Join the Tollgate Farm 4-H Club for the 2021-2022 Year

What do Tollgate Farm 4-H Club Member do?

  • Kids help with Livestock and Poultry care during the weekends. This means collecting eggs, feeding, filling buckets and troughs, pen cleaning etc. 
  • We grow produce/ herbs for sale.
  • We sell eggs.
  • We sell value added products: dried fruit, goat milk soap, granola, etc. The kids make these products.  
  • We use a portion of the proceeds from sales to support the animal barn. The remainder supports club activities.
  • Kids are encouraged to participate in the Oakland County and Michigan State fairs.
  • Some of our members choose to participate in our showmanship program. This allows them to use Tollgate animals to participate in showmanship at the Oakland County Fair. 
  • The kids also have the opportunity to participate in public events at Tollgate. We usually have a farm stand sale and also help with farm animal display.

Tollgate Farm 4-H Club is open to new members age 5 – 19. We meet Wednesday evening and to chores on weekends 

For more information:




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Nature’s Engineers: Monday-Friday

Welcome to our first ever Nature’s Engineers Summer Camp. We look forward to a week of fun STEAM activities as we learn about engineers in nature.


Happy Monday! We kicked off this beautiful Monday with the Yellow Pepper group leading us through flag ceremony. We learned about working together, sharing jobs, and supporting our community. Great job Yellow Peppers!

Then it was off to chores. The yellow peppers got to hangout with the chickens and then the Green peppers went to hangout with the rabbits.

Then off to our wagon ride! We saw some deer in the back hay field! 

Then time to head over to the garden to harvest some veggies. We snacked on beans, tomatoes, and carrots! Lots of yumms all around! 

Next it was time to tie dye. Many campers could not wait to see their t shirt design before they left, looking forward to seeing them all on Friday!

After lunch we had a special guest Mr. Clay talk all about bees, one of Tollgates favorite Nature Engineers. After his fun presentation and tasty honey snack we got to become bee’s and learn about pollination. 

Now that we are bee experts we took the bee shape of choice, the hexagon, to the test and built marshmallow toothpick towers incorporating a hexagon to all our structures. 

Today went by so fast! Can’t wait to have more fun tomorrow! 


Nature’s Water Engineers. Beavers, Dams, and Bridges! 

Kicked off the morning with the green peppers hosting the flag ceremony! Awesome work green peppers! 

After flag ceremony it was time for chores. Yellow peppers got to milk a goat and hangout with the bunnies and the Green peppers got to hangout with the chickens! 

After chores we headed to the garden to engineer a Scarecrow with Ms. Nancy. We wanted to keep our corn safe from the birds and I think both scarecrows are going to do an amazing job! We even snuck some garden snacks while we were out there. 

Then it was time to learn about beavers and dams. We went for a pond/dam walk, discussed the pros and cons of dams, and then constructed and tested our own. I think overall all the dams were really effective at their job! 

Bonus excitement was the CSA compost truck stopped by for a visit and we all got to witness a large dump of compost get dropped off. This compost will supply the fruits and vegetables growing on the farm with the nutrition they need to grow big and strong. 

After lunch we worked on our STEAM project of building a hurricane proof house. Lots of good ideas coming to life. Can’t wait to see the finished product Friday! 

Next, we headed over to the pond for casting practice. We learned about the Tollgate way of casting lines and we look forward to all the campers fishing tomorrow! 

After casting practice it was time to head to the forest for a bridge hunt. We found some amazing bridges, natural and man made, however the mosquitoes were out and ready for blood so we needed to move fast! 

Such a fun/busy day today! See you all tomorrow! 


Happy Wednesday! Today we started the day with the Yellow peppers hosting flag ceremony. After flag it was time to do some chores and a few special visits to the other animals we necessary!

Today was a lot about eggs and how incredibly fragile yet incredible strong they are. We talked about their shape, their uses, and how that shape is used all over the engineering world. From a team building teeter totter activity to trying to break an egg with our elbow pit to seeing how much weight a single egg can bare (which is a lot) we went all into the engineering of eggs! 

Then we wanted to learn about Pully Systems. The simple machine Pulley is used all over from the flag pull we raise everyday to the cranes that build sky scrappers, Pulleys are highly useful! We were able to lift a load that weighed 84lbs up to the top of a tree branch with significantly less effort than it would take to pull without a pully. Although it was still really heavy it was cool to talk and learn about the science of the pulley together. 

After lunch it was time to visit the pond for fishing. We had talked about how humans engineer dams to create reservoir that are great for fishing in the summer– so that’s exactly what we did. The campers did great practicing the Tollgate method of casting and were able to catch quite a few fish before the storm blew in. 

After fishing the storms came in so we had snack, played games inside, and then it was time to go. Glad we were able to get most of the activities done before the heavy rain and lightning came in! 


Wow quite the storm we had yesterday! Todays plans quickly changed with the amount of rain we got last night. The good news is that the sun came out today so we could work with solar energy and make a delicious snack! 

A morning activity was building solar ovens so that as soon as the sun was out we were ready! We took pizza boxes, put aluminum foil around the inside and outside flap, made a plastic wrap green house and then placed a black sheet of paper on the inside to absorb the heat. Once the solar ovens were constructed we placed the s’more materials inside to get cooking in the sun. Campers were excited to see if it would really work! 

After constructing we did our daily chores where the Green Peppers got to milk a goat! 

After chores we decided to do our horse snacks because we weren’t able to do it yesterday do to the weather. We cut up fruit and veggies, mixed in molasses and oats and went out to feed the ponies! They loved it of course! 

After we were able to go out to the CSA field to visit farmer Darby to learn about how they have engineered a system to meet the needs of the tomatoes and the farmers best in their fields. 

After lunch we learned about biomimicry and how nature has inspired many everyday items like Velcro and airplanes. 

Later we played some games and then visited the CSA field again to do a carrot harvest. We were able to harvest over 100 carrots to donate to the hungry! Good job peppers! 

After carrot digging it was time to work more on our STEAM projects and put on the finishing touches. From the looks and the tests I have a feeling we are going to have some pretty tough hurricane houses!

Last but surely not least it was time to taste our solar S’mores. From the outside window they look melty and delicious. Ill just let you see the pictures to determine if the campers enjoyed them or not. 

Another amazing day! Hard to believe tomorrow is already Friday! Cant wait to see all the wonderful t shirts tomorrow! 


Happy Friday! Started the day with the Green peppers hosting the final flag ceremony of the week! 

After, we decided to go fishing one more time because one group ran out of worms and the other hit a storm on Wednesday and it was Ms. Alex’s last day and its her favorite activity. Not nearly as successful as Wednesday but still great to do! 

Then it was animal chores. Campers request was to say goodbye to them all! 

After chores we headed over to the children’s garden for games and snack. 

Then after lunch it was time to do the finishing touches on our STEAM projects! I think everyone is about ready for the final test! 

The last activity of the day was designing nature shelters but because of the bad mosquitos we needed an activity with more movement. We went on a nature hike and ended up building and exploring some bridges out there. 

To wrap up the week we tested our houses against extreme winds, flooding and falling trees and most homes stayed fairly intact and safe given the conditions. This has been a really great week of camp! Thank you all for joining Nature’s Engineers! 

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Animal Camp 2021: Thursday-Friday

Happy Thursday! It sure was a toasty one! 

We kicked off our morning with animal chores! This morning the Orange peppers were on goat milking and did a great job! 

After animal chores it was time to go to learn about chickens and dissect an egg. We capped off this experience with a delicious hard boiled egg. 

But the best part of the morning was visiting Farmer Darby in the CSA field to see a larger scale potato operation. They brought out a big tractor and we got to harvest a whole bed of potatoes! Was like finding gold nuggets buried underneath the ground. The campers loved it, except for the smell of the rotting seed potatoes (for those who were lucky enough to grab one). 

After a snack of Dragons Tongue beans we headed over to the mister to cool off!

We also had time to play some games 🙂 

After Lunch the highlight of the week was here… HORSEBACK RIDING! The Rose of the day! 

Green Peppers Pictures: 

Yellow Peppers:

Orange Peppers: 

After riding we had to get our creative energy flowing because it was time to paint our Creatures. The campers did a great job adding the final details to their creatures. 

Then off to learn about Zoonotic diseases and how we can prevent them. We played a quick game of bacterial tag and unfortunately the bacteria won this time. 

Today was hot, however, Farmer Roy surprised us with a token to remember Jacks retrieving demonstration and we all loved it! Thank you Farmer Roy and Jack the Wonder Dog! 


Welcome to Tie dyed camp t shirt Friday! Yellow peppers were excited to get a picture with the famous Farmer Roy today in celebration of one of the Olympic sports (retrieval skills challenge) 

Green peppers led the Flag Ceremony this morning and they really got us excited for the day! Thanks Green Peppers! 

After Flags it was off to Chores. We said our farewells to the animals for the week. 

Then it was time to snack and learn about what Cows eat and what cows give us. We were surprised by a few of the items. 

Then off to the woods for a Fox and Owl walk. The yellow peppers did some deep exploring and found some interesting tracks, a fox, a fun log, some vernal pools, bones, a deer, and so much more! 

After the forest it was time for lunch! Then time to show off our creatures. 

Then time for some games and final activities before 2021 Tollgate Farm Olympics. The 10 competitions included: Sack race, Goat Milking competition, Lasso a Pony, Migration Obstacle Course, Water Trough Ball Race, Horse Shoe Toss, Sponge Race, Egg Race, Try Not to Laugh (Farm animal edition). All teams did amazing! 

Such a great week! Thank ya’ll for coming! Hope to see you all again soon. 🙂 

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Animal Camp 2021: Monday-Wednesday


Welcome to Animal Camp! We have an exciting & busy week filled with farm animals, household animals, and wild animals! We kicked off the morning with flag ceremony hosted by the Yellow Peppers! They did an amazing job leading it for day one. Orange peppers will host it on Wednesday!

After flag ceremony we reviewed our C.A.R.E.S. contract with some skits hosted by the Stewards and Stewards In Training! Then it was time to get started with our daily activities!

Today was wagon ride day! We enjoyed the sun, cool breeze, and good company as we toured the farm on the hay wagon.

Then animal chores. Each group got to care for a different animal. We will rotate throughout the week. 

After chores we were off to the Edu Garden to harvest with Ms. Katie. We harvested potatoes, beans, & carrots. Then enjoyed a snack break of carrots and beans in the garden! 

Then time for Tie Dye! We got creative choosing our tie dye patterns. Cant wait to see them all on Friday! 

Then it was time for games and cooling off in Mrs. Mister! 

The afternoon was filled with learning about Ruminant Stomachs! Can your camper remember the four stomachs names?

Rumen, reticulum, omasum, abomasum. 

After this we took a goat for a haltered animal walk and had a snack break in the middle. Thanks Erma and Thea for being such good volunteer goats! 

Then we capped off the livestock learning day with sheep to sweater felted bracelets. We learned about wool and how to felt it! 

Such a wonderfully busy day! Looking forward to another tomorrow 🙂 


Happy Tuesday! We started our morning with Garden time with Ms. Katie and the Edu Garden Volunteers. They had a busy morning morning in the garden planned including sowing lettuce seeds and learning about Spiders with some fun crafts! 

After Garden time we were so lucky to have our Farm Manager, Roy Prentice, and his dog Jack do a retrieval demonstration for all the campers. We learned about dogs used in agriculture and hunting and the learning process of training a dog and how the dog responds. 

After the wonderful demonstration we had a snack of humus and pretzels. All of the campers tasted the hummus and most enjoyed! Right after snack we got to learn about Vermicomposting and parts of worms. Campers didn’t mind getting there hands dirty while the explored and learned about the life of a worm. 

After lunch we learned about proper Tollgate casting for fishing tomorrow. It seems the campers this week are naturals because everyone had it down in 2 casts. 

Next it was time to make a snack for the animals. We learned our knife handling skills and practiced cutting carrots, celery, apples, and tangerines, mixed them with molasses and oats and fed it to the goats, ponies, and chickens. The animals say it was FINGER LICK’N good! 

Today we also got to explore the pond and learn about life inside the water and on waters edge. We found fish, crawfish, snails, frogs, bugs of all sorts and so much more! 

The final activity was time for our second harvest. We harvested more carrots, onion, and basil for our mini CSA distribution tomorrow. 

What a great day! Cant wait to see what tomorrow brings! 


Happy Wednesday Campers! Today the orange pepper group kicked off our morning with Flag ceremony. The capped off their ceremony with a wonderful sing after me song: “Boom Chick-a Boom!”. 

After flag ceremony it was time to start animal chores. The Yellow peppers had the pleasure of milking Eva today and we all did great! 

After chores it was time to go fishing! So many fish today. Even though not all the campers caught a fish we were all good sports and supported our fellow camper friends in their catches! Great job peppers! 

After fishing it was time to cool off in the shade with a tropical green smoothie with hidden veggies. So many campers were not excited about trying this one.. we asked all to take a sip and we left with an empty bottle. Great job campers! Then to the pavilion for CSA distribution. We took our harvest, weighed it, and distributed it so that all the campers could take home a share of the harvest. We had beans, basil, potato, carrots, and onion. Hopefully your family can make something tasty with your share 🙂 

Then time for sheep herding with Ms. Sam! We learned about the skill it takes to herd sheep, why, and how difficult it can be! Thanks Ms. Sam! 

After herding we learned about bird migration and the risks that are included in migrating to warmer climates in the winter. Luckily I think all birds make it to their final destination, we hit some road blocks, but we did it! 

The final two activities of the day were building our Creature Creation, the STEAM project of the week, and then making bird feeders. Campers enjoyed using their hands and creativity with the clay as they created their own creatures. We cannot wait to see the finished products on Friday! 

See you all tomorrow 🙂 

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Horse Camp 1: Equine Science

What a great week for Horse Camp 1: Equine Science. Here are some of the pictures, with hopefully more to come soon 🙂

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