Nature Society


Royal Oak Arboretum Memorial Garden in Early 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. 

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.


If you are planning on going to this year’s Woodward Dream Cruise (August 18), please consider parking your car at Gunn Dyer Park.  The Royal Oak Nature Society is managing the parking and will be getting a portion of the $10 entry fee.  The park is located at corner of Chester & Hampton, which is 1 block east of Woodward and just north of Memorial Park (Woodward & 13 Mile Rd).

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Nature Society Cleanup & Removal of Invasive Species from the Royal Oak Arboretum  

There will be Tuesday work sessions on the following days at the arboretum beginning at 8:30 am & lasting for about 2 hours.

August 14, 21 & 28

You can put in as little or as much of that time as you want.  You do not need to contact us ahead of time.  All you have to do is show up.  It is recommended that you bring:

  • Heavy duty garden gloves
  • Pruning shears/loppers
  • A hat if it is sunny
  • Water

Also, it is recommended that you should wear a long sleeved shirt & long legged pants.

Meet at the Royal Oak Senior Center (3500 Marais) at the north end of the parking lot.  Click here for a location map of the Royal Oak Arboretum.


In July, the arboretum meadow area will begin turning into a beautiful wildflower garden.  Check out our Nature Guide page to see what will be in bloom in the arboretum throughout the summer.  The plants shown on your right will be in flower during the month of August. 

If you would like to be part of the crew that maintains the arboretum, please contact our arboretum steward, John Semchena

Royal Oak Arboretum August 5,


NOTE*  The Royal Oak High School parking lot on Lexington is currently fenced in due to construction at the school.  Until the lot is reopened, you may want to use the Senior Center (3500 Marais) parking lot.

Mushroom Walk” is scheduled for Saturday, August 25th, 2018 at Tenhave Woods beginning at 10:00 am.  Park at the Marais/Lexington lot & meet at the park entrance.  Mary Fredricks, a member and botanist/mycologist of the Royal Oak Nature Society, will lead the walk.  Anyone with an interest in learning more about mushrooms and other fungi of the urban woods is welcome.  There is no preregistration or cost for this walk



Quercus Crazy

Come and help us as we attempt to sort out which Oak (Quercus) species and hybrids grow in our two nature parks. On Tuesday, October 2nd at 7:30 pm at the Royal Oak Senior Center (3500 Marais), we will explain what oak species grow in Michigan and how to identify them. We will then discuss some of the Oak hybrids. We hope to determine which hybrids in the white oak group occur in our parks and which species in the red oak group we have. The following Saturday, October 6th at 2:00 pm we will meet at Cummingston and on Sunday, October 7th at 2:00 pm we will meet at Tenhave. At this time we will walk the woods and study leaves and acorns. Come to just one session or as many as you wish. Oaks will drive you crazy. It’s great fun.

Save the Park Workday

DATE/TIME: Saturday, November 3rd, from 10 am to noon.

LOCATION: Tenhave Woods   Meet at the Lexington Entrance

Known invasive plants in Tenhave are garlic mustard, bull thistle, Canada thistle, common buckthorn, glossy buckthorn and euonymus. We will remove these "bad neighbors" along with a general litter clean-up. There will be handouts from Michigan State University extension about each of the invasive plants.  All you will need are a good pair of gloves, mosquito repellent and water. We limit the event to 2 hours and you will be surprised how the time will fly by.  

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 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.

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.