Life Lab

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

Category : Moment of the Month

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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April 2015 Photo Moment of the Month

Science Exploration "Hey! There's a root in my soil!" This month we welcomed the first students to our new Blooming Classroom educational garden on a farm in western Watsonville. We're excited to be developing this sit [...]

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March 2015 Photo Moment of the Month

We don't have to ask kids to eat their veggies. This winter, 485 students in our Feeling Fine with Fresh Foods field trips devoured the veggie soup they helped prepare with fresh produce they picked in our garden classroom. We love c [...]

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6 days 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,"
Ellie

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 BackPocketLearning.org 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 weeks 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 weeks 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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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

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

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3 weeks 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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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Timeline Photos See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Life Lab Stands With Black Lives.

The injustice of systemic racism must end. Our work at Life Lab to foster empathy, love and inclusion with the children who are the next generation will continue, and it is no longer enough. This painful moment is an opportunity and a catalyst for us to take the next steps to more purposefully weave antiracist learning into all that we do.

This is a time of active learning for us, as we listen and dig deeper into Life Lab’s part in historical and present-day oppression. We see opportunities to provide foundational antiracist lessons and experiences more intentionally throughout our curriculum and programs, joining with others who are on this path.

There are seeds of hope in this moment that we can nurture in garden classrooms. Our work with children, educators and schools can motivate actions, large and small, individual and collective, to help create real change for a more just society.

Black lives matter, and Life Lab commits to countering racism through education and love.

We know this process will include learning, unlearning and relearning. We welcome this collaborative work, and we will report back to you on our progress.

~ The Life Lab Team See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

🥕Meet Cara, our Garden Programs Manager!🥕

Cara began her current position at Life Lab in 2014, but has worked with Life Lab in a variety of roles since 2007. While going to school at the University of California Santa Cruz, she found her calling to be an outdoor educator while interning at Life Lab in the field trip teaching program. Graduating from UCSC with a B.A in Environmental Studies and a minor in Anthropology, Cara brings 12 years of education experience to her position, specializing in environmental education and professional development for beginning educators. Growing up in Chicago, she jumped on opportunities to volunteer and work at learning institutions, such as the Evanston Ecology Center and the Field Museum of Chicago. Cara moved to Santa Cruz in 2003 and loves living in a community that appreciates healthy living, eating well, and the natural world. When she is not hard at work, she is hard at play, hiking, dancing, cooking, traveling and doing yoga.🥘🌎😁 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 Abby Hauth at the Life Lab garden at MacQuiddy Elementary🌸 #shareyourgardenLL #schoolgardens #lifelab @foodcorps @pvusdschoolfood See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Eat a Rainbow this Memorial weekend! Fruits & veggies provide nutrients essential for good health 🌈🥗💪🏽 #chard #carrots #schoolgardens #lifelab #eatarainbow #nutrition #gardeneducation #teachtheyouth 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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