Life Lab

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

2021 Update: Camps cancelled this year

Hello Life Lab Camp Community,

While it has been a wild year of change, we hope that you are thriving despite the strain of these unusual times.  Thank you for your patience in awaiting news about our summer camp at the Garden Classroom.  We have also been anticipating and waiting for sunny days outside on the farm, playing, singing, and building up our community of kids after a year of isolation.  Despite our desire to see us all together again, we have decided to cancel all Life Lab camps for this Summer.

Our decision has layers to it.  One layer to consider is the restrictions that UCSC has placed on how many people can occupy the farm at any given time.  In response to the pandemic, UCSC has severely restricted site use over the last year, including the farm, and while the school is slowly opening up access, some of their restrictions will last through the Summer.  At this point in planning for Summer site use, the amount of people and kids allowed on the farm is limited.

The next layer became clear once we began thinking about what we could do if we didn’t run camp.

For some time now, we at Life Lab have been planning to work on developing programs and facilities at our Blooming Classroom site located in western Watsonville, so that many more children in the community can access hands-on garden-based learning experiences. Although eager to dive into this work we haven’t had the capacity to do so while running our various programs throughout the year.

When we learned about the restrictions impacting our Summer Camp program we saw this year as an opportunity to reset, develop the facilities in all of our educational gardens, and pay particular attention to expanding our programs at the Blooming Classroom. The Blooming Classroom is another beautiful educational garden that hosts Field Trips and Afterschool Programs within the Pajaro Valley School District to engage Elementary students in science exploration, nutrition education and nature connection activities. To learn more about the Blooming Classroom and our Pajaro Valley initiative you can click here.

While we are so very excited to use the summertime to develop programs and facilities for our beloved gardens, it doesn’t diminish how sad we are to go one more year without our camp programs.  We know how important camp experiences are for the kids in our community, especially after this year with so much screen time and lack of connection. Life Lab has not made this decision lightly, but in the spirit of improving our programs for all of the kids we serve.

We are still exploring some possibilities for opening up the Garden Classroom this summer for visiting families in small groups. More information to come!

Thank you so much for your love and dedication to Life Lab camp. You can sign up for our email list here (be sure to select the “Camp Programs” option to get the updates). You will receive the most up to date information as our plans evolve.

Gardens of Gratitude,

Cara Wild-Sundell, Wildlands and Watering Cans Camp Director
Daniela Etchegaray, Garden Sprouts & OWLS Camp Director
Jennifer Eckert-Bernau, Garden Sprouts TTh Director

 

 


Click to jump to information about: 

Garden Sprouts Summer Day Camp for 4-6 year olds

Come explore the garden and farm with us! Our camp days include harvesting, making garden snacks, singing, storytelling, garden caretaking, garden crafts, and exploration of the natural world. Each day has a theme (past examples: Bugs, or Seeds, or Birds). This camp serves 24 campers with a 1:6 ratio of counselors to campers, allowing us to tailor camp activities to the ages and interests of our campers. We offer a MWF program and a TTh program. The camps offer the same curriculum so please register for either the MWF program or the TTh program, not both. This year we do offer one M-F session for one week (Session 4). After-care (1:00-3:00) available for all sessions (limited number of spaces).

Monday/Wednesday/Friday Garden Sprouts 2020 dates

  • Session 1 – June 22, 24, 26, 29, July 1  (MWF 9:00-1:00) (no camp July 3)
  • Session 2 – July 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17  (MWF 9:00-1:00)
  • Session 3 – July 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, 31  (MWF 9:00-1:00)
  • Session 4 – see below for Session 4 M-F five day camp

MWF Garden Sprouts Session 1: $295 (pro-rated for no camp July 3); Session 2 or 3: $350
Sibling discount $25 off second child’s registration.
After-care MWF 1:00-3:00 with pick-up at 3:00, Session 1 after-care: $115 (pro-rated for no camp July 3); Session 2 or 3 after-care: $135 (flat rate for 2-week session).
Financial assistance available at multiple levels; please apply early.
Registration for whole session only.

Tuesday/Thursday Garden Sprouts 2020 dates

  • Session 1 – June 23, 25, 30, July 2 (TTh 9:00-1:00)
  • Session 2 – July 7, 9, 14, 16 (TTh 9:00-1:00)
  • Session 3 – July 21, 23, 28, 30  (TTh 9:00-1:00)
  • ​Session 4 – see below for Session 4 M-F five day camp

TTh Garden Sprouts Session 1, 2 or 3: $240
Sibling discount $25 off second child’s registration.
After-care TTh 1:00-3:00 with pick-up at 3:00, Session 1, 2 or 3 after-care: $90 (flat rate for 2-week session).
Financial assistance available at multiple levels; please apply early.
Registration for whole session only.

Monday-Friday Session 4 Garden Sprouts 2020 dates

  • ​Session 4 – August 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (one week only, M-F 9:00-1:00)

Garden Sprouts Session 4: $290
Sibling discount $25 off second child’s registration.
After-care M-F 1:00-3:00 with pick-up at 3:00, $115 (flat rate for session).
Financial assistance available at multiple levels; please apply early.
Registration for whole session only.

Click Album to View Garden Sprouts Camp Photos

Wildlands & Watering Cans Summer Day 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. Each session serves 32 campers with a 1:8 ratio of instructors to campers. After-care (3:00-5:00) available for all sessions (limited number of spaces).

  • Session 1 – June 22-26 & June 29-July 2, 2020, 9:00-3:00 (no camp July 3)
  • Session 2 – July 6-10 & 13-17, 2020, 9:00-3:00
  • Session 3 – July 20-24 & 27-31, 2020, 9:00-3:00
  • Session 4 – August 3-7, 2020  (one week only) 9:00-3:00

Click below to see a past camp schedule and get a feel for what our sessions are like.

Session 1 $635 (pro-rated for no camp July 3); Session 2 or 3 $705; Session 4 (one week) $380.
Sibling discount $25 off second child’s registration.
After-care M-F 3:00-5:00 with pick-up at 5:00; no after-care on the last day of each session due to family party.
Session 1 after-care $145 flat rate (pro-rated for no camp July 3); Session 2 or 3 after-care $165 flat rate; Session 4 after-care $75 flat rate.
Financial assistance available at multiple levels; please apply early.
Registration for whole session only.

Click Album for Wildland & Watering Cans Photos

OWLS Camp Leadership Program for 12-14 year olds

This is an exciting opportunity for capable and fun-loving youth aged 12-14, who enjoy working with children, to take on leadership roles at our Garden Sprouts Summer Camp! OWLS (Outdoor Wonderful Leaders at Summer camp) will assist the Garden Sprouts counselors and directors in making camp a nurturing and joyful learning experience for our 4-6 year old campers. Duties include helping set up in the morning, supporting the counselors while they lead the day’s activities, buddying up with Sprouts who need extra assistance at snack and lunchtime, participating in songs and games, holding chickens, and being a role model for our littlest campers.  This program is designed for young teens to participate in a camp experience while developing their leadership skills. No previous experience working with children is necessary.

**Required training session for all OWLS- Wednesday, June 17th, 2020, 2:00-4:00 p.m.**

  • Session 1 – June 22-26 & June 29-July 2, 2020 (no camp July 3)
  • Session 2 – July 6-10 & 13-17, 2020
  • Session 3 – July 20-24 & 27-31, 2020
  • Session 4 – August 3-7, 2020  (one week only)

The OWLS camp day runs 8:00-1:00, M-F.
Each session hosts four OWLS; one OWL per session may extend their camp day until 3:00 and assist with our 4-6 year old after-care program (choose this option at registration if available).
Families bring their OWLS directly to the Garden Sprouts area at 8:00 a.m., and pick them up at the Hay Barn at 1:00 (or 3:00 if their OWL is assisting with after-care).
**Required training session for all OWLS- Wednesday, June 17th, 2020, 2:00-4:00 p.m.**
Session 1 $300 (pro-rated for no camp July 3); Session 2 or 3 $330; Session 4 $180 (one week only).
Aftercare: no fee.
Financial assistance available at multiple levels; please apply early.
Registration for whole session only.

EAGLES Camp Volunteering for 15-18 year olds

Application open only until May 21st!  Download Eagles Application

**Required training session for all EAGLES- Monday, June 15th, 2020, 8:00- 4:00 p.m.**
Youth ages 15-18 are invited to volunteer as EAGLES (Educators Assisting with Garden Leadership Each Summer). Work with our counselors at Wildlands & Watering Cans 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! EAGLES are accepted for whole camp sessions only (any session of Wildlands & Watering Cans).
Cost: free

Camp Community Volunteers

Application open only until May 21st! Download Volunteer Application

Volunteers & 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!
Some volunteers/interns work one or more set days of the week all summer (for example, every Tuesday); others work every day for one or more entire session (for example, M-F all of Session 2). Volunteers are appreciated at both camps, Garden Sprouts for 4-6 year olds and Wildlands & Watering Cans for 7-11, and in our aftercare programs.
**Required training session for all volunteers/interns – Monday, June 15th, 2020, 8:00- 2:15 or 4:00 p.m., depending on the chosen camp**

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations 30 days or more in advance of your session will be refunded minus $25 fee. Cancellations less than 30 days in advance will be refunded minus $25 fee, only if your space is filled by a wait-listed camper; otherwise no refund can be given.

Questions?

For questions about our camps, please contact:
Cara Wild-Sundell, Garden Programs Manager, cara@lifelab.org
or (831) 459-4035.

Join our email list to receive camp announcements. Please be sure to check the box “Camp & Children’s Programs”.

Para registrar en español, favor de llamar a Whitney a (831) 459-5395.

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1 week ago

Life Lab

Thank you all that joined us for our Spring Benefit💚 Our esteemed guest speakers Dr Dilafruz Williams and Paco Estrada shared moving testimony to the proven impacts of school garden education. We are thankful to have the opportunity to inspire children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden based education. We are thankful for our local and national communities. We are thankful for each and every one of you! #supportschoolgardens #thewholechild #bettertogether #lifelab #interconnected #healthyfood #nature #loveoflearning #donate

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1 week ago

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Celebrating last day of National Poetry Month and National Garden Month with "I Am A Farmer" from A Moose Boosh: A Few Choice Words About Food by Shabazz Larkin. bit.ly/3cKEucz• "Readers and eaters are taken on a comical romp through the world of food using poetry and a visual feast of photographs enhanced with playful doodles."— American Library Association Notable Children’s Book• "Varied in style and tone —much like food itself—the witty, quirky poems take on many different topics . . . This is a charming and original book that should start some quality conversation about food."—School Library Journal..#NationalGardenMonth #NationalPoetryMonth #FoodPoetry #FoodPoem #IAmAFarmer #Farming #UrbanFarmer #YoungFarmer #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #FarmToSchool #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #DiverseBooks National Agriculture in the ClassroomAmerican Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureNational Farm to School NetworkFoodCorps Pilot Light Common Threads Big Green Harlem Grown Green Bronx Machine DC Grown The Food Trust Detroit Hives Ron Finley Brown Bookshelf The Family Dinner Project Whole Kids Foundation The Bee Cause Project Life LabClemson Extension School & Community GardeningThe Edible Schoolyard Project Edible Schoolyard NYC Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy

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2 weeks ago

Nikki Patterson

Join me tomorrow for an inspiring celebration of the beautiful impacts and interconnections cultivated through school gardens. This one hour zoom fundraiser begins at 11🌱Please give as you can. #supportschoolgardens #schoolgardeneducation #LifeLab Life Lab 🌻 register at www.LifeLab.org/spring-benefit

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2 weeks ago

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🌸 Growing Gardens of Hope! 🌸We are so excited for Life Lab’s Spring Benefit Brunch this Saturday at 11am! We are delighted to share our guest speakers: Dilafruz Williams and Francisco “Paco” Estrada, who will speak on the interconnected relationships cultivated through school garden education and the healing, inspirational impact on students, families, and our broader community.Dr. Dilafruz Williams is Professor and co-founder of Leadership for Sustainability Education. Dilafruz’s recent research has focused extensively on garden-based education – its conceptualization and effectiveness in engagement of children and youth that enhances their holistic and academic learning. She directs the NSF-funded project: Science in the Learning Gardens. She has studied school gardens across 12 states in the USA and in many countries across continents. Dilafruz’s passion for gardens is evident in her own delight and engagement with soil and life in its multitude of manifestations of wonders and mystery. 🌱 Register today! 🌱lifelab.org/spring-benefit/

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2 weeks ago

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The Life Lab Spring Benefit Brunch Menu is available now! 🌻 Choose from selected items provided by our generous community partners @charlie_hong_kong @newleafcmarket @companionbakeshop @steamerlanesupply 🌱Limited inventory available! Purchase at LifeLab.org/spring-benefit/#menu

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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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