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Q/A with Owners of Turtle Creek Farm

Lucy and Paul Clucas discuss the story behind Turtle Creek and what children do at their very popular summer camps.

Located nearby at 6205 Cooley Lake, Turtle Creek Farm sits on 10 acres in Waterford Township and is home to over 100 animals, including horses, alpacas, goats, emus, chickens, ducks and a variety of reptiles and amphibians. Biologist, educator and owner “Mrs. Lucy” Clucas leads all of the farm’s educational programs, including summer camps, field trips, girl/boy scout groups and more.

West Bloomfield Lifestyle photographer Amy Gillespie and I recently had the opportunity to tour and learn more about Turtle Creek Farm from both Clucas and her husband, Paul. We both agreed: we’ve never seen anything like it before.

For more information about Turtle Creek Farm, call (586)-292-3644 or send an email to turtlecreekfarm1@aol.com.

LUCY, BEFORE LEADING EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES AT TURTLE CREEK FARM, WHAT DID YOU DO?

I taught biology at St. Mary’s [in Orchard Lake] and also worked the auto shows for Ford, both of which have helped me here since in order to get young kids learning and excited about science, you have to get them hyped up, and I don’t mind being a goofball.

LUCY, WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO OPEN UP YOUR FARM TO KIDS IN THE SUMMER MONTHS?

Years ago, I worked some camps with West Bloomfield Parks and took children to different places like Cook’s Farm Dairy in Ortonville and an alpaca farm. Although I never thought I’d be a camp girl, I had so much fun with it, a blast really, so since I already owned the property, had the animals and school groups were already coming here, I decided to begin offering summer camps, too.

LUCY, I NOTICED YOUR WEBSITE (TURTLECREEKFARM.ORG) EXPLAINS WHAT CHILDREN WILL DO EVERY DAY AT CAMP, BUT WHAT WOULD YOU SAY THE MAIN DIFFERENCE IS BETWEEN “NATURE ADVENTURE CAMP” AND “ADVANCED NATURE ADVENTURE CAMP”?

Nature Adventure Camp is for children ages five to eight where Advanced Camp is for eight and up. Both are very hands-on, but the older kids get to do a bit more advanced work like dissecting. Families who have both a younger and older one will often choose the Nature Adventure Camp, so that their kids can be together. You don’t have to have attended Nature Adventure Camp to sign up for Advanced Camp. 

LUCY, RUMOR HAS IT THAT CAMPERS ACTUALLY GET TO TAKE AN ANIMAL HOME THROUGHOUT CAMP. LIKE, ANY ANIMAL?

Yes! Our animal sleepovers are, by far, campers’ favorite part of camp. They get to pick any animal they want to take home, and we provide the food, cage, etc. I’d say the baby goats, baby bunnies and rats are most popular. Some kids come here on a Monday afraid of spiders or chickens, and by Friday, they’ve learned to not be terrified and instead appreciate them.

PAUL, HOW CAN PARENTS SIGN THEIR CHILDREN UP FOR CAMP, AND WHEN?

On February 1 at 8 a.m., online registration opens every year. This year, by 8:03, we already had a waitlist, so I’d be ready to go right at 8.

LUCY, HOW MANY KIDS CAN ATTEND CAMP?

30 kids a week, and this year we added two extra sessions since we couldn’t hold camp last year due to Covid. I’ve never advertised since without advertising I still can’t get all the kids in who want to come!

LUCY, WHAT’S "FRIENDS AND FAMILY DAY" AT CAMP?

Every week on the last day of camp, campers’ friends and family are invited to a guided tour led by their own camper where they will learn about the wonderful animals, visit the teepee and see what their camper has learned at camp. 

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