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 

All internships are currently on hold due to COVID. Hope to see you soon!

Year-round 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

Environment Education Internships: 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 environmental education 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, 9:00-2:00
More program information  Contact Cara at cara@lifelab.org

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

 

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 Cara, cara@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, 9:00-2:00
More program information  Contact Cara at cara@lifelab.org

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

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

Winter Opportunities

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

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 9:00-2:00
More program information  Contact Cara at cara@lifelab.org

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

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1 week ago

Readers To Eaters

So excited about this on Summer Author Series with Clemson Extension School & Community Gardening, South Carolina Farm to School, and The Bee Cause Project! This August features Rick Swann on Our School Garden! The poetry collection is based on Rick’s own experience as a Seattle school librarian when he helped launch the school garden. Good read on growing a community through food all year round! Free registration @ bit.ly/2TLW23xAuthor series kicksoff with Jacqueline Briggs Martin on 6/29 with her #FoodHeroes series: Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious & Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix. Katherine Pryor presents Sylvia’s Spinach & Zora’s Zucchini on 7/14. Wonderful way to celebrate food literacy this summer! ..#FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #GardenEducation #SchoolGarden #CommunityGarden #GardeningWithKids #FarmToSchool #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #SummerReading #SummerGardening #SummerLearing #OutdoorEducation South Carolina Library Association (SCLA)South Carolina Association of School LibrariansSlow Food South Carolina South Carolina State LibraryJunior Master Gardener Program Life LabThe American Horticultural Society KidsGardening.org National Farm to School Network

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2 weeks ago

Readers To Eaters

Checked out the new enhanced book edition of Sylvia’s Spinach and Zora’s Zucchini from Vooks, just out this week. Fun to see images come to life! Great sharing for #SummerReading #SummerGardening. Sign up for a free trail. bit.ly/3vKXnWu ..#FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #GardeningWithKids #GardenEducation #SchoolGarden #OutdoorEducation #KidsGardening #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #WIC #SNAPEd Junior Master Gardener Program The American Horticultural Society KidsGardening.org American Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureIowa Agriculture Literacy FoundationCalifornia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (CFAITC) Washington Ag in the Classroom National WIC Association California WIC Association Clemson Extension School & Community Gardening FoodCorps Whole Kids Foundation Life Lab Common Threads Farm

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

🥕 VOTE FOR LIFE LAB! 🥕Help us grow healthy children and reduce your carbon footprint. 🌿EVERY time you visit ANY New Leaf Community Market (@NewLeafCMarket) from now until June 20th, find the PAPER BALLOT in the store & VOTE FOR LIFE LAB to be a recipient of the Envirotoken program. 10 cents from every reusable bag can be donated to us. This support has provided a wonderful boost for us over the years–thanks for your votes!

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

🏳️‍🌈. Happy #PrideMonth! 🏳️‍🌈We take the time to honor some of the leaders that have helped make the month of June a celebration. Pride month wasn’t always parades, rainbow flags and fun. The beginnings of Pride month started with the Stonewall Riots in 1969, however these protests were the culmination of decades of civil rights movements. We honor the leaders of these protests that not only created representation for the queer community but also created representation for black and trans members of the community. Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, and Stormé DeLarverie were leaders in the Stonewall Protest. These trans women and women of color fought and advocated for LGBTQIA rights.This past month PVUSD joined in with California public schools in raising the Progress Pride flag, which includes black, brown, light blue, pink, and white stripes that brings awareness to marginalized people of color, trans individuals, and those living with HIV/AIDS and those who have been lost. Life Lab proudly stands in solidarity with the queer community we invite people to learn more about Stonewall, Pride, and the leaders who have helped us get to where we are today.

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2 weeks ago

Readers To Eaters

June is National Pollinator Month! #GoodRead: The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter by Shabazz Larkin. bit.ly/2VLmEPG*Best Picture Books 2019* "Larkin spins a buoyant monologue to his young sons about why bees are so important and how they are analogous to rambunctious children; the narrative is threaded with unconditional love for both subjects. Hand lettering, bold coloring, and textural, mixed-media artwork add energy while evocative language makes for a spirited and joy-filled read-aloud."—School Library JournalVisit our partner Whole Kids Foundation‘s "World of Honeybees" with extensive resource and you can also order their Honey Bee Activity Box, including a copy of THE THING ABOUT BEES. bit.ly/2M7VVIM. See the WKF reading guide along with with Shabazz reading the book for PBSThirteen WNET New York with his wonderful message on how to care for bees, our environment, and ourselves. bit.ly/34B9f1x..#NationalPollinatorMonth #Pollinators #Bees #Pollination #BeeEducation #BeeGarden #SchoolGarden #EnvironmentalEducation #OutdoorEducation #SciecneEducation #STEM #FarmToSchool #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC The Bee Cause Project The Pollinator Partnership National Farm to School Network National Agriculture in the ClassroomAmerican Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureClemson Extension School & Community Gardening SC Ag in the Classroom South Carolina Farm to School Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation Life LabNC Farm Bureau "Ag in the Classroom"Utah Agriculture in the Classroom FoodCorps Chef Ann Foundation Pilot Light Common Threads Edible Schoolyard NYC The Edible Schoolyard Project

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

🗣️PSA: Life Lab is Hiring 🗣️ We are seeking energetic, experienced and dedicated individuals to join the Life Lab team!We are hiring for 3 different positions:🌱 Pajaro Valley Partner Schools Program Coordinator (Bilingual)🥕 Nutrition Educator in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District🌸 Life Lab Garden Educator in the Pajaro Valley Unified School DistrictFor more information and how to apply, click the link below.lifelab.org/jobs/

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1 month ago

Life Lab

💚Learn to make a Life Lab favorite: Spring Rolls with Sunbutter Dipping Sauce!😋come hungry for this Life Lab virtual community cooking class presented by Life Lab Educator Sierra Barsten and co-sponsored with Pajaro Valley Unified School District and the Sage Garden Project. Join the live stream on May 27th at www.youtube.com/c/pvusdstreaming/live 🌱🥕🥦#springrolls #LifeLab #schoolgardens #kidscook #healthyfood #delicious #cookingclass

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1 month ago

Nikki Patterson

Planting Seeds: A Conversation About Planned Giving 🌱Join us Life Lab Saturday May 15th at 10am for a gentle, free “no ask” opportunity to learn more about financial planning and the reciprocal personal and community benefits of planned giving🥕Similar to a garden, all that is needed is some planning and vision. “You don’t need to be wealthy to make an impact, just an opportunity to learn how to make the most of what you have.” 💚Message me for event link ✨#giving #lifelab #schoolgardens #retirement #plannedgiving #loveoflearning #sharingvalues #legacy

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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
We Are Hiring!

We are excited to announce 3 new job openings.

For more information and to apply see below

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