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Outdoor Engagement

Our naturalist is available to answer wildlife nuisance questions about deer, raccoons, skunks, bats, groundhogs, and snakes, as well as other outdoor-related questions. Literature is available regarding deer-proofing your yard, including planting suggestions and techniques to prevent deer from eating your landscape plants. Please visit our Deer Management Advisory Committee page for more information.

Please keep in mind that no pets are allowed at any of our Outdoor Engagement Programs.

Special Interest/Scout Group Programming
To set up programs, hikes, etc. specific for Special Interest or Scout Groups please contact our Natural Resources division directly at 248.656.4775 or by emailing .

Reptile Roundup
Rescue and Rehabilitation in Your Backyard

Description: There's something wild in the neighborhood! Jeff, owner of the non-profit reptile rescue "Suburban Jungle" based out of Southgate, MI will be sharing his passion of rescuing and rehabilitating reptiles with those eager for a personal experience with giant snakes, lizards and turtles. This is an open-house program so feel free to join us anytime between 1-4pm with pre-registration; walk-ins accepted after 3pm. There will be opportunities for you to hold some exotic reptiles as well as native Michigan species.

When: TBD; check back at a later date
Cost: $5/person $3/children (children under 12 must be accompanied by a paid adult)
Where: Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm
Snowfort and Campfire
Description: Come dressed for the weather and ready to work as we build an igloo-style snow fort! No snow? No problem! Create a fort made from all natural materials instead. We will also deconstruct our fort at the end and talk a bit about “leaving no trace”. A campfire and hot chocolate will also be provided to help keep us warm. This is a family program so bring the kids and enjoy the day off school! Recommended for children ages 7+.

When: Monday January 20th, 1-2:30pm REGISTRATION CLOSES JAN 19th
Cost: $5/adults $3/children (children under 12 must be accompanied by a paid adult)
Where: Bloomer Park – Meet in the Bloomer Park parking lot

Description: Join us for some frosty fun at the sledding hill in Bloomer Park. You will have an opportunity to try out snowshoeing and warm up around a crackling campfire while roasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate. The sledding hill will be open so be sure to bring your sled! This program runs with or without snow. Snow related activities will be replaced with a guided nature walk.

When: Saturday, February 8th 1-3pm REGISTRATION CLOSES FEB 6th
Cost: $5/person (children under 12 must be accompanied by a paid adult)
Where: Meet at the Hilltop parking lot in the back of Bloomer Park

Making Maple Syrup
A Backyard Guide for Beginners

Description: Travel through various stations in Bloomer Park with Lance and Lauren to learn the first steps to make your own Maple Syrup. From identifying various species of maple tree, to the tree tapping process and sap boiling setup. You'll leave with all the knowledge you need to make your own syrup as well as a spile, tubing, and bucket to tap your own maple tree. This program is held rain or shine so come dressed for the weather and a walk through the woods.

When: Saturday Feb 22nd, 1-2:30pm REGISTRATION CLOSES FEB 20th
Cost: $15/person
Where: Bloomer Park, meet at the Pinegrove Shelter
Age restrictions: Adult/Children 12 and up

Sap-To-Syrup Pancake Breakfast
Description: Visit the Museum at Van Hoosen Farm to see an old-fashioned sap-to-syrup boiling operation. We will be making syrup from trees tapped right here in Rochester Hills. Sample some real maple syrup and enjoy a pancake breakfast complete with sausage, juice and coffee. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets are split into three sessions, 9am, 10am and 11am. When purchasing tickets, please specify which session you would like to attend. Tickets are limited so purchase yours early!

When: Saturday March 14th, 9am-12pm REGISTRATION CLOSES MAR 12th
Cost: $7/person, kids 2 and under free (children under 12 must be accompanied by a paid adult)
Where: Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm
Time Slot

Investigate Innovation
Description: Come check out Rochester Hills’ newest park, Innovation Hills. From glow pavers, an ADA accessible boardwalk, and a sensory and pollinator garden, there is lots to see and hear in the dusky hours of springtime.

When: Thursday March 19th, 6:30-7:30pm 
Cost: $5/person
Where: Innovation Hills, meet in main parking lot
Skill level: beginner (children under 12 must be accompanied by a paid adult)
Ages: All

Fly Tying
Description: Learn how to tie your own flies in this informative, hands on two-hour session at the Museum at Van Hoosen Farm. Learn what equipment you need to get started in this unique and valuable hobby. Make your own fly to take home and enjoy coffee or juice and donuts. This program is for adults and children 12+, all materials will be provided.

When: Saturday March 28th, 10am-12pm REGISTRATION CLOSES MARCH 26th
Cost: $15/person
Where: Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm
Age Restrictions: Adults and Children 12+

Antler Amble
Description: Each winter, white-tailed deer shed their antlers only to grow new ones in the spring. Learn about this amazing cycle then search the trails and wooded areas in Bloomer Park for dropped antlers. Dress for the weather and walking in the woods, rain or shine! You can take home any antlers you may find. Recommended for ages 7+.

When: Friday April 3rd, 1:00 -2:30pm REGISTRATION CLOSES APR 2nd
Cost: $5/person
Where: Bloomer Park, meet at the Pine Grove shelter
Skill level: beginner
Ages: All (children under 12 must be accompanied by a paid adult)

Mom's Hike
Description: Join our Outdoor Interpreter (and mom) Lauren, along with other local moms, for what will attempt to be a relaxing, smooth, no-tears, no bug bites and no poison ivy, pre-nap walk through Innovation Hills while we learn about some local plants and animals. This program is available to mom's and their little ones ages 10 and under. Join us if you're feeling adventurous!

When: April 16th, 10:00-11:00am REGISTRATION CLOSES APR 15th
Cost: Free
Where: Innovation Hills, meet in the parking lot
Skill Level/Age: Beginner, moms and kids 10 and under
Register for Mom's Hike Here

Spring Nature Walk

Description: Join us for a one hour nature walk to search for signs of spring. Lance and Lauren will guide you though winding trails, over wooded hills and past lush ponds to see what might be out soaking up the spring sunshine. Wear appropriate footwear and attire. All ages welcome but the terrain is not suitable for strollers.

When: Thursday, April 23rd from 6-7pm
Where: Avon Nature Study Area, meet in the City Hall parking lot
Cost: $5/person (children under 12 must be accompanied by a paid adult)

Lance Devoe
Lance DeVoe

Lauren Oxlade
Lauren Oxlade
Outdoor Interpreter

Department Email

Wild in the Hills
Fall Deer Tips

Coexisting with Coyotes

Click for more information on coyotes

Gardening with Deer

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Community Comes Together for First Look at Innovation Hills Park
Newest park located at 2800 W Hamlin Road is now open to the public Read on...
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