Classes & Activities

Classes & Activities

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calendar​MSU Extension-Oakland offers a variety of programs about gardening, personal finance, nutrition, and natural resources.  We also offer programming specifically for youth.

Some of our upcoming programs are listed below​.  

4-H Exploration Days 2017

Exploration Days.png4-H Exploration Days will take place June 21 to 23, 2017. It is designed for young people ages 11 to 19 and involves about 2,500 participants from all parts of Michigan in a multitude of hands-on learning sessions, field trips and recreation opportunities at Michigan State University's campus
4-H Exploration Days 2017 .pdf

Lake and Stream Leaders Institute  2017 program.

The Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute (LSLI) provides a unique and intensive leadership development opportunity for citizens, local leaders, and water resource professionals who wish to develop technical and people skills needed by leaders who can effectively protect Michigan’s lakes and streams.

Find out more The application period runs through March 30, 2017.(Cost: $400)

Fall 2017 Master Gardener Training Course - Novi

Date: August 29, 2017 - December 5, 2017
Time: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Location: MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center, 28115 Meadowbrook Rd., Novi, MI 48377
Registration for the Fall 2017 Master Gardener is open

Featured Events
Starting and Sustaining a School Garden Conference
April 13, 2017 | Bowers Farm 1219 E.Square Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills

Michigan 4-H & FFA Horse Judging Contest
March 26, 2017 | MSU Pavilion for Livestock and Agriculture Education, 4301 Farm Lane, East Lansing, MI 48910

MSU Tollgate Spring Break Farm Camp 2017
April 3, 2017 – April 7, 2017 | Tollgate Farm and Education Center 28115 Meadowbrook Rd. Novi, MI 48377

For a  complete listing of MSUe Oakland County and other statewide MSU Extension classes and activities, visit the MSU Extension  website events page.

Events @Tollgate Farm

March 11th & 12th Pancake Feast @ Tollgate Farm
Celebrate the maple tapping season with a pancake breakfast or lunch at Tollgate! Identify and tap a maple tree, tour the sugar shack and watch sap turn to syrup, take a wagon ride, taste maple syrup, and tackle historical tools! Prior to the 2-hour program, enjoy a pancake celebration in the historic, 19th-century barn. Pancakes, coffee, cocoa, sausages, hash browns and of course, real maple syrup will be provided! John us this year for Maple Tapping and Pancake Feast on March 11th and 12th!

Spring 2017 :Farm Sprouts Preschool Program
Registration for the spring season of Farm Sprouts, our farm and nature-based preschool program, is now open! We'll have much to do with the birth of lambs and goat kids, the arrival of the calves, and the hatching of many fuzzy chicks. Farm Sprouts will explore plant and animal life cycles, vermicomposting, pollinators, and all the farm has to offer as it comes to life after the chilly winter. Early literacy, mathematics, engineering, and the arts are incorporated into our program, along with Spanish as Foreign Language. Children develop social and emotional skills as they collaborate on meaningful and purposeful projects as a part of our farm community. We look forward to a spring season filled with discovery and learning!

Visit the Tollgate Farm website for more information and to register your child for Farm Sprouts: 

Evenings in the Garden - Winter 2017 Series

Evenings in the Garden is a series of classes for beginner and seasoned gardeners, homeowners, and landscapers - taught by favorite regional experts - held at the beautiful, historic Tollgate Farm in Novi.

March 2 – Rock Gardening: A Look at Plants for Small Spaces
Rock gardening focuses on using plants from mountainous areas of the world - above the tree line or from rocky, open habitats at lower elevations. These plants are small, often have large flowers in proportion to their size, and may need different cultivation than standard perennials. The small size and showiness of these plants makes them a perfect choice for smaller garden spaces, for placement as a striking feature in larger gardens, and even for certain types of container planting. So how to get started? This class with Dr. Tony Reznicek  covers a brief introduction to the plants, a look at soil needs, and how to design, use, and plant rock garden plants in your home landscape.

March 30 – Gardening with Children: Finding Magic in Your Garden
Join Dr. Norm Lownds a journey into the garden, and discover the magic that will interest and engage kids. We will explore the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens to find the enchantment in plants there, and how the garden excites kids of all ages.  Explore ways to create fascination in your garden, and how to engage kids in planning, growing, and enjoying the garden all year long. Join us for a special evening in the magical place that is a garden for kids.   

For more information or registration
Cost: $20 per class
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: MSU Tollgate Farm & Education Center
Advance registration is required.
Space is limited - please register early.

For a  complete listing of MSUe Oakland County and other statewide MSU Extension classes and activities, visit the MSU Extension  website events page.


The following nutrition program series are available to community groups, organizations, and schools (age appropriate).  All classes are taught by nutrition instructors from MSU Extension.  Programs are offered at no cost to participants that qualify and can be taught in English, Spanish, Arabic or American Sign Language.  Call  248-858-0897 for further information or to schedule these programs.
With the help of a nutrition instructor and an experienced chef, Cooking Matters participants gain the skills and confidence to shop for and prepare healthy, delicious budget-friendly meals.  The program consists of 6 to 7  lessons, lasting two hours each. Each week participants will receive groceries which they can use at home to practice the recipe they learned in class!

"Cooking Matters for Adults" and "Cooking Matters for Parents" are for adults only.  "Cooking Matters for Families" is designed for parents or caretakers with children aged 8 and above; children attend all classes and actively participate.

Eat Healthy, Be Active
This series is designed to help participants make healthy eating part of their total lifestyle and to increase physical activity.  Lessons include tips on reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy on a budget, and preparing quick, healthy meals and snacks.  Food demonstrations will give participants the opportunity to try new foods.  Participants will also receive take-home nutrition information and physical activity materials. 
This nutrition series consists of fun, interactive activities for 55-74 year olds designed to encourage older adults to increase fruit and vegetable consumption as well as physical activity. 

Healthy Foods, Healthy Families
This series is designed for families with children.  Participants will learn how to model healthy food habits and physical activity to their children.  Lessons include a nutrition overview, strategies for planning meals and how to get the most nutrition for your dollar.  Each week participants will set a food and physical activity goal that they can reach using what they have learned in class.  Food demonstrations and take-home nutrition information are also included in this series.
Healthy Harvest
Growing your own vegetables has many benefits, including healthier eating and reduced stress. The Healthy Harvest program is designed to help participants learn basic gardening skills and use what they grow to prepare healthy and tasty meals. The program is a partnership of MSU Extension’s health and nutrition and Master Gardener programs.
Show Me Nutrition
This 6-week program is aimed at an audience of pre-kindergarten through 8th grade.  These lessons are interactive and appeal to a wide variety of learning styles.  Many of the activities are hands-on and each lesson has a book that accompanies it to reinforce literacy.  Each grade level is age-appropriate.  Topics covered:  food safety, positive body image, world hunger, physical activity and general nutrition.               
Food Preservation Correspondence Course 
A correspondence course for anyone wishing to learn canning, freezing, or drying techniques using up-to-date information and methods so the food preserved is safe to eat.  Contact:  Robin Danto at 248-858-0904.     
The Michigan Cottage Food Law allows Michigan residents to manufacture and store particular foods in an unlicensed kitchen, such as a residential home. Through this program participants will learn about the Cottage food law and other principles you can use to provide safe products. Cottage Food Law and Safety training educates on preparing and selling foods under the Cottage Food Law, producing a safe food products, production, packaging and labeling, storing and transporting.  Cost: $10.00.

Online Learning and Webinars

Michigan Citizen Planner Online
Michigan Citizen Planner Online is designed to equip volunteer community leaders with the technical knowledge and leadership skills needed to perform their duties more effectively. Contact: 517-432-7600. For further information about land use classes and activities, please contact MSU Extension-Oakland County, 248-858-0885.
eHome Money is a personal guide to financial health.  It's a fun, informative, low-cost course that you take online at your own pace, on your own schedule, at any computer.  With eHome Money you learn the steps you can take to reduce debt, raise your credit score and improve your whole financial picture.
As a HUD and Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) certified agency, MSU Extension has been providing housing education for over 20 years.  By completing the online eHome America course and learning about available local, state and federal housing financing programs, participants can take positive steps to reach their goal of home ownership.  In order to receive a certificate of completion participants will need to complete a discussion (in-person or via phone) with a Michigan State University Extension Certified Housing Counselor.
Legally Secure Your Financial Future 
Organize, Communicate, Prepare is a comprehensive series to help you get organized, communicate with others and begin preparing your estate plan.
Investing For Your Future is an 11-unit home study course that was developed by the Cooperative Extension system for beginning investors with small dollar amounts to invest at any one time. It was assumed that many readers will be investing for the first time or selecting investment products, such as a stock index fund or unit investment trust, that they have not purchased previously.  The course units were developed in a logical order. "Basic" topics such as setting goals, investment terms (e.g., diversification, dollar-cost averaging, asset allocation), and finding money to invest lay a foundation to help readers understand how and why they’re investing.  After exploring "the basics," the course describes specific types of investments (e.g., stocks and bonds) in detail. Finally, Investing For Your Future concludes with additional topics of use to investors: available resources, how to select professional financial advisors, and information to help you avoid becoming a victim of investment fraud. You can choose to read the entire course, in any order that makes sense to you, or select only those topics that are of most interest.