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

Santa Cruz County Garden Educator Network Offerings

  • Group Forum
  • Peer to Peer Connections
  • Free K-2 NGSS Curriculum
  • Seeds & Plants
  • Discounted Workshops

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. Learn more about this curriculum

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



NGSS Science Practices Posters

You also might enjoy these free 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 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 - Substantial Discounts for County Educators

We hope to resume in-person Garden Classroom Workshops sometime in 2022. 

Join our 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. 

Santa Cruz County public school teachers, instructional aides, and after-school staff are eligible to attend Life Lab Garden Classroom Workshops for a substantial discount.

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 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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