Nature Society


Tenhave Woods in the Middle of March

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.

Nature Society's Upcoming Fundraiser

This is an invitation to join us at our 13th Annual Soiree/Fundraiser being held on Friday, April 27th, 2018 at the Royal Oak Elks Club.  There will plenty of food and an opportunity to bid on many interesting items.  Please click here for more information.

RONS logo revised


“Holland Ponds Park” presentation is being held on Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 beginning 7:30 pm at the Royal Oak Middle School (709 N. Washington).   In 2001, the State of Michigan deeded the 200-acre parcel now known as Holland Ponds to Shelby Township.  This area which is adjacent to the former G & H Landfill and backs up to Yates Cider Mill was once considered lost because of toxic waste!  It became part of a clean-up project by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  From the clean-up efforts, it has made a tremendous come-back, and is now home to a number of thriving animals, fish, and plant-life. Visitors regularly see proof of its success in the variety of flourishing wildlife such as Blue Heron, Green heron, Great Blue Heron, Little Green Heron & Great Egret that choose Holland Ponds to make their nests.  Jim Gammicchia, coordinator-of the Burgess Shadbush Nature Center and River Bends Park located in Shelby Township, will do a talk about Holland Ponds Park.  He will also talk about parts of the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal that are still visible at this site and will give an explanation and history of its importance and influence in the community.



"Owl Hoot” is being held at Tenhave Woods on Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 beginning at 7:30 pm.  Park & meet at the Lexington & Marais lot. We will walk into Tenhave and attempt to lure in or have screech & great horned owls answer tape recordings of their calls.  There is no pre registration or cost for this program. 

"Early Spring Forest” nature walk is being held at Cummingston Park on Saturday, March 24th, 2018 beginning at 2:00 pm.  Park and meet at Leafdale & Torquay.   There is no pre registration or cost for this walk.  

Volunteer Opportunities

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

Get Involved

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 & 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.

Fungi Sept 2017

Arboretum Wildflower Guide Book is now Available

A Guide to the Wildflowers of the Royal Oak Arboretum is now available. This forty page print-on-demand book features over one hundred of the most conspicuous plant species found in the "arb." They are illustrated with more than three hundred color photographs. The book costs $40 and will be available at our speaker programs. Click here to preview one of the guide pages.  E-mail Don Drife for more information on ordering this book.

Arb Book Cover

Nature Society Master Plan 

Click here to check out Version 5 (May 2017) of our Nature Society Master Plan for Cummingston Park, Tenhave Woods and the Royal Oak Arboretum

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, visit the ROOTS Foundation Page.