All Classes & Activities
Oakland County, MichiganMSU ExtensionAll Classes & Activities

All Classes & Activities

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calendarMSU Extension-Oakland offers a variety of programs about gardening, personal finance, nutrition, and natural resources.  We also offer programming specifically for youth. Below is a list of our upcoming programs.  


Spring 2017 :Farm Sprouts Preschool Program
The fall session will focus on harvest-related topics, and will include adventures exploring the barns, fields, forest and pond. Preschoolers will develop social, emotional, and physical skills as participants in the farm community through shared discoveries and cooperative experiences, all while building a life-long connection to nature.

Friday, Dec. 16, 6 p.m. to  Saturday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m - Starry Night on the Farm:​Winter Solstice
Overnight (indoor) campout at Tollgate Farm​.​​  Arrive after your ​dinner on Friday evening to enjoy a wagon ride and take a snowy hike to get a rare glimpse into what goes on after sundown on the winter farm. Explore the winter night sky with the local astronomy club. Play games or sled on the hill and roast s’mores around the campfire before heading in for hands-on activities and popcorn in the barn. We’ll camp in tents indoors before waking to a farm fresh breakfast. Help with morning animal chores before leaving with warm memories and new friends. 

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.

January 26 – Four-Season Landscapes

Gardens and landscapes don’t have to look like moonscapes during the off season! Perennials have a lot to offer - even from October to April. For example, the character of a tree or shrub may be even better outside of its bloom season. To reap four seasons of interest from your landscape, start right now to choose plants that will fill seasonal gaps. But that’s only part of the answer! How you place and maintain those plants and other garden features is even more important. Here are design techniques, plant suggestions, and maintenance tips from beloved garden designer, author, and educator Janet Macunovich.

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.

2017 Winter Master Gardener Training Course
Oakland County will not be offering a Winter class this year. 
You can get information on upcoming classes that are offered in other Michigan counties by going to the following link:

The Master Gardener Program is a volunteer leader training program for people who are enthusiastic about gardening, who wish to use what they learn to improve communities. Contact:  Lynne Shull at 248-858-0887.

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!

The class series includes:
  • Participatory food preparation that provides cooking and food safety instruction
  • Engaging nutrition activities and discussions
  • Practice with food budgeting
  • Interactive grocery store visit where participants will receive a $10 budget to shop for groceries
  • Recipe book for use at home
  • Certificate of completion
"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.