Latest News:

    • As of November, 2015, the site plan proposal for the new apartment complex that had been proposed for the southern portion of the Grace Bible Church property has been withdrawn.  For the latest information, check the South Maple Group website:
    • For the latest updates on Dicken Woods activities, join the mailing list by sending an email to

See the DW Field Guide!

See the DW Field Guide originally funded by the generosity of a FoDW member who wished to remain anonymous.  The guide has been recently updated by the steering committee of the FoDW.
With special thanks to the city of Ann Arbor's NAP (Natural Areas Preservation) for their support.

Then ...

In November 2002, the Dicken neighborhood of Ann Arbor learned of an imminent threat to the nature area known as Dicken Woods:  a Novi developer’s proposal would destroy the woods.  FDW missionThe neighbors joined forces and over the course of one year, succeeded in saving the woods.  In October 2003, the Ann Arbor City Council voted to purchase Dicken Woods as city parkland.

... and Now

The Friends of Dicken Woods work in close collaboration with NAP (Natural Areas Preservation) as stewards of the woods.  The goals are to preserve, protect and improve the woods and instill an environmental ethic among those who visit.  Much has been done to meet these goals.

Early in our stewardship the FoDW established trails through the nature area.  Each year the trails are maintained by clearing overgrown branches and weeds and by spreading chips to allow easy access.  Drain pipes were added to channel water under the wetter areas along the trails and a foot bridge was built as an Eagle Scout Project.  During annual work days massive amounts of invasive plants have been removed and many native trees, shrubs and wildflowers have been planted and tended. A butterfly garden has been developed.

A grant from FoDW resulted in a field guide via collaboration among the FoDW, the Leslie Science and Nature Center and the city’s department of Natural Areas Preservation. The project was funded through the generosity of a FoDW member who asked to remain anonymous. The guide was to be used as a resource which would allow for the best possible use of the woods. This Field Guide to Dicken Woods has recently been updated.

The Friends also established a grants program for Dicken Elementary School.  Each year the Friends donate $1000 in grants to fund school science programs that relate to the woods. 

The programs are mostly provided by Leslie Science and Nature Center and have included Winter Wonders; Fur, Feathers and Scales; In Cold Blood (cold blooded animals); Decomposers-Rats, Vultures, and Roaches; Hunters of the Sky (raptors); and environmental songs with Joe Reilly. Another special project was the funding of a tiled mural titled The Trees of Dicken Woods.  It was done as a school art project and presented as a permanent gift to the school.

For many years the FoDW worked with the school in holding its tremendously popular Winter Walk through the woods.  Students created their own luminaries and the Friends set them out along the trails turning a cold winter night into a magical evening. After the walk the Friends provided cookies and hot chocolate in the school. Most recently the overwhelming success of this event has necessitated changes in the trail use and the school has now assumed ownership of the walk using mostly school property.

Dicken Woods has become a special place for the entire neighborhood.  It is not a playground, it is not a park.  It is a nature area that we as a group have promised to preserve, protect and improve.  As each year passes we continue to fulfill our original commitment.

To learn more about the first phase of the Friends work- the year-long effort to save the woods- see the original archived website.