Life Lab

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

Category : Garden-Based Learning

Garden Tour Promoters Pack

As part of Life Lab's 40th Anniversary we organized and promoted "Santa Cruz County Open School Gardens Day" This was a one day event where 14 local school gardens opened their gates for community building and garden tours. Our post event assessment noted that about 300 [...]

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Santa Cruz County Open School Gardens Day

Santa Cruz County Open School Gardens Day Saturday, October 12th,2019 Free Admission Connect with the vibrant school garden culture of Santa Cruz County! The greater community is invited to visit area school gardens for [...]

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Engaging University Students in Local School Gardens

Engaging University Students in Local School Gardens:  A Toolkit for School Districts, School Garden Support Organizations and Universities Created by UC Davis Student Farm, Life Lab, and UC Berkeley This guidebook summarizes three different models of U [...]

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kids gardening sewing seeds


Webinar and Curriculum – The Soil Story: Unearthing Connections Between Climate Change, the Food We Eat, and Human Health

  NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project webinar The Soil Story: Unearthing Connections Between Climate Change, the Food We Eat, and Human Health presented by Jessica Handy, Education Coordinator for Kiss the Ground, and Whitney Cohen, Education Director of [...]

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plante stewards


Outdoor Classroom Management Webinar

View Life Lab and EdWeb's Growing School Garden Community webinar on Outdoor Classroom Management View the archived webinar here! View all our webinars. View Life Lab's resources on effective outdoor classroom management Presenters: Whitney Cohen, Education Dir [...]

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girl with binoculars


Steps to a Successful Garden Workday

-by John Fisher Life Lab's Director of Partnerships and Programs This post is part of our Sustaining School Gardens Series Over the years I have led many garden workdays at the Life Lab Garden Classroom and school gardens across California. In addition to the obv [...]

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kids in the garden


We’re Changing the Nature of Education

View Life Lab's Education Director Whitney Cohen's inspiring description of how Life Lab is changing the nature of education to the audience of our 2014 Benefit Brunch. Please consider supporting Life Lab's work. Make a donation today.     For th [...]

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changing the nature education


One Garden, Many Schools: Multi-Use School Garden Models

Life Lab sprouted at Green Acres Elementary School in 1979. Most of the gardens that we have worked with over the past 35 years are located on, and serve one school site. While visiting school gardens in Denmark and Norway I was impressed by their model of one large gar [...]

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Spring Creek Gardens


Regional Support Models for Sustaining School Gardens Webinar

Join Life Lab and EdWeb's Growing School Garden Community for a webinar on Regional Support Models for Sustaining School Gardens. Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 4pm / Eastern Time View the archived version here. Read our article on One Garden, Many Schools. View all ou [...]

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2014 California School Garden Survey

May 28, 2014 Press Release - Survey Says... School Gardens Thriving in California – Results from the California School Garden Survey. Life Lab, in collaboration with the California School Garden Network, conducted the California School Garden Survey to gain i [...]

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Common Core in the Garden

Here at Life Lab, we have cross-mapped every lesson in The Growing Classroom with the new Common Core Math and Language Arts standards and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) being rolled out in schools across the country! We've also cross-mapped every lesso [...]

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kids in the garden measuring plants


The Danes Are Here

We have been having a great time showing visitors from Denmark some of the best farm to school and school garden programs in the region. The Danish study tour group, organized by Life Lab, is composed of eighteen government ministers, university faculty and graduate stu [...]

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EdWeb’s Growing School Gardens Online Community and Webinars

Life Lab is a proud partner of EdWeb's online community and a contributor to their school garden webinars. Join the community and online forum at Ed Web View archives of webinars by Life Lab Inquiry in the Garden: Facilitating Student-Led Investigatio [...]

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Fall 2013 Newsletter

View our September 2013 Newsletter View newsletter archives Program Updates Meet Faith - Support our Work Summer Accomplishments Announcing the National School Garden Network The Top Ten of Farm- and Garden-Based Education Garden Tips and Educator Resources [...]

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Turning Teachers into Gardeners in Washington D.C.

Life Lab has been delighted to work with a very forward-thinking organization in the nation's capital, DC Greens, to train garden coordinators through their Growing Garden Teachers program. DC Greens' innovative approach to regional school garden support was recentl [...]

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School Garden Design Webinar

Life Lab's John Fisher led a photo filled webinar on School Garden Design as part of EdWeb's Growing School Gardens Community. Design Ideas for a Fun, Successful Instructional School Garden Webinar shares school garden design elements from school garden across the n [...]

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Google Hangout: Training Garden-Based Educators

Life Lab participated in an Edible Schoolyard Google Hangout on the topic of training garden-based educators. We were one of five programs to share different training models and strategies for creating and sustaining school garden programs. Featured Participants and [...]

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December 2012 Life Lab Newsletter

  You don't want to miss our December 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Educator Resources Planting Fruits Trees and Vines in School Gardens Sustaining School Gardens - Funding Garden Coordinators Book Review: Our School Garden! Recipe: H [...]

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Sustaining School Gardens – Funding Garden Coordinators

Model Policies and Organizations from Across the Country Written by Whitney Cohen. Life Lab Education Director School gardens are fantastic! (To be convinced, view The Garden, A Master Teacher) But that's not what this article's about, so let me start over. School g [...]

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Summer 2012 Newsletter

  You don't want to miss our Summer 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Educator Resources Seed Saving Resources and Video Growing Questions - Inquiry in the Garden Teaching at a Farmer's Market Recipes: Zucchini Baba Ganoush and More Disc [...]

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Spring 2012 Newsletter

  View Newsletter View Archives     Garden Tips and Recipe Make a Human Sundial Edible Crop Planning Recipe - Kale Salad Program Updates The Book of Garden Projects for Kids Update on the California School Garden Training Progra [...]

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2012 Winter Newsletter

You don't want to miss our Winter 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Lessons Lesson - Six Seed Trail Mix Making Garden Signs - Tips and Photos Lesson Packet - Feeling Fine With Fresh Foods Recipe - Winter Squash Teacakes Program Updates 2011 Pr [...]

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Introducing the California School Garden Training Program

Life Lab, along with organizational partners from the UC Davis Childrens' Garden Program and the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego, will train 1,500 educators, volunteers, parents and school garden support professionals throughout the state of Californ [...]

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Asphalt to Ecosystems – Greening Your Schoolyard

Sharon Danks, author of Asphalt to Ecosystems - Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformations, shares a vision of creating outdoor learning spaces as places of beauty and inspiration for natural interactions. From her travels around the world documenting stellar example [...]

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2011 ~ City of Santa Cruz Declares May 1, 20ll “Garden Classroom Day”

Santa Cruz City Council Member David Terrazas surprised us all at our May Day Benefit Brunch by declaring the day Garden Classroom Day in the City of Santa Cruz. The resolution was officially proclaimed at the May 10 city council meeting. View the Mayor's Proclamation [...]

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Cookin’ With Kids

There are lots of activities that can be really beneficial to your children such as getting a tennis coach for beginners, but research on nutrition education and cooking activities with kids consistently point to positive and lasting affects on their perception of f [...]

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2010 – 2011 California School Garden Survey

The 2013--14 California School Garden Survey is now open. Life Lab, in collaboration with the California School Garden Network, conducted a 2011 survey of California School Gardens. The information gathered from this survey will help those that are creating and s [...]

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English Language Development Bears Fruit in School Gardens

Life Lab's Language Acquisition and Science Education in Rural Schools (LASERS)  program showed the positive links between language development and hands-on science using the Life Lab Science curriculum. This theme was recently revisited by the National Gardening As [...]

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Chicken Coop Design

Many folks have asked us for our chicken coop design. Here it is as a four page PDF(1.4mb). This coop is: easy to clean with its side access door crafty with its viewing windows and hinged roof option secure with a nest box and entrance that can be easily [...]

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Full Circle Farm – “A school district’s Farm”

Full Circle Farm is an 11-acre organic, educational farm that puts fresh food in Santa Clara Unified School District cafeterias while helping local youth experience success while they develop job and life skills through the growing, harvesting and marketing of fr [...]

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Citysprouts an Effective School Gardening Program!

Citysprouts helps a Cambridge, MA school district create learning gardens in 12 schoolyards, and supports teachers' use of the gardens as a direct extension of their classroom teaching. During the 2008-2009 school year they documented 73% of classroom teachers using [...]

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The Garden, A Master Teacher – An Essay

In our responses to the editor of The Atlantic we ask that they publish The Garden,  A Master Teacher written by a Life Lab Camp parent Kristen Berhan. Kristen writes: One of the complex questions I have been living is the question of education. This is a ques [...]

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Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden

The Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden (CSYSG) Video Series is a part of the CSYSG Training Model. This workshop has been given to over a thousand educators in California and it includes the California School Garden Network's book Gardens for Learning, participa [...]

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Worm Composting

Everyone should learn to compost with worms. They are natures way of recycling so they can be greatly beneficial to the environment. It can be good for teaching kids how to make less waste and how giving back to the envirnment can be a good thing. By showing them wo [...]

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The Garden, A Master Teacher

Printable version with references (PDF) Along with our rebuttals to Cultivating Failure we submitted this essay for publication in The Atlantic.   Preface When I was a child and the world seemed grim I had a place that I would go to and find myself again. [...]

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School Garden History

The VictoryGrower website supports the notion that gardening is an excellent way to increase food security (the amount and quality of food) in America. Gardening enables youth, families and entire communities to improve their access to Good Food.This section of VictoryG [...]

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2 days 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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3 days 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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5 days 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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2 weeks 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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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

🐝Join us this Wednesday 9/9 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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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

💚Join us this Wednesday 9/2 at 11am PST💚

🌱COVID-Friendly Outdoor Classroom Infrastructure & Design

There is an urgent need to reimagine PreK-12 schools in order to reopen safely and equitably. Repurposing outdoor spaces is a cost-effective way to reduce the burden on indoor classrooms while providing fresh air, hands-on learning opportunities, and the health benefits associated with increased access to nature.

Join Sharon Danks, a leader of the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative (www.greenschoolyards.org/covid-learn-outside), author of Asphalt to Ecosystems, and founder of Green Schoolyards America, to learn about her work supporting the creation of outdoor classrooms for reopening schools.

For more information and to register click the below
zoom.us/webinar/register/9215974421157/WN_6vrM2853RXOrAk3wvEy9sQ See MoreSee Less

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

🚨Join us TODAY at 11am PST🚨

🔎Garden Educator Distance Teaching and Learning🔎

Many months of distance teaching and learning have led to the development of a treasure trove of innovative teaching tools and the launching of new educational program models. For this Virtual Gathering we will offer everyone an opportunity to introduce programs that have been developed/adapted to meet the unique educational needs presented by COVID-19 along with other support resources that have been created to share with educators and families.

Join us as we discuss

🌐 Online lesson plans and other resources for educators and families

✏️ Non-digital tools and methods being used to continue learning from a distance

📏 Ideas for evaluating the impact of your distance teaching efforts

If you’d like to share during this time or have specific questions for us to address, please indicate them in the registration process.

For more information and to register click the link below
zoom.us/webinar/register/5215977036868/WN_7UndcsjiSBq8xE_C6Gs2oQ See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

💚Join us this Wednesday 8/26 at 11am PST💚

🔎Garden Educator Distance Teaching and Learning🔎

Many months of distance teaching and learning have led to the development of a treasure trove of innovative teaching tools and the launching of new educational program models. For this Virtual Gathering we will offer everyone an opportunity to introduce programs that have been developed/adapted to meet the unique educational needs presented by COVID-19 along with other support resources that have been created to share with educators and families.

We would also like to hear about ideas for evaluating the impact of distance teaching efforts. 🧠

For more information and to register click the link below.

zoom.us/webinar/register/5215977036868/WN_7UndcsjiSBq8xE_C6Gs2oQ See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

🚨Happening TODAY at 11am PST🚨

🍃School Garden Care and Management During Covid-19 🍃

A lot has changed since we last discussed this topic in April! Join us again to discuss garden care and management. During this virtual gathering School Garden Support Organizations will share how they are supporting their staff, teachers and the community to care for school gardens this fall.

For more information and to register
zoom.us/webinar/register/8715977036277/WN_p-3b2xRXSleM_u3KfVziyg 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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