Life Lab

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

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Sopa de Piedra

Stone Soup Haga una sopa riquísima con lo que tiene a mano. ¡Es mejor cuando cada miembro de la familia aporta un ingrediente diferente a la olla, e incluso mejor cuando se cuenta la historia de ‘Stone Soup’ antes de comenzar a cocinar! Para ninxs con edades 5 [...]

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Mi Pequeño Jardín

Mi Pequeño JardínDiseñe su propio mini huerto comestible con galletas saladas, hummus y verduras y hierbas frescas. Edad 6+ ~ 30 min Esta es nuestra receta favorita del jardín porque es divertida, inspira la creatividad, ¡y anima a lxs niñxs a probar nuevas c [...]

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Everyone Needs a Rock

Everyone Needs a Rock Kids use their senses to explore and identify rocks, Ages 2+, 15 min+ Start by asking your kids, “If you lost your favorite possession, what would you do to try and find it? What senses would you use?” Discuss what senses can be helpful t [...]

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Paper Pots

Paper Pots Make paper pots with your kids and learn about reusing newspaper to help your garden grow! Ages 5+, 30 min+ Reuse newspaper to help get your seeds started in a pot you can make at home with your kids.  There is no need to go out and buy small pots when [...]

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Samara Seeds

Samara Seeds Create a physical model of a seed that soars and watch how it flies! Ages 5+, 30 min+ A samara is a type of fruit surrounding a seed in which a flattened wing of papery tissue develops, allowing the wind to carry the seed away from the parent plant. T [...]

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Playing Human Camera

Playing Human CameraPretend to be cameras and photographers and you and your kids will see the garden in a whole new light. Ages 2+, 15 min+ Head outside and show your child how you will guide her safely and then have her close her eyes.  Tell her, “Now I’m the [...]

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Flower Bling

Flower BlingCreate nature-inspired jewelry using fresh flowers and fishing line. 30 min, Ages 5+ Spring and summer is a great time to create beautiful necklaces, bracelets or crowns made out of flowers found in nature and some 40 pound gauge fishing line.  Flowers [...]

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Family Walks

Family Walks Easy low-prep ideas to get kids out exploring nature on a walk. Ages 2+, 15 min+ Family walks have become a daily occurrence for us recently and we have found some creative ways to explore our natural surroundings. Giving kids a sense of purpose or ju [...]

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Rainbow Chips

Rainbow Chips Explore your yard or nearby outdoor space for all the colors of the rainbow. Use paint samples or other color chips as a guide. 15+ minutes, Ages 2+ The outdoors are full of vibrant colors but we don’t always take the time to look closely at just [...]

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Amazing Reseeding Annuals

Reseeding AnnualsI call them "amazing" because this bunch of plants has the ability to surprise and delight every year that they return to the garden! Self-sowing, or reseeding plants create seeds that re-emerge as plants year after year. Some gardeners refer to these p [...]

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Next Generation Science in the Garden Webinar

Where better to explore ecological interdependence, growth and development of organisms, structure and function, adaptation, and the environmental impact of human activity than in an outdoor garden classroom? In this edWeb webinar Whitney Cohen, Education Director at L [...]

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Card Hike

Card Hike Send kids out on a hike to complete fun, nature-inspired tasks along the way. Ages 2+, 15 min+ Sometimes our kids need a little extra motivation to get out and get hiking and this is a great activity to add a little spark.  Before we head out, I make so [...]

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Nature Journaling

Nature JournalingKids create their own garden journals and use them to record observations of nature in the garden, through drawing, writing, and painting. Journaling brings literacy, art, and creativity into the outdoors and can be used as a one time activity or as an [...]

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Wheat Heads

Wheat HeadsMake and decorate a planter with faces that will grow wheat hair you’ll be able to make fun haircuts to. Ages 5+, ~ 30min Looking for an activity that involves reusable material, gardening, and craft-making? Wheat heads is a favorite activity in which [...]

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Rock Painting

Rock PaintingFind some rocks and paint beautiful designs, creatures and other nature-inspired themes on your rocks. Ages 2+, 30 min Add a pop of color to your garden or window sill or create a pet you don’t need to take care of! All you need for this activity is [...]

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Sheet Shake

Sheet Shake Use a sheet to explore just how much life can live in a backyard bush or shrub. Ages 5+, 15+ minutes What use does an old bed sheet have in a garden?  It’s a wonderful exploration tool for examining the wondrous amounts of life that a single bush c [...]

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Six Seed Trail Mix

Six Seed Trail Mix Make a good snack while thinking about plant parts, especially seeds, and perhaps doing some seed math in the process! 20 minutes, Ages 5+ A variety of edible seeds, roasted or raw, such as:  Pumpkin seeds Sunflower seeds Almonds W [...]

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Citrus Salsa

Citrus Salsa Delicious winter/spring salsa that will keep you returning to the salsa bowl! 30 min, Ages 5+ 4 cups peeled & finely chopped citrus fruit (oranges, grapefruit, mandarins) ½ cup finely chopped onion ¾ cup loosely packed chopped cilantro (sm [...]

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Pesto Green Sauce

Pesto Green Sauce A mouth-watering dip/spread/sauce full of flavor! 20 minutes, Ages 5+ Classic Basil Pesto: 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed ½ cup grated parmesan cheese ½ cup olive oil 6 T. pine nuts or walnuts 4 garlic cloves Place all t [...]

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Herbed Flat Bread

Herbed Flat Bread Use any fresh herbs you have on hand or in your garden to add flavor to a delicious whole grain flatbread. Mold the bread into any fun shape you want! 90 minutes, Ages 5+ 1 Tablespoon yeast 1 teaspoon of sugar  2 cups warm water 2 teas [...]

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Making an Olla

Making an Olla Use terra cotta pots to create a homemade Olla. 30 min, Ages 5+ Ollas (pronounced “oy-yahs”) are unglazed clay/terra-cotta pots with a bottle or tapered shape that are buried in the ground with the top/neck exposed above the soil surface and [...]

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Pressed Flower Card

Pressed Flower Card Use flowers, leaves and some heavy books to create natural art on a card. 1 hr, Ages 5+ This activity will inspire observation and appreciation of nature while also making a beautiful craft. Start by encouraging kids to observe the plants arou [...]

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Leafy Water Play

Leafy Water PlayExploring waters' wondrous properties by observing beads of water on different leaves. 15+ minutes, Ages 2+ Let's explore waters' wondrous properties! I watched two kids pass beads of water back and forth on nasturtium leaves. Their curiosity of wa [...]

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Spider Web Hunt

Spider Web Hunt Search for sneaky spider webs. Using a spray bottle with water, spray gently and watch the web design come alive. ~30 minute, Ages 2+ A kid once asked me, "What do spider homes look like?" So together we set off on an adventure to find out. We fir [...]

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Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels Twist soft dough into your own designs and enjoy a hearty treat. 60 - 90 Minutes, Ages 2+ 1 package active dry yeast (.25 ounce or roughly 2 teaspoons) 2 T. sugar 1 1/8 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 cups warm water 4 cups all-purpose flour (Life [...]

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Veggie Roll-Ups

Veggie Roll-Ups Roll up your favorite veggies and dip or spread and slice to create yummy veggie art! 20 minutes Ages 4+ Fresh vegetables from the garden (Just about anything you have to harvest can work here. Nice raw options include beets, carrots, green beans [...]

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Sun Tea

Sun Tea Make a refreshing garden tea with the power of the sun! 15 minutes prep. Ages 2+ 1 large glass jar with lid 1 handful of fresh or dried mint leaves or other suitable plants, or a combination (examples: lemon balm, peppermint, spearmint, chamomile, ros [...]

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Kale Smash

Kale Smash Kids of all ages can tear kale leaves and massage the kale along with avocado and lemon to make this tasty treat! Ages 4+ 30 minutes 2 bunches of Kale, such as Dino, Red Russian, etc., torn into bite sized pieces 2 Avocados 4 Tbsp. of Lime or Le [...]

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Honey Seed Snacks

Honey Seed Snacks Remember to thank the bees when you enjoy these honey and seed treats! Lots of fun for little hands to shape these into balls… or moon shapes… or worms! Ages 2+ 30+ minutes ½ cup carob or cocoa powder ½ cup honey ½ cup peanut butte [...]

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Seed Spheres

Seed Spheres Make spheres out of mud and native flower seeds. Dry them in the sun, and then toss them out to fill an area with native flowers. Ages 5+. ~30-45 min Materials: A bowl, pail or bucket you don’t mind getting dirty A trowel A full watering c [...]

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Garden Frittata

Garden Frittata A perfect spring meal using fresh or dried herbs, greens and other veggies you may have on hand Ages 5+. ~60 min 2-3 cups pre-cooked vegetables (could include garlic, onion, chard, kale, spinach, artichoke hearts, peppers, zucchini, potato, brocco [...]

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Garden Green Smoothies

Garden Green Smoothie Blend some fresh greens and fresh or frozen fruit to make a yummy smoothie, and toast to the garden! Ages 2+. ~30 min 5 chard leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped (or torn) or 1 cup of spinach leaves 1 cup water 1 cup plain yogur [...]

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Stone Soup

Stone SoupMake a delicious soup using what you have on hand. Best when each family member contributes a different ingredient to the pot, and even better when the Stone Soup story is told to kick off the cooking! Ages 5+ ~60 min+ 8 cups veggie broth 3/4 cup dried l [...]

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Little Munchkins

Little Munchkins Pretend you have shrunk to the size of an ant and imagine the world from that perspective! Ages 5+ ~15 min For this activity you’ll need a string (about 24 inches long), colored pencils, paper, a firm book or clipboard to draw on and a magnifyi [...]

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Pollinator Observation

Pollinator Observations Use a tally sheet to observe pollinators visiting a flower. If you want to be a “citizen scientist” upload your data to the Great Sunflower Project. Ages 6+ 15 min+ This activity is perfect for window-watching or outdoor quiet and refl [...]

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Bug Races

Bug Races Search for bugs, set up a race and watch them go! Ages 2+ ~30min Easy, fun and a great energizer! Take kids outside and look for bugs that can race against each other. The best places to find bugs are under rocks, pots or other cool, dark, and moist pla [...]

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Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other

Six of One, Half Dozen of Another Use your senses to find and classify contrasting objects Age 6+ ~30min This is a great activity for making detailed observations and improving your child’s appreciation of our natural world in a fun and engaging way. The first [...]

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Root View Cups

Root View CupsUse a clear plastic cup to view and explore how plants grow Ages 5+ ~45min Looking for a project kids can continue to track and monitor over the next 3-4 weeks? This project is a great way for kids to examine and observe how roots grow over time throu [...]

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Tape Bracelets

Tape Bracelets Make a decorative bracelet using tape and found objects Ages 3+ ~30 min This is my daughter’s current favorite outdoor activity because it allows her to search for things, be creative, and in her words, “make something fancy!” Gently wrap a [...]

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Grant Searching Resources

  The Kitchen Community's Grant List   Captain Planet Foundation Grants and their External Grants List   Whole Kids Foundation Grants   San Diego Master Gardeners Association's School Garden Grant List A list of grants for scho [...]

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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 BackPocketLearning.org, 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! BackPocketLearning.org 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: lifelab.org/sgso 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
www.amahmutsunlandtrust.org/

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 Lifelab.org/fallbenefit 🌱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 www.LifeLab.org/fallbenefit

Visit bit.ly/ucscharvestfest 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 Lifelab.org/fallbenefit youtu.be/uEAv4SabLoA 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 LifeLab.org/fall-benefit
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
zoom.us/webinar/register/2015977037712/WN_JbIOXX6RQnCDaw6fNxbz2w 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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