Nature Society

Arboretum July 27 2017

Royal Oak Arboretum (end of July)

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. 

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, go to Naturalist Lead Walks.  Our Park Locations page also includes links to trail maps of these parks.  If you would like to help the Nature Society with the maintenance and improvement of these two nature areas and the arboretum, please check out our Volunteer Opportunities page.

Arboretum Book 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 $40.00 and will be available at the summer Arboretum walks and the fall speakers program. Link to preview one of the guide pages.

Gardening in the Arboretum  - May - September

The Royal Oak Arboretum is located behind the Senior Center (3500 Marais).  A Nature Society arboretum garden crew keeps the arboretum trails cleared of encroaching weeds, and removes invasive plants and other plant debris from rest of the arboretum. 

The crew could use more help!  They meet most Tuesdays during the summer from 8:30 am to about 10 am.   If you think that you might like to be part of this work group, let us know by e-mail and we will confirm which Tuesdays they will be working.  You could help out just one time or as often as you want.

Arb Garden work party
Woodward Dream Cruise Parking
If you are planning on going to the Woodward Dream Cruise on Saturday, August 19, 2017, please consider supporting the Royal Oak Nature Society by parking your vehicle at Gunn Dyer Park (Chester & Hampton).  The park is just east of Woodward & just a couple blocks north of Memorial Park (corner of 13 Mile Rd & Woodward).  Parking cost $10 per car per entry with a part of the proceeds going to the Nature Society.  For a map showing the park’s location, please click here.

Dream Cruise 2013
Nature Society Master Plan announcement
Click here to check out our updated Master Plan.


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 248-246-3100 or by e-mail at

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.
Mushroom-Mary April Talk
Native Tree Collection

One of the long term goals of the Nature Society has always been to have as many of Michigan's 86 tree species as we can.  We have 41 native species in Tenhave Woods, but because it is a nature area, we can’t plant any new species there. Presently, we have 24 native species that can be found in our arboretum (located behind the Senior Center) that can't be found in Tenhave.   There are 5 other species growing in our nursery.  That leaves 16 species of native Michigan trees that we need to obtain and plant in our arboretum in order to reach 86.  Check our table of Michigan’s native tree species to see where we stand with each of them.  We will periodically update the table as we plant or find more tree species.

Trees in the Tenhave Woods.
A black and white photo of a farm house.

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. The above photo is of Samuel Volney Goodwin's family and farmhouse during the middle 1880s. Samuel is the third generation of Goodwins to own this piece of land.

Special Thanks

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

The Nature Society wants 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.

ROAK Brewing Company Logo

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.