Nature Society

Nov 2016 Tenhave
WHO ARE WE:  The Royal Oak Nature Society is a volunteer group working with the City to protect 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).  If you would like to help the Nature Society with the maintenance and improvement of these three parks, please check out our volunteer opportunities page.

PARKS: Both Cummingston Park and Tenhave Woods are nature areas that are over 20 acres in size and are heavily wooded with lined trails. Our Park Locations Page also includes links to trail maps of the two nature parks. They are open daily to the public from dawn to dusk. Dogs are not allowed inside either nature area. To learn more about why dogs are not allowed in these parks, please review Why Dogs Are Not Allowed In Our Nature Parks (PDF). 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.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PARKS AND THE NATURE SOCIETY: To learn more about Cummingston Park, Tenhave Woods and the Nature Society, check out this link.  More information about the Royal Oak Arboretum can be found here.  To learn more about these parks firsthand, please come to our naturalist led walks.  

SPEAKER PROGRAMS: From October to May, we host speaker programs at the Royal Oak Middle School that focus on nature.  

ANNUAL EVENT: Every April, we put on a fundraiser in order to earn funds necessary for the maintenance and improvement of these three parks.

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.
Red Run

"Ghost River of Royal Oak" speaker program is being held on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 beginning 7:30 pm at the Royal Oak Middle School (709 N. Washington). Join Royal Oak Nature Society naturalist Bob Muller and explore Red Run then and now. Almost a century ago Red Run and its tributaries through Royal Oak, began to be covered over as part of our sewer system. For 15 years, Bob has been investigating where the river ran, what can still be seen on the surface and what is hidden from sight. We present this program every two years and new information keeps coming to light. Since the last program we have found photos of the covering of the Little Run in the 1920s and discovered that in the spring, the Red Run connected part of the Clinton River to the Rouge River. Join us and learn about our latest findings and if the Red Run once ran through where your neighborhood is now.

Native Tree Collection

One of the long term goals of the Nature Society has always been to have as many of the 86 different native Michigan tree species as we can.  We have over 40 species in Tenhave Woods, but because it is a nature area, we can’t plant any new species there.  In order to reach our goal of 86, we need to plant & grow the other 40 plus species in our arboretum located behind the Senior Community Center.  Check our table of Michigan’s 86 species to see where we stand with all 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