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Pollinator Pathway

Royal Oak

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The City of Royal Oak, Michigan is part of the Great Lakes Region and Detroit metropolitan area. Royal Oak is situated on ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Anishinaabeg – The Three Fire Confederacy of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations. Royal Oak is in the Eastern Temperate Forest of North America (EPA Ecoregions of North America).  

Royal Oak has several features directly supporting its Pollinator Pathway as well as residents who devote all or a portion of their home garden to a pollinator pathway.   

You can join the Pollinator Pathway!!!

For Royal Oak residents, businesses, and organizations that have established a non-toxic, native plant garden to support pollinators, please take a moment to register on so your location shows up.  

The mix of locations with pesticide-free, native plantings include two nature preserves managed by community volunteers, pollinator plantings at the Detroit Zoo, residents' gardens, a community garden, middle school garden, and native plantings in public parks.  

Some highlights of RO native plant gardens creating a local pollinator pathway include:  

The Royal Oak Middle School has a native plant pollinator garden and garden art prepared and installed by the National Junior Art Honor Society. (Established Spring 2023)  

The RO Community Garden managed by the RO Garden Club, includes a native plant pollinator garden around its perimeter as well as an herb garden. (Established 2022)  

In 2021, Royal Oak passed its first Sustainability & Climate Action Plan, which includes increasing the use of native plants in city owned as well as encouraging their use in private properties.  

The Detroit Zoological Society, with its main Zoo located in Royal Oak, includes a native plant butterfly garden and a native plant, tree, and species pond area as well as some community supported native plantings on their grounds.  

Royal Oak is a city of parks and gardens with more than 310 acres devoted to 51 parks including two pristine, natural reserves (Cummingston Park and Tehave Woods). The Royal Oak Nature Society, a volunteer group, stewards the nature reserves as well as the Fred A. Erb Arboretum that includes native plants and trees not found in Tenhave and Cummingston.

Tenhave Woods

Tenhave Woods is located within (gated area) Quickstad Park 3900 Marais Avenue (Normandy & Lexington)  Royal Oak, MI 48067

Tenhave Woods is a nature preserve and conservancy park managed by the all volunteer Royal Oak Nature Society and located within Quickstad Park in Royal Oak, Michigan. Tenhave Woods encompasses about 22 acres, which is mostly wooded with lined trails as well as a pond. As a protected area, a mix of trees and woodland native plants and flowers thrive here. Tenhave Woods is open to the public from dusk to dawn daily. Because it is a preserve for pollinators, animals, trees, and plants, visitors are kindly requested to not bring pets into the preserve.

Located near the high school and senior center, Tenhave Woods was named in 1999 after Hessel Tenhave, a high school biology teacher who taught in Royal Oak for 34 years and often utilized the woods to impress the importance and beauty of the environment on his students. Walter Nickel, former naturalist for Cranbrook institutions, said, “This is one of the finest acreages of hard woods that I have ever seen in this area.”  

For pollinators, Tenhave Woods has extensive blooming early spring native flowering plants among many others. For more information about Tenhave Woods and the Royal Oak Nature Society please visit

Fred A. Erb Arboretum

The Fred A. Erb Arboretum is a 4 1/2 acre park located around three sides of the City of Royal Oak Senior Center. The Arboretum provides visitors a window to the many varieties of native species, plants, shrubs, and trees, that can be enjoyed throughout the year.   

When visiting, please enjoy your walk through the arboretum and hopefully learn or see something interesting in each plant community! 

The arboretum, managed by the all volunteer Royal Oak Nature Society, adds to their ability to teach about the area’s Great Lakes ecosystems, and encourage residents to use environmental beneficial native plants around their homes.  

The development of the arboretum began in 2007. The long-range plan for the arboretum is to create a collection of native trees/plants that are not found in nearby Tenhave Woods. In 2008, The Royal Oak Nature Society began restoring the native plant community in what is now known as the Fred A. Erb Arboretum.   The Nature Society’s early efforts in the arboretum focused on identifying and preserving native trees and shrubs and removing invasive species by the Nature Society with support from Eagle Scout Project work crews and various conservation/community groups.  

Today, there are fields of native flowers as well as shrubs and trees. In 2023, the Era Family Foundation donated funds to plant an additional 100 trees native to the ecological region. The Royal Oak Nature Society will manage the tree planting, which will be done over two years with the support of volunteers.   

If you are interested in volunteering, please email or call 248-246-3380 & leave a message.

Everyone is invited to join the Pollinator Pathway. To join please make a commitment to: Pesticide-Free Gardening, Support and/or Add a Mix of plants native to our ecological region, remove invasive plants, find spaces to leave the leaves in support of pollinators, and register on the Pollinator Pathway map.


If you have questions, please email

This effort is to encourage documentation of local Royal Oak efforts already contributing to the local Pollinator Pathway and to encourage more residents, organizations, and businesses to join.

For Royal Oak residents when you join, if you would like a Pollinator Pathway sign for your garden, please email

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