Here comes summer at Tollgate!

MSU Tollgate Farm June 2017

Tollgate Mid-Summer Garden Celebration

Garden Open House
Saturday, July 22, 2017
4pm - 7pm

There is so much to do!
  • Tour the gardens
  • Enjoy live music
  • Take a hayride through the back fields
  • Shop for gifts
  • Learn about plants and gardening
The Tollgate Farm has over 20 gardens to enjoy.  There will be musicians, artists, and vendors on the farm to display their crafts.  Tollgate Garden Volunteers will be available for informational presentations on garden topics and will guide you through the gardens.  There will be hayrides and walking tours to highlight the Tollgate grounds and gardens.  Come join us for an evening on the farm!
Please, no pets and no alcohol. Thank you.
Now Registering for Fall Farm Sprouts Preschool Program

The fall season is a busy and exciting time at MSU Tollgate Farm. Join in on the harvest! How does food end up on your table? We'll press apple cider, harvest fruits and vegetables, explore animal science topics, and much more. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) activities are integrated into the program to support inquiry-based investigations, as well as Spanish as a Foreign Language.

Please visit our website for more information!

Tollgate Farm Sprouts Program
Spring Farm Sprouts Season Wraps Up

From hatching chicks to starting sunflower seeds in the greenhouse, these preschoolers accomplished some important work and play at the farm this spring! We explored how a garden grows, which included a lot of discussion about compost. These experiences provide children with the opportunity to build new understandings and broaden their thinking, not only about science and the natural world, but also other learning domains, such as social interaction and early mathematical skills.

Read our blog or
visit our Farm Sprouts Website to learn more about our Farm Sprouts Preschool Program.

We're now registering for our fall season!

A Few Spaces Remain for Free Workshop -
Teaching Science Outdoors
Hurry! Register Today!   
Are you an elementary school teacher interested in incorporating best practices for teaching science outdoors? The W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) is pleased to announce that Teaching Science Outdoors (TSO) will be offered at Tollgate July 24 - 27, 2017. This free program brings elementary teachers to the farm for an unforgettable workshop that allows them to practice science in a variety of outdoor habitats. Next Generation Science Standards and technology are incorporated throughout the experience. Teachers develop skills to adapt existing science curriculum for the outdoor classroom and build a network of resources.

For more information and to apply, go to:
Support 4-H Youth at the County Fair!

Tollgate Farm 4-H Club asks you to consider supporting our 4-H youth by bidding on one of the fine animals currently being raised at the Farm. The Oakland County Fair Large Animal Show and Sale is July 15 at the Oakland County Fairgrounds in Springfield Oaks Metropark, in Davisburg, and these three members will be showing their animals at the auction.
Miriam - Market Lamb

I am raising a market lamb for the first time. I will put the money I earn into my college fund.I am learning many skills with this experience. I am learning how to walk, catch, and build muscles in animals.  Please show your support for the 4-H community at the Oakland County fair on July 15.
Susanna - Market Lamb

I am growing a market lamb for the show and auction at the Oakland County Fair. I want to learn about animal nutrition and behavior, as well as about marketing and good business practices. I also plan to study those at college level, and will use the money earned toward my goal. Thank you for supporting the 4-H movement, and the County Fair!
Alana - Market Calf

I am raising and auctioning a market calf for the second time. I really enjoy the challenge of working with my calf. The money earned from selling the calf at auction will be put toward my future endeavors. So if you'd like to help me or the other kids of Tollgate with their project animal, then come on out to the Oakland County Fair, Large Animal Auction, Saturday July 15, 6:30 PM.
For more information about these animals or further questions about the auction, please email

To learn more about the auction, download the
Oakland County Fair Livestock Auction brochure (pdf)

For further information about the Oakland County Fair

As always, Tollgate Farm 4-H Club is accepting new members, ages 5 - 19. Adult volunteers are also welcome to help guide the kids through their projects. For more information see the links below:
Tollgate Spring Plant Sale a Success!

Thanks to all who helped make the Tollgate Spring Plant Sale on June 3 a success! There was a crowd of eager shoppers waiting at the "gate" when the sale began, and got first dibs on the great selection of plants. Due to the efforts of many volunteers who donated plants, prepared the nursery, and helped customers on the day of the sale, we made nearly $11,000! This was our best sale ever.

All of the money raised goes directly into the Tollgate Garden Volunteer account, helping us keep the gardens looking great for our many visitors. Big "Thanks!" are due to George Papadelis of Telly's Greenhouse, who very generously donated a trailer load of wonderful annuals. Thanks also to Christensen's Plant and Hardscape Centers who last fall also donated plants for the sale.

The Tollgate Fall Plant Sale is scheduled for Saturday, September 23 from 9 am to noon, so mark your calendar now to be ready for fall planting season!
Cardinal eggs and chicks on 6/3, 6/13, & 6/19
Sorry, This Boxwood is Not for Sale

During the Spring Plant Sale, some observant volunteers noticed a bird's nest - tucked into one of the boxwoods that had just been purchased - with four little speckled eggs inside. After some healthy deliberation, it was decided that it would be best if we could convince the plant sale customers to accept a refund for the plant, so that it (and its Cardinal cargo) could remain onsite to be cared for by the mother bird.

Thanks to the conscientious volunteers and customers, the eggs have hatched and are developing safely here at Tollgate.
Cattle on Holiday

On Monday, June 5, Tollgate's three Holstein steers decided to go on a bit of an adventure. Taking advantage of a weak spot in the fence, all three animals snuck out of the pasture, walked through the Tollgate woods, and meandered through the subdivision to the north of Tollgate. I got the call from the Novi Police Department around 9:30 pm that the cattle had got as far as 13 Mile Road. With the help of several amused officers, the animals were apprehended, trailered, and returned to Tollgate. It was an exciting event that I hope is not soon repeated!
--Roy Prentice, Farm Manager
inquiry Learning at Tollgate Farm
"Why does a chick need life?" 
"Does  the life cycle repeat itself?" "How do we teach the chick to be a chicken if they don't have their mom?" These are just a few of the dozens of questions generated by inquisitive six and seven year olds of Deerfield Elementary during an experiential learner-centered adventure about chick-hatching and the life cycle of the chick. Deerfield teacher Julie Alliston and the dedicated first grade teaching team invested a vast amount of energy and enthusiasm to embark with their students on a journey of discovery which began with Tollgate posing a challenge to them - could they help us hatch a batch of chicks? As citizen scientists, students were asked to research and set to work incubating eggs. Midway through the project, students visited the farm to experience the full nutrient trail as they explored connections between producers,consumers, and decomposers. Utilizing active, open questioning by both leaders and students alike, the first graders investigated the garden, goats, and vermicomposting, in addition to observing 'up close and personal' the various stages of the life cycle of the chicken. The project culminated with a classroom celebration for the children and their parents where Tollgate was highlighted for our role in the project. Eventually, newly hatched chicks were returned to the farm to become layers for fall. The chick-hatching project is just one of many full cycle 'collaborating classroom' experiences which take place throughout the school year as part of our flagship school program offerings. Other programs include Maple Sugaring in the month of March and Sheep to Sweater and Spring into Farming in April and May. To save a date now for one of these programs or for the well-loved Harvest Farm Ecology, please contact Ellen Koehler at
June's 4-H Newsletter is Here!

Oakland County 4-H Connections is a monthly newsletter for 4-H members, families, and the general community with news and information about 4-H Youth Development activities in Oakland County.

First article:
Hands to Larger Service....
"As 4-Hers we are all familiar with the 4-H Pledge, but sometimes it is worth looking at its meaning. 4-H youth and volunteers are well known for their generosity. This year at Discovery Day several 4-H clubs teamed up to raise money for the wildfires that swept the plains. "Wildfires in early March swept across the plains in regions of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas..."

June Oakland County 4-H Connections newsletter (pdf)
Tollgate Volunteer Opportunities

There are many fun and friendly opportunities to contribute to Tollgate! Join us in the gardens; help with community events, special projects, maple sugaring, or educational programming.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

If you are interested, send us your name, email address, telephone number, and area(s) of interest. As opportunities arise, you'll be contacted. Thank you!
or visit:
Tollgate Volunteer Page
Rent the Tollgate Conference Center

The MSU Tollgate Conference Center, historic barn, and Americana boardroom are available for your next business meeting, bridal or baby shower, or private luncheon. Our event catering staff are available to meet all of your needs.
To learn more about hosting your event at Tollgate, please visit:
MSU Tollgate Conference Center
MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center offers programs throughout the year designed to allow adults and children to experience learning hands-on, explore the joys of gardening and the natural world, appreciate and promote locally grown food, and build community. 
MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center
28115 Meadowbrook Rd.
Novi, MI 48377
MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Programs and materials are open to all, without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, height, weight, disability,political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital, family or veteran status.