Life Lab

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

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Engaging University Students in Local School Gardens

Engaging University Students in Local School Gardens:  A Toolkit for School Districts, School Garden Support Organizations and Universities Created by UC Davis Student Farm, Life Lab, and UC Berkeley This guidebook summarizes three different models of Univer [...]

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Webinar and Curriculum – The Soil Story: Unearthing Connections Between Climate Change, the Food We Eat, and Human Health

  NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project webinar The Soil Story: Unearthing Connections Between Climate Change, the Food We Eat, and Human Health presented by Jessica Handy, Education Coordinator for Kiss the Ground, and Whitney Cohen, Education Director of [...]

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Whole Class Garden Caretaker Activities

As part of a University of California Global Food Initiative project that we collaborated on with UC Davis and UC Berkeley, we created the the following activity guides for undergraduates to lead local school children in garden caretaking. These UCSC students are part o [...]

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Life Lab grows gardeners through ‘the power of garden-based learning’ – Santa Cruz Sentinel

Posted on at Santa Cruz Sentinel June 14, 2018 By Calvin Men View as PDF When you ask John Fisher how he knows school gardens have an impact, he’s quick to pluck a memory from years ago. Third graders were out in a garden and among them was a recent immigrant [...]

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Make a Weather Station

Incorporating climate science into a classroom or garden is a fun and enriching way to heighten students’ awareness of the natural world around them. Weather stations are compact and versatile and are an excellent tool for teaching children about weather patterns and [...]

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November 2017 Photo Moment of the Month

        When kids are leaning in, we know they are enjoying learning! These second grade students on a field trip to our Blooming Classroom are dissecting seeds to look for the "young plant" on the [...]

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Educational Farm and Garden Design Element Video Lab

View and contribute to a video playlist showcasing design elements that support teaching and learning in gardens and on farms. Browse the video playlist to gain inspiration for your farm or garden education program. [...]

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Independent Stations – Caretaking and Monitoring the Garden

A garden classroom is wonderful space for children to "take ownership" of a corner of their school. Here are examples and resources for independent stations that contribute to garden caretaking and/or engage students in the scientific practice of observation. Many of [...]

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Garden Pathways

101 Ways to Connect Learning to the Garden Gardening Project Map created in the early 1980s by Vicki Greenhouse for her 2nd & 3rd grade students in Lincoln, Vermont. Orginally published in Life Lab's The Growing Classroom in 1982, reproduced in c [...]

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May 2017 Photo Moment of the Month

Spring Harvest & Planting for Fall!   Above:  A healthful harvest of beets, kohlrabi, and carrots was an exciting part of our spring science and nutrition field trip activities for Watsonville elementary school students at our Blooming Classroom in Wats [...]

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April 2017 Photo Moment of the Month

A Toast to Pollinators! Spring is here in our Blooming Classroom in Watsonville, and these students from Amesti Elementary School learned about the importance of pollinators to plants and the environment. Here, they celebrate the vital role that bees, butter [...]

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Watsonville School Garden Crew – Spring 2017

June 7th - Hall District School Flower Planting and Irrigation Installation Today we planted flowers with first graders and continued irrigaiton installation   May 31 - Hall District School Irrigation Installati [...]

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March 2017 Photo Moment of the Month

With the coming of spring, Life Lab trainers were out in full force, inspiring educators to cultivate children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature in school gardens across the nation. It was too hard to choose just one photo to share, so here is a glimpse o [...]

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February 2017 Photo Moment of the Month

Have you ever made a garden on a cracker? These third grade students from Watsonville's Starlight Elementary School have! As part of weekly field trips at our Blooming Classroom, children from several Pajaro Valley U [...]

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Watsonville School Garden Crew – Winter 2017

See what we are up to with our Winter 2017 Watsonville School Garden Crew March 8 - Radcliffe School Garden Clean Up and Redesign Today we repaired some garden beds, moved and filled garden beds to sunnier spots of the garden, and set up an outdo [...]

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December 2016 & January 2017 Photo Moment of the Month

December 2016 School Garden Support Organizations unite! We hosted 19 school garden support organizations from across the nation for a week-long institute in early December to share successful program models and best practices for [...]

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November 2016 Photo Moment of the Month

Learning and tasting the 6 plant parts. Healthy Eating is FUN in our Blooming Classroom!  We always taste fruits and vegetables in our garden programs, and many teachers and parents are surprised at how the children react. In the f [...]

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October 2016 Photo Moment of the Month

October was National Farm to School Month, and we were busy! The photos above are from trainings we led this month for more than 250 teachers in Bend, OR, and Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Salinas and Ventura, CA. In these workshops, tours and conference [...]

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Plant It, Grow It, Eat It! Workshop Teaches Garden-Based Nutrition

View this article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel By Devika Garg-Bansal SANTA CRUZ >> Kids and vegetables are not exactly best friends. Parents know this all too well, as do restaurants that put out mac and cheese on kids’ menus. But the t [...]

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Whitney Cohen on Garden Based Education – An Urban Farm U Podcast

Whitney Cohen on Garden Based Education Examining school garden support organizations to promote natural world learning. Whitney is a teacher, trainer, and author with tremendous commitment to, and expertise in, inquiry- and place-based education [...]

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September 2016 Photo Moment of the Month

These second graders from Boulder Creek Elementary School had a great time picking apples and pressing them into fresh cider in the Apple Room at our Garden Classroom in Santa Cruz last month. In addition to tasting fruit straight from the trees, st [...]

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Intern with Life Lab

Come work with kids in a garden setting. We have placements year round at our Garden Classroom Site on the UCSC Farm or in Watsonville at our Blooming Classroom Site. Additionally our School Garden Corps program places interns to work at school gardens and provides t [...]

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August 2016 Photo Moment of the Month

These FoodCorps garden educators aren't sticking their tongues out at you! They're showing off their "garden candy" ... edible borage flowers they're about to eat. (Have you ever tried them? They taste like cucumber! Pinch the [...]

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July 2016 Photo Moment of the Month

It's camp season here at Life Lab, and like these fresh-picked beets, it's been big! More than 300 children from 4 to 18 years old are part of our Garden Sprouts and Wildlands & Watering Cans day camps this season at our G [...]

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May 2016 Photo Moment of the Month

It used to be that teachers felt like they had to "sneak" garden-based science lessons into their students' education. This week we saw first hand how the tide is turning and hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based, outdoor science educ [...]

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April 2016 Photo Moment of the Month

Our work with Watsonville schools is growing like spring carrots!   Third grade students from Alianza Elementary School enjoyed freshly harvested carrots, camaraderie and learning outdoors as part of our spring season of academically en [...]

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March 2016 Photo Moment of the Month

Helping Teachers Use Gardens As Dynamic Science Classrooms We hosted 25 teachers for our Next Generation Science in the Garden workshop on March 11th at our Garden Classroom in Santa Cruz. Here is what they had to say about it: " [...]

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February 2016 Photo Moment of the Month

Tasty new experiences! Giving kids the chance to try new fruits and vegetables in a fun garden environment can help them form lifelong healthy eating habits. These Hall District Elementary Students clearly enjoyed their new tasting experienc [...]

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January 2016 Photo Moment of the Month

The rain has brought so much more than water. "Going on a field trip to Life Lab during a wild rainstorm was an incredible experience that will be remembered long after the the year passes. The 'Eating a Rainbow' curriculum [...]

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Making Waves

It was a pleasant surprise to see Life Lab as the featured non-profit in the Aug/Sept 2015 issue of Santa Cruz Waves. They did a great job summarizing what we do. Thanks Linda Koffman and Santa Cruz Waves. [...]

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December 2015 Photo Moment of the Month

Gratitude - from a child's point of view. Emma's note sweetly sums up the experience that children have in our fall Farm to Fork field trips at our Garden Classroom, connecting kids with the land and where basic, healthful foods come [...]

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November 2015 Photo Moment of the Month

Learning Doesn't Stop at 3pm... When school let out on Tuesdays this fall, 60 students came to our Blooming Classroom educational garden in Watsonville to connect with nature, science, healthy food and each other in academically enriched [...]

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September 2015 Photo Moment of the Month

We're really "cooking" with FoodCorps! Daiana demonstrates hand pressing of tortillas and explores the amazing world of corn with field trip students. This month we welcomed new FoodCorps service members Lidia Tropea [...]

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August 2015 Photo Moment of the Month

Teaching teachers to use gardens as classrooms August was a packed month for our educator training programs! Gearing up for the new school year, teachers turned to Life Lab for training and inspiration in garden-based learning. Pictured here [...]

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July 2015 Photo Moment of the Month

Movement Building in Austin!   School garden support superstars (front row) Whitney Cohen - Life Lab; Rachel Pringle - Education Outside, San Francisco; Jane Hirschi - CitySprouts, Cambridge, MA (back row) John Fish [...]

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Webinar: Innovative Ways to Fund Your School Garden

View the archived webinar at EdWeb Growing School Gardens Community www.edweb.net/schoolgardens. Life Lab curates the following resources at the Collective School Garden Network: Finding Funds for School Gardens at www.csgn.org/funding-school [...]

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See Our New Blooming Classroom Site

Learn more about our work in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District at www.lifelab.org/pajaro. [...]

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2015 Workshops at the Life Lab Garden Classroom

Upcoming Educator Workshops in the Life Lab Garden Classroom: August 1-2, 2015 - 9:00AM-3:30PM The Growing Classroom: 2-Day Intensive on Garden-Based Learning (Grades 2-6) – Cost: $300/person. 1 semester unit of graduate education credit available per day for [...]

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June 2015 Photo Moment of the Month

Morning Chores Summer is in full swing here at the Garden Classroom with 47 kids from 4 to 10 years old enjoying garden activities, the land, and each other daily.   Every morning, our day camps include "farm ch [...]

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May 2015 Photo Moment of the Month

"Feeding 2 Birds With 1 Seed" At each Life Lab Garden Classroom Field Trip we are feeding the minds of visiting school children while at the same time training future environmental educators. These children are on a Sowin [...]

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2 days ago

Life Lab

It was such a pleasure reconnecting with all the garden educators from the Santa Cruz area yesterday. You all are doing an incredible job! We hoped that you all had a great time sharing your experience in working at your school’s garden. We look forward to seeing you very soon!

If were not able to make it to yesterdays Garden Educator Gathering, please sign up for our mailing list so you can keep up to date with all of our events. We have some really exciting 40th celebrations coming soon.

bit.ly/2Tn9Prx See MoreSee Less

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4 days ago

Life Lab

Thank you to all the educators that came out and participated in our Intro to NGSS workshop. It was great meeting all of you. An extra special thank you to Edible Schoolyard Japan (エディブル・スクールヤード・ジャパン) for coming all the way from Japan to be a part of our workshop!

If you’re interested in joining our upcoming workshops click here bit.ly/2TkFnye See MoreSee Less

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1 week ago

Life Lab

Life Lab is hiring an Educator Training Specialist!!!

We are looking for an individual who is personable, approachable, and flexible nature; that has outstanding teaching and organizational skills.

Life Lab’s Educator Training Specialist will manage our on- and off-site educator workshops and lead some of our workshops. Tasks will include:

• Offsite Workshop Coordination
• Onsite Workshop Coordination
• Lead Educator Workshops
• Curriculum Development

Key Qualities of the Educator Training Specialist are:

• a deep commitment to the mission of Life Lab, which is to cultivate children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education
• cross-cultural competency, with a deep commitment to equity and inclusion in education
• outstanding teaching skills
• 3 or more years of experience teaching children in a school garden or other outdoor education setting
• experience leading trainings for educators or other adult learners

If this sounds like a job made just for you please click here for more details.

bit.ly/2u8LJ9U

Please Share if you know someone who would love the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on children’s lives. See MoreSee Less

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1 week ago

Life Lab

Looking for ideas to keep your school gardens tended and active during the summer? Are you thinking of new ways to bring garden-based learning to a community garden or farm site? Join us for a webinar on the ins and outs of running kids day camp programs on educational gardens.

Erin Jackson, Education Director at Gallatin Valley Farm to School, and Amy Carlson, Garden Education Director at Life Lab, will share their years of experience and resources for creating day camp programs.

From promotions to post assessments and everything in between, this hour long webinar will provide you with inspiration and ideas to create or enhance summer programming on your educational garden or farm.

To register click here! bit.ly/2HhsJP5 See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

Thanks Christine at KidsGardening.org for sharing a good winter time lesson from The Growing Classroom.Christine shares a hands-on garden planning lesson using mapping, math, and scale drawing skills from one of our best-known resources, The Growing Classroom!… See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

www.lifelab.org/gcworkshop
Join Us For a 2019 Life Lab Garden Classroom Workshop

~ Meet and learn from other garden-based educators

~ Be inspired by our model educational Garden Classroom Site

~ Enjoy a delicious, fresh meal

~ Take home lessons and resources to use in the garden or classroom See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Last week we were thrilled to have garden educators from around the country collaborate at our School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute.

Will you apply next year? Pictures (and smiles) tell it better than our words can.

Thank you all for participating!Kristen and Kat spent last week at the School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute hosted by Life Lab in Santa Cruz, California. The institute provided the opportunity for us to learn best practices in networking, sustainability, evaluation, school standards, and more from school garden organizations from all over the country. We also got to visit some truly dreamy and fully-integrated school gardens. We can’t wait to share our BIG goals and vision for OKC Harvest with you! See MoreSee Less

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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