2016 Awards

The Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2016 is Nature Society member Helen Cost.

Helen is a founding member of the nature society, and has been an active member of the board since 2001. She is the treasurer and also serves as the Ways and Means person for the board. A big part of her contribution over the years has been finding available grant monies and writing grant proposals to help fund the improvements made to the nature parks. Some of these projects include improving the drainage at Cummingston, adding a cement path in the Arboretum, grants to purchase wildflowers and native trees, trail mapping, and many other projects. She serves as the Nature Society's representative to Royal Oak Opportunity To Serve (ROOTS), which works to encourage philanthropy, to strengthen the spirit of the community, and to enrich the quality of life in Royal Oak. Most recently she has been working to make the Nature Society part of Oakland County’s Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA), a group which is developing innovative methods to help landowners control invasive plants. Control of invasive plants in the parks is a big part of the Royal Oak Nature Society's work. Helen's attention to detail is phenomenal. She is truly deserving of this honor.

The President's Award winner for 2016 is Nature Society member John Semchena.

John won the Chinquapin Award last year for his outstanding contributions to trail maintenance, work in the Arboretum, Dream Cruise parking, and many other projects. Since then he has gone on to contribute even more time and energy to help keep our two nature parks and Arboretum in good condition and accessible to the public. This often involves not only following orders, but going out into the parks, seeing where there are problems, coming up with a plan to fix things, and then doing the work. The Nature Society continues to appreciate John for everything he has done for us in 2014, 2015, and on into the future. This is the kind of help that we need in order to keep our nature parks & arboretum viable in the future.

The 2016 Chinquapin Award Winner is Nature Society member John Herrgott.

John has been a Nature Society member since May 2013. In mid 2014, he began volunteering to help the Nature Society on workdays and activities. John has helped us remove fallen trees from trails, fill in gaps underneath Tenhave fences in order to keep deer out of the park and with Tenhave fence repair. When buckthorn had to be removed from the Arboretum, John was there to help. During 2015, John volunteered to help us with cleanup at our 10th Annual Fundraiser and to collect parking fees at Gunn Dyer Park during the Woodward Dream Cruise. Without that money being raised from these two events, the Nature Society would not be able to maintain and make improvements in our two nature parks and the arboretum. We thank John who volunteers on a regular basis to help make the Nature Society and our three parks more viable.