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Hessel W. Tenhave

For 34 years, taught biology at Royal Oak and Dondero High Schools

Served in World War I

Created the Forestry Club and served as its sponsor for 33 years

Founding member of the Cranbrook Science Museum

Inducted into Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame, 1999

Hessel W. Tenhave grew up near Grand Rapids, Michigan. He attended what is now known as Western Michigan University and obtained his teaching certificate. Later he earned two degrees from the University of Chicago. His teaching career was delayed by his military service during World War I.

After spending several years as a teacher and administrator in the Upper Peninsula, Hessel Tenhave began his career as a biology teacher in Royal Oak. He was one of the teachers in the new high school, which now houses the current Royal Oak Middle School, when the building was opened in 1927. He retired from Dondero in 1961.

Mr. Tenhave is remembered for his friendly chuckle and his love of nature. In 1926 he and his bride, Helen, built a house in the then woods on Forestdale. Hessel often conducted field trips with his students to gather leaves identify trees and observe birds. He organized the Forestry Club at the high school and sponsored the club for 33 years. Club members learned first hand about nature and conservation.  Students went on camping trips, planted trees, created nature trails and fed birds. Club records indicate that during a period in the mid 1930's, over 200 pounds of corn were fed to birds in a local park. City officials designated a section of Quickstad Park in Royal Oak to be officially named the Hessel W. Tenhave Woods. In the 1990's the Forestry Club continued to recreate his work. The club established a nature trail through the woods and identified and labeled the flora and fauna found in the Tenhave Woods.

Mr. Tenhave was also active in the Boy Scouts. He was a volunteer with the organization for 50 years and was a member of the Order of the Arrow. He also received the Silver Beaver Award for his dedication and service. He was also an active member of the Detroit Audubon Society and a volunteer with the Cranbrook science Museum.

Hessel Tenhave was inducted into the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame in 1999.

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