Development – 831-459-3833 – email@example.com
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.
Nikki Patterson – Associate Director of Development – 831-459-3833 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikki joined the Life Lab development team Fall of 2019 just in time to celebrate our 40th Anniversary Gala. Nikki is from Washington state native. She received an Intl Studies degree from the University of South Florida. Her past experiences working in education, the food and wine industry, and community advocacy bring insight and a deep network to Life Lab. Nikki loves to travel, nature, gardening, food, bringing people together, and being a mother of 2.
Manny Romero – Communications & Impact Specialist – email@example.com
Hello! I am the newest member of the Life Lab team. I graduated from CalPoly Pomona with a B.F.A in Visual Communications with a minor in marketing. I am excited to share the amazing work that Life Lab does in the greater Santa Cruz County and the national impact we have.
Amber Turpin – Senior Administrative Associate – 831-459-4074 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Amy was born and raised in Livermore California and enjoys living in Santa Cruz with her husband and 7 month old daughter, Sierra. Amy is a middle school teacher by trade, but has enjoyed her time with the Life Lab crew since 2018, specifically helping to coordinate logistics for workshops/SGSO and interacting with all of the sweet campers, field trippers, and workshop attendees who come to the garden. In her spare time you can find Amy running, surfing, mountain biking, or most likely taking Sierra for a walk to show her the trees, bushes, and flowers!
Hi! I’m Daniela and I am excited to join the Life Lab team as a bilingual garden educator! After graduating in Psychology in Mexico City I worked on several environmental projects on my way to discovering garden-based education. It was in the garden I realized the potential for natural settings to inspire children to love and take care of the natural world and themselves. I have worked as a garden educator in different schools in Mexico and have managed garden education programs and the garden itself. I’m always excited to learn about and practice organic agriculture and permaculture with friends. I enjoy watching sunsets, gazing at the night sky and observing new bugs and plants while on a hike.
DT Taylor – Watsonville School Garden Educator – DT@lifelab.org
Hey! I’m DT, the new Life Lab garden educator and FoodCorps service member. I graduated from UCSC in 2016 with an Art Degree focusing in Printmaking and Sculpture. In my spare time I enjoy walking to the beach and drawing in the sand, as well as making paper from vegetables. It has been wonderful teaching summer camps for Life Lab the past four years. I am excited to be a channel for more young learners to explore new activities, concepts, and flavors! I teach NGSS classes for TK/K, 1st, and 2nd in the Fall & Spring as well as Kids Cook for 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the Winter!
Emma Christie – Watsonville School Garden Educator – email@example.com
Hi everyone! My name is Emma Christie and I am the new Life Lab Garden Educator for this school year! I graduated this past spring from UCSC where I studied Environmental Studies. I worked with Life Lab in the Blooming Classroom in Watsonville last year and hope to see some familiar faces in the garden this year! In my spare time I enjoy hiking and going to the beach. I teach NGSS classes for TK/K, 1st, and 2nd in the Fall & Spring as well as Kids Cook for 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the Winter. Looking forward to a great year!