Life Lab

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

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 data collection. Because of their design, they are easy to install anywhere on a school’s campus, and are an especially great addition to a school garden. To assemble your own weather station, and incorporate climate science into your curriculum, check out the resources below

The weather station described below is the opposite of the fully digital stations widely available. Our station relies on reading gauges and interpreting the surrounding environment to log the weather. The data sheet we designed is meant to be easy to use for elementary grades and up.


Assembling the Weather Station

For this project, we used recycled fence board for our cardinal direction signs and a repurposed 4×4 post to mount the materials, but any quality of wood will do. Consider mounting the post in post hole cement so the buried end of the post will last longer.


  • 4 boards measuring approximately 3″ x 15″ x 0.5″ to mark the cardinal directions
  • Weather-resistant outdoor paint (we recommend a glossy white)
  • 1 pint of dark-colored, weather-resistant paint (we used black)
  • 1 4×4 post measuring approximately 8-10 feet in height
  • 1 bag of quick concrete to set the post in ground see video on how to easily set a post
  • 1 6-foot piece of ½” PVC pipe to hold the wind sock
  • 1 10 x 13 in. outdoor brochure display case to hold weather recording clipboard
  • 1 minimum/maximum thermometer (if working with children 2nd grade and younger you may consider just using a normal outdoor thermometer since they are easier to read and understand than the min/max thermometers)
  • 1 weather-resistant windsock
  • 1 rain gauge or one like this (make sure you get one you can easily dump the rain out out once filled)
  • 2 or 2.5 inch Deck Screws to Assemble
  • Clipboard to hold Weather Data Recording Log and Cloud Key
  • Pencil attached to clipboard (use pencil rather than pen since inks smears when wet and pencil does not)

Recommended Tools

  • Power drill
  • Drill bit to pre-drill screw holes
  • Posthole digger
  • Digging Bar or Rock Bar (is your ground is hard)
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Sandpaper
  • Compass
  • Small step ladder


If necessary, sand the 4 boards in preparation for painting. Completely cover both sides of the boards with the white outdoor paint–it is recommended that you apply multiple coats of paint and that you allow the boards to dry in between coats. When the boards have completely dried after the last coat of paint’s application, use the dark-colored, weather-resistant paint to write in large, bold letters the cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west) on both sides of the boards leaving at least 5 inches of blank space that will be drilled through to attach to post.

Using a posthole digger or shovel, dig a hole approximately 2 feet deep and 8 inches wide to set the post in. Center the post in the hole and pour dry concrete mix around the post, filling the hole about halfway. If using a post with 4 sides like a 4×4, position the post so that cardinal direction signs will point in the right direction. We also used some post supports but you can order online if you don’t have any already. Tamp down concrete mix with back shovel handle. Add water on top of the concrete that is in the hole. Once the first layer of concrete has been moistened, add the remainder of the dry concrete until the hole is filled, ensuring the post is still centered. Tamp down the dry concrete mix but make sure the concrete is at or above the level of the surrounding soil. Avoiding soil contact with your post will decrease the rate of post rot. Moisten the dry concrete mix. Add water and mix the concrete directly in the hole again. Using a level, ensure the post is straight and centered in the concrete. You can allow the concrete to set overnight, or you can continue assembling the rest of the weather station as the concrete dries, being sure to check one more time that the pole is straight and centered with a level before leaving the post to finish setting.

Drill a hole in the top of the PVC pipe with something like a cordless drill and attach the windsock to the top of the ½” PVC pipe. Screw the PVC pipe to the top of the post. Pre drill holes in the PVC pipe and screw in screw half way to make it easier to attach PVC pipe to post. With a carpenter’s square, a level, and a compass, mount the cardinal direction signs a few inches from the top of the post. Below the cardinal direction signs, mount the minimum/maximum thermometer (place the thermometer on the north side of the post out of direct sunlight), the rain gauge, and the brochure display case at the proper height for the student demographic you will be working with. Finally, if the concrete is still wet, check that the post is straight and centered with a level before finishing.

Weather Station Resources

Weather Data Recording Log

Mount this Cloud Type Key on the back of recording log clipboard

You may consider creating a weather box to install your thermometer or additional weather recording instruments.
Much more information on school weather stations can be found at

Older students and classes may be interested in the GLOBE worldwide science and education program.


Learn how to use the weather station described above in this video:

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2 days ago

Life Lab

The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation is proudly celebrating five years of supporting nonprofits that teach students and communities about the goodness of fresh ingredients. This year, the Foundation awarded more than 110 Neighborhood Grants to nonprofit organizations, with Life Lab being one of them!

We are grateful for the continued support from Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation. Life Lab is honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the Neighborhood Grants. Our partnership reflects Sprouts Farmers Market’s core values of education, environmental stewardship, and nutrition.

With this support we have been able to launch and sustain, a robust directory of easy to use activities that require no screen time, promote healthy eating and inspires creativity. This site is perfect for teachers and parents alike! has garnished over 7k users from all over the world, in almost every continent, since our launch in April.

Sprouts Farmers Market

#sproutsfarmersmarket #MyLifelab #local #nonprofit See MoreSee Less

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7 days ago

Life Lab

🌱 Join the SGSO Leadership Institute 🌱

Every year, we host a School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute to provide an opportunity for school garden professionals from across the country to collaborate, learn from one another, and develop resources to share with a national audience. Collectively, SGSO Institute participants have improved their own work while also sharing ideas and resources to help others do the same.

In the face of the myriad challenges of 2020, all of you in SGSOs across the country are innovating in creative and inspiring ways to sustain and enhance garden education for their students. We are eager for other SGSOs to learn from you! With generous support from Whole Kids Foundation , we are pleased to be able to provide stipends for peoples’ contributions to these Working Groups.

This year’s SGSO Institute is open to newcomers and SGSO Institute Alumni!

🚨 Applications are due November 6, 2020 🚨

To learn more about this exciting opportunity and apply, visit: See MoreSee Less

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1 week ago

Life Lab

Life Lab celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day with special recognition of the land on which our gardens grow and by sharing beautiful family friendly resources highlighting indigenous storytelling and efforts of Native peoples to reclaim food sovereignty, cultural identity, and native land stewardship.

The Life Lab Land Acknowledgement, now shared at all formal gatherings in our Garden Classroom on the UCSC campus:

“The land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.”

*Land acknowledgement developed in partnership with the
Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Chairman and the Amah Mutsun
Relearning Program at the UCSC Arboretum.

Learn more about the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the

Life Lab is honored to support the film, GATHER (Gather) with a
FREE virtual screening on October 30th at 7pm

📷 credit: Amah Mutsun Land Trust website See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

Looking for some #garden #joy? Join us for a sweet sharing of Life Lab Reimagined: program updates, inspired learning, and community at our Fall Benefit this Saturday at 10:30am 🌱Register at 🌱Learn about our New Curriculum, New Life Lab Educator Certification Program, New Staff, and New Garden Additions👀Plus all the beautiful work we’re doing to support school garden education locally and nationally🌻Participants are automatically eligible to win a raffle prize courtesy of @synergyclothing ❤️ #schoolgarden #education #kisstheground #teachtheyouth #landstewardship #fundraiser See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

It’s Harvest Festival Week🌻happening virtually October 5-10th. A collaboration between the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems UCSC CASFS Farm Life Lab​, and students of UCSC Food Systems Working Group
Mark your calendar! The week-long series is full of fun virtual activities for all ages, with live streamed musical performances, a lecture on agroecology from a panel of experts, and ending the week with Life Lab’s #Funtastic Fall Benefit highlighting new program updates and staff/garden additions. Register at

Visit for a complete schedule of events and registration instructions.

Monday, October 5
7:00 PM – 7:45 PM
Life Lab Backyard Chickens Q&A

Tuesday, October 6
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Saving Seeds, Sustaining Our Communities

Wednesday, October 7
1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
The evolution of agroecology as a practice, a research discipline, and a social movement

7:00 PM – 7:45 PM
Nurture Yourselves With Nature!

Thursday, October 8
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Cider Donut Workshop and The Everything Apple Panel

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Celebrating Queers and Nature

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Giant Green Anemone! Going Deep Into Local Tide Pool Explorations

Friday, October 9
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Planting Seeds For Success: Community Connections to Water Your Garden for Wellness!

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
What is the Food Systems Working Group and what does it do?

5:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Rachel Carson Garden Cooking + Poetry Workshop/Mic!

Saturday, October 10
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Life Lab Fall Benefit Gathering
#schoolgardens #gardeneducation #lifelab #harvest #gratitude See MoreSee Less

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

Happy weekend everyone ☀️Enjoy this sweet share of the UCSC Farm featuring Life Lab 🌱and our chickens! 🐓We look forward to sharing more with all of you as part of our upcoming Fall Benefit on October 10th. Register at See MoreSee Less

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

In celebration of the Fall Equinox 🍁we are excited to share a poignant new film called Kiss the Ground Movie🌱Life Lab is honored to have partnered with Kiss the Ground to develop middle school curriculum and accompanying training video for educators, focused on the process of capturing and storing carbon in living organisms such as soil, plants and algae.🌿

This hopeful film showcases part of the solution to climate change that is right under our feet: biosequestration in the soil. Life Lab invites you to join a Global Watch Party for the film, followed by a live Q and A at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. For more info, go to Kiss the Ground Movie 🌍 #Lifelab #regenerativeagriculture #schoolgardens #soilhealth #earthactivist #climatechangesolutions See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

It’s World Gratitude Day! 💐Life Lab is grateful for our community and to continue our 40+ year mission of cultivating children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden based education🌱#life lab #schoolgardens #education #worldgratitudeday #gratitude See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

Join us on October 10th at 10:30am for Life Lab’s Fall Benefit: A Celebration of Learning and Community.
Register at
This virtual event includes a tour of Life Lab’s evolving work and vision. Plus we have a surprise announcement! We are thankful for your encouragement and support as a member of our Life Lab community. Despite the challenges of this unprecedented year, Life Lab is moving forward with grace and creative innovation. The events of this season have provided opportunities to support our local community and national networks in new ways, expand our reach through virtual connections, and dive more deeply into justice and equity in all of our work. We are strengthening the roots that feed Life Lab programs as we continue to transform the Nature of Education. Continued cultivation of children’s love for learning and connections with healthy food and nature during COVID is essential and brings hope, wonder, and a much needed breath of fresh air. We are excited to share the inspiring work of our dedicated staff with you! #gratitude #schoolgardens #education #lifelab #fundraiser #gardens
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1 month ago

Life Lab

🚨Join us TODAY at 11am PST🚨

💚Bringing Social Emotional Learning and
Mindfulness Education to Your Work💚

Join Sheri S. Dollin, M.Ed., Educational Consultant and Mindfulness Facilitator, and Sunny Wight, Co-Founder of Mindfulness First, for an overview of mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in the distance learning setting.

Together, we will look at how an understanding of trauma, mindfulness and SEL can help us to manage stress while nurturing the scientifically proven “protective factors” that help prevent and manage trauma and mental health issues both for ourselves and our students.

We will specifically learn about the brain science of stress, and practice mindfulness techniques you can teach to your students. We’ll also take a look at Mindfulness First’s synchronous and asynchronous online work, and quickly understand that it’s easier than we think to integrate mindfulness and SEL into online classrooms. Bring: something to draw with and a piece of paper, for Mindful Art.

For more information and to register click the link below See MoreSee Less

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Stock up your Garden Classroom

Life Lab 40th
Life Lab’s 40th Gala – Sunday, October 13th  Celebrate 40 years of bringing learning to life in gardens. Learn more  
Life Lab's 40th Gala
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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