Nature Society

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Arb Aug 2018

Royal Oak Arboretum Meadow Area



WHO ARE WE: The Royal Oak Nature Society is a volunteer group working with the City of Royal Oak to protect, maintain and promote the usage of Royal Oak's two nature preserves, Cummingston Park and Tenhave Woods.  We are also in the process of developing an arboretum and wildflower garden (Royal Oak Arboretum) behind the Royal Oak Senior Center (3500 Marais).  Go to the Nature Society page to learn more about us. 

ABOUT OUR PARKS: Both Cummingston Park and Tenhave Woods are nature preserves that are over 20 acres in size and are heavily wooded with lined trails.  They are designated by the city of Royal Oak as conservancy parks where the protection and management of the animal and plant/tree life in the parks is the primary concern.  They are open daily to the public from dawn to dusk.  Click here to find out why dogs are not allowed inside either nature preserve.  Go to Nature Preserves page to learn more about Cummingston Park and Tenhave Woods. 

The Royal Oak Arboretum is a park located behind the Senior Center.  It has been under development since 2007.  The long range plan for our arboretum is to create a collection of native trees/plants that are not found in Tenhave Woods.  Link on to Royal Oak Arboretum to learn about its history and progress. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  To find out where these parks are located on a map and a map of their trail systems, click here.  Wearing boots while in the parks is recommended during the winter and spring months. Using insect repellent and dressing appropriately is advised from late spring through the end of summer.  To learn more about these parks firsthand, check out our Naturalist Led Nature Walks schedule.

  • The Nature Society Still Needs Your Help

Last year, President Don Drife wrote in our fall 2018 newsletter about the desire to get new volunteers for the Nature Society.  From that, four outstanding members came forward.  Karen Blenc is assisting in the leading of our Friends of Fungi walks and working as our official photographer.  Although he has temporarily relocated, Matthew Dailey worked in the Arboretum and we look forward to his return.  Christine Utter is spearheading our social media outreach.  Follow us on Facebook if you have not done so already. Michelle Watson is coordinating our volunteers.  Other members have stepped forward to work on Tenhave Wood's fence patrol, our annual fundraiser, and our Dream Cruise parking fundraiser.  We thank all our members for their hard-work and dedication.  We are still in need of more volunteer help!  If you are not already a Nature Society volunteer, please click on to below link to find out what the Nature Society could use your help with.   LINK:

Nature Society Celebrates ROAM HOME

The City of Royal Oak’s 100th birthday is fast approaching!  Incorporated in 1921, the city has grown from a small village surrounded by woods and farms to a thriving urban community.  To celebrate its centennial, a group of community volunteers is organizing an annual week-long, city-wide homecoming celebration called ROAM HOME.  It will take place October 19-27, 2019.  For more information, check out

ROAM HOME kicks off on Saturday October 19th with a Volunteer Celebration from noon to 3 pm at the Royal Oak Middle School.  Royal Oak based organizations, service clubs, and non-profits will be showcasing their organizations by passing out information about special events that they will be hosting during the week, as well as opportunities for the general public to engage with them throughout the year. In addition, there will be music, children’s games, and refreshments.  The Nature Society will be there.  If you come, please stop by and see us.  

The Royal Oak Nature Society will also be part of the ROAM HOME celebration with three different activities taking place on Saturday, October 26th There will be a mushroom walk at Cummingston Park at 10 am and an owl hoot at Tenhave Woods at 7:30 pm.  The third activity is one that we have never done before.  The Nature Society will be hosting a fun Halloween event that same day between 1 and 3 pm.  We will be inviting families to enjoy Trick or Treat in Tenhave Woods.  Everyone is welcome.  Bring your families, neighbors, nieces and nephews – kids in costume if they wish.  Host volunteers will distribute treats throughout the park.  Maps will be provided so families can easily find the treats.  In addition to candy that is nut free, we will provide non-edible treats. Children should bring their own treat bags.  For those of you who don’t have a lot of children coming to their doors on Halloween night any more, this becomes an opportunity to experience that once again.  Please come join us on October 26th for a wonderful time in the woods.  There is no preregistration or cost for this activity. 

Trick-Treat Oct 10 rev


"A Passage to South India” speaker program is being held on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, beginning 7:30 pm at the Royal Oak Senior/Community Center (3500 Marais).  What happens when you're registered for an ecological field course abroad and a tsunami hits your "classroom" only days before your plane leaves?  You and your classmates become the first to document what survived the impact!  Learn more about this unique experience that UM-Dearborn's Dorothy McLeer had during a month-long class in south India, and how this region of India has fared since the infamous 2004 tsunami.

To access the Nature Society calendar, please click the "CALENDAR" button on your right.

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Volunteer Opportunities

The Nature Society is always looking for volunteers to help us in many different ways. Please click "Volunteer Opportunities" button (right)  to check out volunteer opportunities that are available and that you might be interested in getting involved with.    

An orange circle reading, "Volunteer Opportunities."
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General Membership (No Cost)

If you would like to be on the Nature Society’s e-mail blast list, please sign up to be a General Member.  It is free!  Just send us an e-mail stating that you would like to be a General Member along with your name, complete street address including zip code and e-mail address.  Our e-mail blast includes program/walk schedules and other current information.  Click here for more information about our associate, supporting & patron memberships.

Friends of Fungi Mycology Club

This group promotes the understanding of, and an appreciation for, fungi in general and those fungi found in Tenhave Woods, Cummingston Park, and other local urban woods. The group is open to anyone who wants to learn more about fungi which includes mushrooms. Check out this link for more information including program schedule.

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Problems in the Parks

 If you are near Tenhave Woods, Cummingston Park or the Royal Oak Arboretum and see or hear suspicious or unlawful behavior, please help by calling the Royal Oak Police Department’s non-emergency number, 248-246-3500 and inform them of the problem.  We would also appreciate it if you could also let us know about the problem by contacting us at 248-246-3380 & leave a message or by e-mail.

Land History

Behind the natural beauty of Tenhave Woods and Cummingston Park, there is a land history to explore. Please check out these links to Tenhave Woods (PDF) and Cummingston Park (PDF) to learn about the people who once lived on these lands.

The Goodwin family was the first owner of the land that now includes Tenhave Woods and Royal Oak High School. The below photo is of Samuel Volney Goodwin's family and farmhouse during the middle 1880s. Samuel was the third generation of Goodwins to own this piece of land.  The house was located just south of Normandy Rd. & just east of Crooks.
Goodwin Farm House March 2018

Special Thanks

We'd like to offer a special thanks to the ROAK Brewing Company for their very Generous Donation (PDF).

The Nature Society would also like to thank Brendan Nolan’s “Plants for Ecology” for donating
several Black Willows, a Tamarack and an Elderberry tree.  If you are looking for native plants, you might want to check him out at Royal Oak’s Farmer Market sometime.  More information can be found at his “Plants for Ecology” website.

ROOTS Foundation

The Nature Society is a member of the Royal Oak Opportunity To Serve (ROOTS) Foundation, established by the city to accept donations and endowments for the improvement of civic institutions. Donations and bequests may be designated for specific Nature Society projects. For more information about ROOTS, visit the ROOTS Foundation Page. Click "Make a Donation" button to if you would like to make a direct donation to the Royal Oak Nature Society

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