Life Lab

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

Santa Cruz County School Garden Network

Resources & Peer to Peer Learning

School Gardeners Gathering

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Del Mar Elementary School Garden – 3:00-5:00 pm


Come meet your fellow garden educators from across the county and enjoy some food and drink while we share our experiences and learn from each other. 

In addition to general networking, we will learn from local School Food Service programs. What is your understanding of School Food Service and how can we contribute to the wellness goals of Food Service Programs in our districts? 


Food, drink and music will be provided. Feel free to bring some plants, flowers or seeds from your garden to share if you’d like.

We look forward to seeing you there and a happy beginning of Spring to all of you. 

Geoff Palla Partner Schools Program Manager for Live Oak and Santa Cruz


Del Mar Elementary

1959 Merrill St, 95062


Parking Instructions

Park at the adjacent Cypress High School parking lot. Enter via Alice Street, then walk to garden.

Santa Cruz County Garden Educator Network Offerings

Join our Santa Cruz Area School Garden Google Group

Do you have an abundance of succulent cuttings to share? Wondering what the best variety of persimmon tree to plant in a small space? Want to share a successful event you had in the garden?  

This is the place to communicate with other area school garden teachers. Ask questions, share resources or ideas, stay tuned for grant announcements or plant give aways.

Join our network by visiting the Santa Cruz County School Gardeners Google Group

You need a google account to join. Sign in with your google account and then click Join Group.

Tell us About Your Garden / Connect with Other Area Garden Teachers

The truth is most of us are the only garden teacher at our school. There is so much to gain from visiting other garden educators to see their programming in action.

Fill out this form to share about your garden and your program strengths & needs.

See who else has shared and look for times to connect with a garden teacher at their garden or just reach out and say hi.

K-2 NGSS in the Garden Curriculum, free for Santa Cruz County Educators.

NGSS Curriculum

These units are designed to engage students in Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Science and Engineering Practices in order to investigate and discover key ideas from grade-level NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts. 

These lessons were created for, and piloted with Life Lab Partner Schools in Pajaro Valley Unified School District Gardens. These are available as a free download for Santa Cruz County Educators at the Life Lab Store

Learn more about this curriculum


NGSS Science Practices Posters

You also might enjoy these free 11x17 inch NGSS Science and Engineering Practices Posters to remind you and your science-activated students what it means to "practice" science. Find them on the bottom of this page

Free Seeds and Plants 

Renee's Garden Seeds provides Life Lab with loads of end of season seeds to give away to garden educators. Come to a networking meeting or connect with Jennifer at  [email protected] to arrange a pick up.

For years the UCSC Farm gives away thousands of annual (and sometimes perennial) plants at the end of their annual spring plant sales. Come on Sunday of the plant sale at 1:30 with a donation appreciation letter from your school. Plants are given away at the end of the plant sale at 2:00. 

Join our forum to receive announcements about free plants.

Garden Classroom Workshops - 

View our upcoming workshops in the Garden Classroom located on the UCSC Farm

PVUSD Educators connect with [email protected] for discount codes.
LOSD and SCCS District Educators connect with [email protected] for discount codes.

Join our Santa Cruz Area Garden Educator google group or Life Lab's Elist to be informed of upcoming offerings.

Since the early 1980's Life Lab has inspired tens of thousands of educators through garden-based training. Garden educators from around the world join us for Life Lab Garden Classroom Workshops.

Workshops include a Life Lab publication, a tasty lunch, and the opportunity to learn with garden-educators from across the nation. 

Continual education credit is available for $80 per unit per day.

Since the first Life Lab garden at Green Acres Elementary in 1978 the Santa Cruz area has maintained a strong culture of garden-based learning. The programming at Green Acres spurred the creation of more school gardens and led to the creation of Life Lab the non-profit organization in 1979. There is much more history to comb through, but this page you are viewing now is about building upon past experiences of our local school gardens and continuing to strengthen the culture of garden-based learning in our schools.

Green Acres Elementary - Early 80s

Useful Resources for School Gardeners

 The items below are a selection of resources we think you’ll find useful.

These are taken from which is a very comprehensive list of resources to support school gardening.

Thanks for bringing learning to life in school gardens!

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