Life Lab

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

2020 SGSO Leadership Institute
Tentative Dates: Late January, 2020  –  Santa Cruz, CA

Join the School Garden Support Organization Network E-list to be part of a national dialogue of school garden support organizations and to be notified of future Leadership Institute dates.

Learn more about the School Garden Support Organization Network at www.sgsonetwork.org

View our Best Practices Documents and Webinars

 

2019 SGSO Leadership Institute Participant Comments

Who?

This Leadership Institute is designed for teams of 2 from School Garden Support Organizations (SGSOs). A SGSO may be a nonprofit organization, university, government agency, foundation, school district, or other entity focused specifically on supporting garden-based learning for multiple schools in their region. SGSOs work to elevate the quality and sustainability of school garden programs across their region, serving thousands of children each.

Each SGSO is invited to attend will send 2 key leaders to the Institute. We are particularly seeking SGSOs that:

  • Have been actively supporting school gardens in their region for 8 years or fewer
  • Primarily support elementary school gardens
  • Have relevance with racially and economically diverse communities
  • Have a primary focus on providing trainings for garden-based educators in their region, and
  • Plan to host garden-based professional development for educators between February – June 2019

What?

At the 5-day institute we will be working towards the following goals.

  • Learn from one another about how we accomplish common Key SGSO Activities so that we can better our practice
  • Make organizational sites plan for Professional Development and School Garden support
  • Develop and update resources to share with a wider national audience

School Support Organization Key Activities

  1. Creating, Finding, Modifying, and Sequencing High Quality Lessons
  2. Sustaining School Garden Programs
  3. Designing Programs for Maximum Impact
  4. Networking and Communications to Support School Gardens
  5. Leading Excellent Garden-Based Education Professional Development
  6. Addressing Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in School Garden Programs

The institute will take place at Mission Springs Conference Center located in a Redwood forest near Santa Cruz, CA. Participants are responsible to pay their own travel expenses to/from San Jose or San Francisco Airport and a nominal fee* based on your organization’s capacity. Lodging, meals, and airport-to-conference center transportation will be provided.

*Institute Fee – Suggested Sliding Scale

Draft Institute Agenda
Sunday – Arrival by 4pm Dinner, Meet and Greet
Monday – Key Activity Discussions, Lunch and Tour Pacific Elementary FoodLab, Evening Fire
Tuesday  – Key Activity Discussions, Explore Downtown Santa Cruz for Dinner
Wednesday  – Best Practices in Professional Development at the Life Lab Garden Classroom on the UC Santa Cruz Farm
Thursday  – Team Planning Time, Open Space, Networking Dinner with Local School Garden Leaders
Friday  – Departure by Lunchtime

Why?

School gardens have tremendous lifelong benefits for children. Research has shown that when children participate in a school garden program, they show marked improvement in healthy eating; social emotional skills; environmental attitudes; scientific achievement; and attitudes toward learning (www.lifelab.org/whyschoolgardens).

But school garden programs need support in order to unlock their full potential. Without well-trained educators, strong curriculum, and supportive networks, garden programs often become underutilized or even forgotten. With support, however, they thrive, become institutionalized into school cultures, and inspire children for decades.

Regional School Garden Support Organizations have emerged as a key determinant in the success of school garden programs across the country. This Institute is designed to provide SGSO leaders with the inspiration and information they need to effectively support school garden programs in their regions, and to share best practices with other SGSOs nationally.

View what took place at our 2019 School Garden Support Organization Institute.

View what took place at our 2018 School Garden Support Organization Institute.

View what took place at our 2016 School Garden Support Organization Institute.

Join the School Garden Support Organization Network E-list to be part of a national dialogue of school garden support organizations.

Hosted by Life Lab in partnership with Whole Kids Foundation

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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.

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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

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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