Formed during the recession of the region's last ice age glacier 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, the 35-acre island that rests in Orchard Lake has always been considered a special place. It is a geological rarity; inland bodies of water as small as Orchard Lake rarely have islands as big as Apple Island. From its earliest aboriginal visitor to today's casual tourist, the island's undeniable allure endures.
After Willis Ward's death in 1943, Apple Island was conveyed to his children Marjorie and Harold Lee Ward. Upon Marjorie's death in 1970, and in accordance with her wish as expressed to her husband Brigadier General Frederick Strong, the island was deeded by members of her family to the West Bloomfield School District. It was the intent of this gift that the area be used as an educational nature center which would bring to the students of the district an appreciation of their environment and the need to conserve our natural resources.