Life Lab

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

Fall Opportunities    Winter Opportunities    Spring Opportunities    Summer Opportunities 

Yearround Organic Gardening Internships at the Garden Classroom on the UCSC Farm – Just want to get your hands dirty and learn about organic gardening? email Jennifer at garden@lifelab.org

Come celebrate the harvest, make a difference at a local school, enjoy the outdoors with kids, and get school credit!
Multiple programs available: combine teaching with gardening, take on a special project!

All our interns receive training in garden-based environmental education, working with children, concepts in organic gardening & farming, games, songs, and much more!

2 UCSC credits available with 6 internship hours per week, 5 UCSC credits available with 12-14 internship hours per week. Credit can be earned through other institutions as well. Learn more about earning credit.

 

Spring Opportunities

Science Exploration at the Life Lab Garden Classroom on the UCSC Farm

Lead groups of elementary schoolers on hands-on science investigations in the Life Lab Garden Classroom and explorations of the UCSC Farm.
When: Spring UCSC Quarter, Mon or Tues, 9:00-1:45
More program information  Contact Amy at amy@lifelab.org or 831.459.4035

Seeds of Wonder Field Trips

Lead groups of pre-schoolers and Kindergarteners in hands-on garden explorations in the Life Lab Garden Classroom on the UCSC Farm on Wednesday from 8:30-1:45.
More program information  Contact Cara at cara@lifelab.org or 831.459.4035

Blooming Classroom Field Trips in Watsonville – transportation provided from the UCSC Farm

Lead groups of 3rd-5th graders in hands-on science and nutrition investigations at Life Lab’s Blooming Classroom site in Watsonville on Tuesdays from 1:00-6:00 and/or Thursdays or Fridays from 8:30-2:00.
More program information  Contact Cara at cara@lifelab.org or 831.459.4035

Garden Crew – transportation provided

Wednesdays 8:30am – 2pm. Get your hands in the dirt at our Garden Classroom site on the UCSC Farm and at school gardens in Watsonville! (Transportation provided from the UCSC Farm on Watsonville days)
Grow your gardening skills, learn the basics of garden design and elements of a child-friendly garden, and work with kids in school gardens. Learn more and apply at www.lifelab.org/school-garden-crew/

 

Summer Internships/Volunteer Opportunities

Interns assist with our garden-based summer camps. Work with our counselors to make camp happen! Assist with teaching camp activities, leading hikes, and behind-the-scenes tasks such as setting up stations and stocking materials. Gain valuable experience in environmental education!

Garden Sprouts Camp (for 4-6 year olds) Come explore the garden and farm with us! Our camp days will include harvesting, making garden snacks, singing, storytelling, garden caretaking, garden crafts, and investigation of the natural world. Each day has a theme (past examples: Bugs, Seeds, Chickens & Eggs).

Wildlands & Watering Cans Camp (for 7-11 year olds) Come explore, harvest, prepare and enjoy fresh food from the farm, hike, create garden crafts, art, and music, play games, and form new friendships! Each day has a theme (past examples: Bug Day, Solar Energy Day, Chickens & Eggs Day) and each day begins with farm chores (Chickens, Fresh Fruit Popsicle-making, Farm Update, and Weather Report) and ends with storytelling under the walnut tree. The last Friday afternoon of each session families join us for a kid- harvested Farmer’s Market Party.

Interns receive training in: Garden-based environmental education, working with children in an outdoor setting, positive discipline, games, songs, activities, and much more!

For more information contact Amy at 831.459.4035, amy@lifelab.org.

 

Fall Opportunities

Farm to Fork Field Trips at the Life Lab Garden Classroom on the UCSC Farm

Lead groups of elementary schoolers on hands-on harvest celebrations on the UCSC farm and Life Lab Garden Classroom.
When: Fall UCSC Quarter, Mon or Tues, 9:00-1:45
More program information  Contact Amy at amy@lifelab.org or 831.459.4035

Seeds of Wonder Field Trips

Lead groups of pre-schoolers and Kindergarteners in hands-on garden explorations in the Life Lab Garden Classroom on the UCSC Farm on Wednesday from 8:30-1:45.
More program information  Contact Cara at cara@lifelab.org or 831.459.4035

Blooming Classroom Field Trips in Watsonville – Carpooling can be arranged; transportation provided from the UCSC Farm

Lead groups of 3rd-5th graders in hands-on science and nutrition investigations at Life Lab’s Blooming Classroom site in Watsonville on Tuesdays from 1:00-6:00 and/or Thursdays or Fridays from 8:30-2:00.
More program information  Contact Cara at cara@lifelab.org or 831.459.4035

Garden Crew – transportation provided

Wednesdays 9am – 2pm. Get your hands in the dirt at our Garden Classroom site on the UCSC Farm and at school gardens in Watsonville! (Transportation provided from the UCSC Farm on Watsonville days)
Grow your gardening skills, learn the basics of garden design and elements of a child-friendly garden, and work with kids in school gardens. Learn more and apply at www.lifelab.org/school-garden-crew/

 

Winter Opportunities

Blooming Classroom Field Trips in Watsonville – Carpooling can be arranged; transportation provided from the UCSC Farm

Lead groups of 3rd-5th graders in hands-on science and nutrition investigations at Life Lab’s Blooming Classroom site in Watsonville on Tuesdays from 1:00-6:00 and/or Fridays from 8:30-2:00.
More program information  Contact Cara at cara@lifelab.org or 831.459.4035

Feeling Fine with Fresh Foods at the Life Lab Garden Classroom on the UCSC Farm

Lead groups 3rd-5th graders in hands-on cooking and nutrition investigations in the Life Lab Garden Classroom and on the UCSC Farm.
When: Jan-March, Tuesdays 9:00-1:45
More program information  Contact Amy at amy@lifelab.org or 831.459.4035

Kids Cook – Classroom Cooking

Our Kids Cook program teaches 3rd-5th grade classes about nutrition and healthy food choices in Watsonville Elementary Schools. You need your own transportation.

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays 9am-2pm (less hours per day also an option)
Contact Aisling Mitchell at aisling@lifelab.org

 

How To Get College Credit

See Environmental Studies DepartmentCommunity Studies Field Program or Independent Study for more on getting UCSC credit as a Life Lab intern. We also serve interns from other institutions such as Cabrillo Work Experience and CSUMB Service Learning, as well as non-student volunteers.

Quotes From Past Interns

“Interning at Life Lab was one of my favorite experiences at UCSC. The kids, the staff and the atmosphere are unparalleled. You don’t know how much I regretted finding out about Life Lab during my final year; I would have been there starting freshman year if I had known. You won’t find a better place to be anywhere on campus.”

“I just wanted to write and express my thanks to all of you. I just applied and was offered the position of Garden Education Manager at Harding Elementary School in Santa Barbara. This position is honestly a dream come true and I know I couldn’t have made it here without the knowledge and support I received from all of you. I hope the gardens I help to build and create over the next 2 years bring even a fraction of the wonder and joy that the Life Lab Science Program and garden has brought to it’s visiting students and interns.  Thank you! All the best!

– Emma Hodges, 2010

“I just wanted to thank you so much for all the encouragement and wisdom you have passed my way. I did end up getting a job with Playworks, a non profit organization that energizes classroom learning through safe, healthy, and inclusive play out on the recess yard. I’m also running a leadership program with 35 4th & 5th graders and an after school enrichment program with 15 students. I can not tell you how helpful it is to draw back on all my previous experience with kids. Life Lab does such a wonderful job of sustaining an entire quarter’s worth of action and reflection. – Rachel Evernden, 2010

“Introducing kids to the many faces of Mother Nature during my Life Lab internship at the UCSC farm made college a holistic experience, grounded on nutrient-rich, compost earth; there is nothing more fufilling than nurturing the bonds between the next generation and permaculture. Kids with a connection to dirt and bugs and our food sources are kids that are going to make a paradigm shift in the modern ecological idiom from a planet in environmental degradation to a happenin’ biodiverse party in our bubble.”

– Molly McCalla, Anthropology 2002-2005

“Life Lab was a great opportunity for me to close my books for a while, leave the library and get outside to spend interactive time with kids! Life lab helped balance my time at UCSC and gave me the opportunity to witness the growth I was going through by being in college. It was a fun way to continue learning, but it gave me a chance to practice using my skills that I will need post-graduation! Thanks Life Lab!”

– Vanessa Shaw, Community Studies Class of 2006

“Life Lab was one of the most fun things I did in Santa Cruz, I wish I’d known about it earlier. I probably would have tried to be there every quarter!”

– Milli Chennell, History and Environmental Studies Double Major, 2000-2004

 

Read about the impact our program has had on our interns

 

The UCSC Farm offers the following Farming, Gardening, and Food System Opportunities

follow us on Facebook

5 days ago

Life Lab

Headed to New Leaf Community Markets for some shopping?

You can cast your Envirotoken Vote for your favorite non-profit (Hint: Life Lab 😄 ) every time you shop until December 16th.

Ask for your paper ballet at every store!Vote for Life Lab to be a New Leaf Community Markets Envirotoken recipient every time you shop! Paper ballots will be in every New Leaf store until Dec. 16h! See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 week ago

Life Lab

Vote for Life Lab to be a New Leaf Community Markets Envirotoken recipient every time you shop! Paper ballots will be in every New Leaf store until Dec. 16h! See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Life Lab

We’ve kicked off our Year End Giving Campaign by raising $4600 on #givingtuesday. Thank you!

For 2019 Life Lab wants to bring more children into school gardens than ever before. More hands in dirt, more love of healthy foods and more kids saying, "I’m a scientist!"

Donate Today!! lifelab.org/donate See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

"Wow, these seeds are so tiny. It’s hard to imagine that they are going to grow into something so big!"

Your donation to Life Lab awakens curiosity in children, join us for #GivingTuesday and plant seeds of hope for the future!

www.lifelab.org/donate

#BeAPartOfIt, #Donate, #SeedsOfHope, #MakingChange See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

#GivingTuesday is still going strong. Doesn’t it feel great to know everyone working together can make a real difference? Be a part of the movement! www.lifelab.org/donate
#BeAPartOfIt
See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

We share our work nationally through workshops and curriculum for teachers and our School Garden Support Organization Leadership Program. Participating educators tell us this impacts over 500,000 students annually!

Be a part of it! www.lifelab.org/donate

#GivingTuesday, #SmallOrganizationNationalReach, #donate, #nonprofit, #BeAPartOfIt See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

We look to our work with children and understand that now, more than ever, we must raise our children to be loving stewards of the Earth. For the next generation to protect, defend, and preserve the Earth, they must understand and love it. A gift to Life Lab connects 500,000 children each year across the nation to the natural world, and allows them to discover their potential to care for it. YOU can influence change today by supporting Life Lab’s work.

www.lifelab.org/donate

#OnlyOnePlanet, #ProtectWhatYouLove See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

“Kids participated in garden lessons right before recess. Once recess began, however, they didn’t want to leave the garden! They thought it was better than recess!” ~1st Grade Teacher & Garden Champion at a Santa Cruz County school

This #GivingTuesday, join us in sharing joy and curiosity with thousands of children.

www.lifelab.org/donate

#BeAPartOfIt, #optoutside, #healthykids, #giveback, #donate, #PayItForward, #nonprofit, #SantaCruzCounty See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Last school year, Life Lab’s Santa Cruz County programs served:
-5,193 students
-over 900 lessons
-143 teachers’ classes
-37 schools

This #GivingTuesday, help ensure we can offer these hands-on, life-changing programs to children regardless of what they can pay.

www.lifelab.org/donate See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

“I love making the rainbow smoothie. It had something new for me–that was the spinach. I made it at home. I love it and my mom made something new!”

~ Amesti Elementary School 4th Grader as part of our Kids Cook program

Your gift today helps us offer 70% of our garden-based programs FREE to children whose families/schools could not otherwise afford them.

www.lifelab.org/donate

#GivingTuesday, #BeAPartOfIt, #optoutside, #healthykids, #giveback, #donate, #PayItForward, #nonprofit See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

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