Life Lab

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

little-munchkin

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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kids in the garden with chicken

Intern with Life Lab

Come work with kids in a garden setting. We have placements year round at our Garden Classroom Site on the UCSC Farm or in Watsonville at our Blooming Classroom Site. Additionally our School Garden Corps program places interns to work at school gardens and provides trai [...]

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garden classroom

See Our New Blooming Classroom Site

Learn more about our work in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District at www.lifelab.org/pajaro. [...]

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kids in the garden

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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changing the nature education

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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Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Selected for Good Times Community Fund

Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Selected for Good Times Community Fund

Our "Food, What?!" Youth Program was selected as one of four programs in the Good Times Community Fund. We have the goal to raise $12,500 through the Good Times Community Fund.  Right now, every dollar donated will be matched.  Please Consider a Year-End Donation t [...]

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Worm Composting Resources and Video

Worm Composting Resources and Video

We like our red worms that compost for us at the Garden Classroom. Here are some resources for you to learn and teach about red worms. Life Lab's Ultimate School Composting Website   The Worm Guide: Vermicomposting Guide for Teachers From California Waste [...]

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Benefit Event on GoodTimes TV

Benefit Event on GoodTimes TV

Life Lab's Annual Benefit was so great this year that the local media came to make a video of it:-) Greg Archer of the GoodTimes finds out what Life Lab is all about. [...]

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“Back Pocket” Garden Activities

“Back Pocket” Garden Activities

The following videos demonstrate what we, here at Life Lab, refer to as "back pocket activities." These are all quick, easy, and highly engaging activities that require minimal preparation. We suggest always having one or more of these activities ready to go (or "in [...]

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“Food, What?!” Youth Program

“Food, What?!” Youth Program

Eco Company TV created this video on Life Lab's Spring Afterschool Internship. It aired across the nation on over 100 TV stations. Check out more at Eco Company http://www.eco-company.tv/tvshow/episode-102-organic-growing More on "Food,What?!" [...]

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Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden

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

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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“Food, What?!” on National TV!

“Food, What?!” on National TV!

Eco Company TV created this video on our "Food, What?!" Spring Afterschool Internship. It aired across the nation on over 100 TV stations. http://www.eco-company.tv/tvshow/episode-102-organic-growing [...]

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Birthday Party in the Garden Classroom

Birthday Party in the Garden Classroom

Our 30th Birthday Party was celebrated in The Garden Classroom with over 450 people enjoying garden crafts, strawberry tarts, chickens, goats, fresh squeezed lemonade, The Banana Slug String Band, garden fresh pizza, honey tasting, and of course a huge birthday c [...]

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Life Lab Video Contest Winner

Life Lab Video Contest Winner

As part of our 30th Birthday we hosted a video contest. The theme of the contest was "How does the garden help you grow?" See more information, runner ups and link to all the entries here: www.lifelab.org/contest.php Here is the winning video: First Prize Winner: G [...]

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Project Food Lab Video

Project Food Lab Video

They really have something great going at Pacific Elementary School in Davenport, CA. Since 1984 the Food Lab Program, in cooperation with the school's Life Lab Garden Program, has been cooking the school lunch for students and staff! [...]

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“Food, What?!” Harvest Fest on KSBW News

“Food, What?!” Harvest Fest on KSBW News

KSBW TV News was on hand at our 2008 Harvest Fest that served hundreds of Middle and High School Students from Santa Cruz County. Check out their news report and how the reporters were trying to get the right inflection on the words "FOOOOD.....WHHAT!!!??!!!" See fe [...]

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Compost Sifting Lesson

Compost Sifting Lesson

Garden instructor Jane Forbes of Westlake K-5 in Santa Cruz, CA teaches 2nd graders about compost. This 13 minute video is created from a 45 minute lesson of children learning about decomposition by sifting composting and exploring the garden. [...]

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School Garden Learning Stations

School Garden Learning Stations

3rd Grade Mar Vista Elementary School Teacher Colleen Riggen and parent volunteers lead students in garden activities. [...]

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“Salad Bowl” Fundraiser Lesson

“Salad Bowl” Fundraiser Lesson

Garden Teacher Caprice Potter leads 4th graders in potting up "cut and come salad bowls" for Gateway's School Garden Plant Sale. Visit the Gateway school garden blog to learn more about year round teaching at the Gateway garden [...]

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Creating School Garden Rules

Creating School Garden Rules

Hear from three Life Lab Garden Instructors and one 3rd Grade Teacher on how they generate and share their school garden rules. View our post and resources for Managing an Effective Outdoor Classroom. [...]

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40 Years of School Garden Instruction

40 Years of School Garden Instruction

The following videos are interviews with Garden Teacher Jane Forbes of Westlake K-5, 3rd Grade Teacher Colleen Riggen of Mar Vista K-5, and Garden Teacher Caprice Potter of Gateway K-8. Collectively these three garden educators have close to 40 years of teaching childre [...]

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Spring Scavenger Hunt

Spring Scavenger Hunt

Garden Instructor Susan Dahlgren leads first graders in a garden scavenger hunt. This 7 minute video highlights a 20 minute lesson at Gault K-5 School Garden in Santa Cruz, CA. [...]

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Flower Anatomy Lesson

Flower Anatomy Lesson

Caprice Potter has been a garden teacher since 1987 at Gateway K-8 in Santa Cruz, CA. This 13 minute video highlights a 40 minute flower anatomy lesson taught in the spring of 2008. Visit the Gateway Life Lab Garden blog to learn more what's being taught in the gard [...]

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2007 ~ Food, What?! ~ A Youth Empowerment Program

From the early days of the Garden Classroom there were always visions of offering programming for teens. "Food, What?!" has fulfilled that vision: "FOOD, WHAT?!" is a youth empowerment program using food, through sustainable agriculture and health, as the vehic [...]

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Garden Classroom 2007

2000 ~ The Garden Classroom: Life Lab’s Model Educational Garden

In 2000 construction begins for the latest chapter in Life Lab's history. In collaboration with the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) The Garden Classroom annually serves thousands of pre-schoolers through adults in garden-based learning a [...]

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2000 ~ The Monterey Bay Science Project

The National Science Foundation Grant which funded the Language Acquisition in Science Education at Rural Schools comes to and end but LASERS continues to thrive through the Monterey Bay Science Project (MBSP). Life Lab becomes a MBSP host site and receives funding thro [...]

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1995 ~ LASERS

The National Science Foundation funds Life Lab, from 1995-2001 in the Language Acquisition in Science Education at Rural Schools (LASERS) project. Life Lab starts working with 7 school districts to improve science teaching practices for second language learners. UCSC pa [...]

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1986 ~ Life Lab Video

The following 14 minute video is a great summary of the impact that Life Lab Science Program has on schools. The power of school gardens has not changed much since 1986, but you will notice that hairstyles and clothing do! Are you one of the people in this video? Add a [...]

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2 days ago

Life Lab

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!💚

We want to honor the time and expertise you all bring to the table and, therefore, with generous support from Whole Kids Foundation we are so 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 Nov 6, 2020.
To learn more about this exciting opportunity and apply, visit: lifelab.org/sgso See MoreSee Less

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5 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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1 week 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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2 weeks 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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1 month 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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Stock up your Garden Classroom

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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