Life Lab

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

We’d love to have you share your interest in working at Life Lab. Visit this form to share the positions you’d be interested in and we will connect with you as more positions open. 


Current Opening with Life Lab

Bilingual Garden Educator  Full-time (40 hours per week)

Job Announcement Application Deadline: December 6, 2019 with rolling review of earlier applications

Start date: February 24, 2020

Life Lab seeks an energetic, experienced and dedicated professional who loves teaching children and has a passion for training interns to use the garden as a learning environment. 

About Life Lab

Life Lab is a dynamic and growing nonprofit organization located on the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) Farm.  Life Lab cultivates children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based programs

Founded in 1979, Life Lab is a pioneer and national leader in garden-based learning, providing programs, training, and curriculum to inspire children and educators locally and nationally. We serve more than 5,000 children each year through programs at partner elementary schools across Santa Cruz County and through field trips and day camps in our Garden Classroom in Santa Cruz and our Blooming Classroom in Watsonville. Through professional development workshops , curriculum sales, and a dynamic knowledge network, Life Lab also positively impacts the lives of more than 500,000 children across the U.S. annually.

Core Values

Life Lab values collaboration, authentic communication, connection with people and nature, and open-inquiring minds. We also value individual initiative and cultivate a culture in which it can thrive. At Life Lab, we know that having a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives on our team improves our decision-making and programs. In addition, we recognize that staff members whose identities and lived experiences are relevant to those of the students we serve help us have the greatest impact. Therefore, we strongly encourage applicants who have experience working with Latinx populations from agricultural communities to apply.

Position Description:  The Garden Educator will assist the Garden Programs Manager in running field trip programs, summer camps, and internships at the Blooming Classroom in Watsonville and at the Garden Classroom on the UCSC farm. This is a 40 hour per week position with varying responsibilities depending on the season. During the fall/winter/spring months the Garden Educator runs themed field trip programs for local elementary school students and preschoolers and supervises field trip guide interns. During the summer, the Garden Educator assistant-directs our Wildlands & Watering Cans summer day camp and develops a new summer camp program at the Blooming Classroom site along with the Garden Programs Manager.


This position’s duties change seasonally with the programming offered in the Blooming Classroom & Garden Classroom. 

Summer Camp Duties (mid- June through mid-August)

  • Assistant Direct Wildlands & Watering Cans camp for 7-11 year olds. 
  • Coordinate tasks for camp prep week (second week of June) and delegate jobs to available camp staff during that week.
  • Keep inventory of camp supplies and prepare weekly shopping lists.
  • Co-lead camp training the third week in June.
  • Set up and clean up with counselors, Monday – Friday from 8:15 am – 4:15 pm.
  • Lead snack and lunch time songs and whole group activities as well as telling stories at storytime.  
  • Fill in for counselors when needed.
  • During camp, supervise counselors and manage camp staff schedules and mentoring.
  • During camp-season, manage and complete list of camp logistical and “behind-the-scenes” duties, delegating these tasks as staff is available.
  • Coordinate with Field Production Manager about camp harvesting.
  • Manage discipline policy for campers. Maintain direct communications with parents during camp.
  • Create schedule for camp interns and volunteers (high school students) and supervise/mentor camp interns & volunteers.
  • Debrief the summer at a meeting with the Garden Programs Manager in Sept. 

Field Trip Duties  (mid-August through mid- June) 

Fall and spring season: lead field trips 3- 4 times per week, 8:00am – 2:30pm.

Winter season: lead field trips 2- 3 times a week, 8:00am – 2:30pm.

Field trip duties include:

  • Lead introduction and wrap-up of field trip program with classes of 20-30 students.
  • Coordinate field trip logistics (oversee setup & cleanup, make plans with interns each morning, greet classes, collect payment, run timing, troubleshoot during the program, collect assessment data, bring classes to & from parking lot and ensure safety as vehicles cross the bike path, restock field trip supplies, make rain plans if needed.)
  • In collaboration with Garden Programs Manager, plan training for UCSC student interns 3x/year (once for each season).
  • Lead training sessions for student interns, preparing them for what is often their first teaching experience.
  • Mentor interns throughout the season, providing feedback on their teaching and providing materials/activities to improve teaching skills, help interns meet their internship goals & hour requirements.
  • Occasionally supervise senior interns on curriculum, media, outreach, or related projects.
  • Act as a reference for past interns, occasionally writing letters of recommendation.
  • Assist in assessment, brainstorming and implementing program improvements.
  • Prepare field trip materials.
  • Coordinate with Field Production Manager about field trip harvesting.

Summer Camp Planning Duties (December – June)

  • Plan camp curriculum, schedules, training schedules, prep lists, and job descriptions.
  • Order & prepare materials for camp.
  • Meet monthly with Garden Programs Manager for camp planning.
  • Assist with selecting camp volunteers.
  • Interview and select camp staff in collaboration with Garden Programs Manager.
  • Assist with camp registration.

Blooming Classroom Garden Management (A few hours a week, September through May)

  • Along with Garden Programs Manager, keep track of progress for garden projects.
  • Assist in harvesting and crop planting of garden field.
  • Lead garden work days with interns at least a couple times per season.

Other Duties (throughout the year)

  • Attend monthly staff meetings.
  • Attend bi-weekly check in meetings with Garden Programs Manager. 
  • Attend Pajaro Valley team check-in meetings.  
  • Coordinate with other Life Lab programs on space use in the Garden Classroom.
  • Occasional weekend work required; representing Life Lab at off-site events such as conferences, helping with Life Lab events such as the Annual Benefit Brunch.


Key qualities and skills we are looking for in a Bilingual (Spanish/English) Garden Educator:

  • A warm personable nature
  • Cross-cultural competency, with a deep commitment to equity and inclusion
  • Excellent verbal and written skills communicating and collaborating with diverse audiences, colleagues, teachers and students
  • Exercise of good judgment and maintaining confidentiality
  • A deep love of teaching, using positive discipline practices and an awareness of the social and emotional well-being of students
  • Teaching experience with experiential and hands-on learning.
  • Patience to support and nurture interns that are new to teaching as well as provide positive reinforcement and feedback
  • Willingness to schedule vacations around program times unless coverage can be arranged
  • Detail-oriented, organized and capable of providing a professional front to our programs
  • Individual initiative within a collaborative group culture
  • Comfort in leadership roles, such as camp staff coordination and culture-building 
  • Local roots and time spent teaching in Watsonville, CA preferred
  • Self-awareness and excellent interpersonal communication with team members
  • Flexibility, a sense of humor, and the confidence to be silly 
  • A passion for Life Lab’s mission and work

Required Experience

  • Bachelors degree, preferably in a related field
  • Minimum 2 years experience in education (classroom teaching, outdoor and environmental education)
  • Verbal and written Spanish language fluency
  • Knowledge of basic gardening/farming, biology, and ecology. Previous work in a garden or farm, especially an educational setting, preferred
  • Experience managing or leading a summer camp or an outdoor educational program and supervising staff/volunteers
  • Experience working with diverse student populations, Latinx communities preferred. 
  • Current certification in adult & pediatric CPR & First Aid, and commitment to maintaining certification
  • Valid driver’s license and access to a reliable car

About the Location

The Life Lab Garden Classroom & office are located on the UC Santa Cruz farm, a 5-10 minute walk on a dirt path from the nearest parking lot. Closer parking is available for anyone with a disabled parking placard, and Life Lab makes reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with known physical or mental disabilities. The Blooming Classroom is a private garden a 15 minute drive from Watsonville in rural residential/agricultural land with parking available on site.  In keeping with the working farm environment, dress is casual. The office and surrounding Garden Classroom, and Blooming Classroom are nonsmoking areas. 


Salary: $45,000 to 48,000 full time annually, depending on qualifications.

Generous paid vacation, sick time, and holidays.

Excellent health, dental and vision insurance as part of Life Lab’s group plans, including family coverage. (Life Lab contributes up to $1,300 monthly to these combined premiums).

403(b) retirement plan available for employee contributions (no employer contribution). 

Application Process

Please send a cover letter and resumé to Amy Carlson at between now and December 6, 2019. Please include how you heard about the position in your cover letter to help us improve our recruiting. We will review materials and schedule interviews on a rolling basis through mid December. A background check will be conducted with finalists for this position. 

Life Lab is committed to a policy of non-discrimination as an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment candidates and employees will be considered and managed without regard to race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other basis in accordance with applicable law.



Other good places to search and post garden-based learning jobs

    • The Ecological Farming Association hosts a sustainable agriculture job list. Join their job e-list at



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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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1 week 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 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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