Meet our Staff and Volunteers May 2021

Richard has been a member of the MSU Tollgate maple syrup volunteer team for many years. The farm relies on Richard and Wayne Watson to perform the lion’s share of the maintenance of the tubing system that conducts sap from Tollgate’s 250 tapped maple trees and the collection of sap during the maple sugaring season. During the season, you will see Richard going back and forth between the woods and the sugar shack, collecting sap from the tanks and then transferring it into the large collection tanks outside the shack. Keeping the tubing from the trees to the tanks in good shape also requires constant attention: repairing damage from adverse weather, falling branches, and pesky squirrels and their ever-gnawing teeth. Richard performs his work with a great sense of good humor and dedication to the project, his fellow volunteers, and the farm. The maple project would not be such a huge success without the dedication of Richard and his fellow maple sugaring volunteers. Thank you for all you do for the Farm Richard!

Nicole is thrilled to have recently joined the Tollgate team as Multi-Media Communications Assistant and Farm Apprentice. Her current focus is producing videos for Tollgate educational programs and Detroit Public Television about plants & other happenings on the farm. Come mid-May, she will spend half of her time out in the field with the CSA crew as a Farm Apprentice! ???‍?Nicole recently ventured out to the Metro-Detroit Area from Rockland County, New York (not NYC & not quite Upstate NY, but right in between). Last year during the pandemic, Nicole serendipitously found her love of farming through a farm apprenticeship with Dig Acres in Orange County, NY. She studied Communications and Environmental Studies at the University at Buffalo, but before fully tapping in to her love of the land & cute plants, she spent 3 meaningful years working in non-profit engagement with young adults & families in Buffalo, NY. You can often find Nicole talking about how cute plants are, exploring waterscapes, cooking, & snapping photos of food before anyone takes a bite

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