Meet Our Staff and Volunteers February 2021

Meet Our Staff and Volunteers February 2021

Debbie became a 4-H Program Coordinator in 2012, working in Washtenaw County from 2012-2014 and in Oakland County from 2014-present. Before becoming a 4-H Program Coordinator, Debbie spent almost 20 years as a 4-H volunteer and parent of two 4-Hers. As a 4-H Program Coordinator, Debbie coordinates and assists with 4-H summer horse camps at Springfield Oaks County Park and Tollgate Farm & Education Center. Debbie also oversees 20 active horse, livestock, animal clubs, and related programs in Oakland County 4-H. She coordinates multiple animal science educational workshops at Tollgate and throughout the county. Since 2016, she has secured grants totaling $30,000 to support youth programming at Tollgate, including the new 4-H Discovery Garden, animal science and special needs accessibility. For the past several years, Debbie worked with Tollgate and other 4-H staff to develop programs on the farm for youth with special needs using activities with farm animals intentionally designed to facilitate positive interactions for these youth. The best part of her job is seeing the smiles on kid’s faces when they get the courage to get up on that really big horse. Debbie lives in Milford on a small farm with 6 horses, a dog, and several cats. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Family Life Education and years of professional development in horse management and human development. Currently, she is most excited about her newest title, Grandma! Anyone who has talked to Debbie about her work can see her passion for 4-H and the youth who gain self-confidence and learn life skills in their great programs. Thank you for all you do for Tollgate and 4-H Debbie!

Deb began volunteering at Tollgate in 2012 when she was completing the MSU Extension Master Gardener program. Although, she has participated in the Fall Fair, Maple Tapping and the Plant a Row (PAR) garden, you will most likely know her from the Tollgate Nursery. She joined the nursery team in 2013 and ever since she has spent most of her volunteer time there. During the winter months, she has the nursery team over to her basement greenhouse for the plant propagation sessions. These sessions grow and transplant seedlings to sell in the nursery. These sales secure important revenue to help fund the beautiful Tollgate gardens. Fall 2020’s social distant nursery plant sale secured $1,700 in revenue. In the spring, Deb hardens off those seedlings to bring to Tollgate to be transplanted again into the larger gallon size pots. During the summer and the fall, she is busy taking care of her section of the shade house in the nursery. When she is not gardening, Deb enjoys playing with her dog, scuba diving and being out in nature. The Tollgate staff is incredibly grateful to Deb for all the work she does to not only grow healthy plants but also to bring in much needed revenue to maintain the Tollgate gardens for our visitors. Thank you for all you do Deb!

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