Groundbreaking set for Burden Botanic Gardens

BATON ROUGE — The LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden will hold the groundbreaking ceremony for its new pavilion at 10:30 a.m. on April 25.

The ceremony will be held next to the Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie where the new pavilion will be built, according to LSU AgCenter resident coordinator Jeff Kuehny.

“The pavilion will be located next to the trail head of Trees and Trails in the Burden Woods and will provide an accessible base for conducting the Project Learning Tree program that’s led by Burden Horticulture Society docents,” Kuehny said.

This trail system offers a framework for nature experiences with educational areas, while at the same time providing access to a safe outdoor environment.

Project Learning Tree provides students a fun learning experience in an environmental context. It correlates to national and state standards in science, social studies, language arts, math, and other subjects — and strengthens their critical thinking, team building and problem solving skills, according to Kuehny.

“Topics range from forests, wildlife and water to community planning, waste management and energy,” he said. “Last year, over 1,400 children from 17 schools participated in the program.”

A master plan was completed in 2009 to help transform Burden into one of the city’s and state’s premier destinations.

A restroom facility will be included to support the programs held at the pavilion, Orangerie and gardens.

“The pavilion and restrooms are among the primary elements of the first phase of the plan, and we are excited about accomplishing this first step,” Kuehny said. “This is one of many public/private endeavors that enhance the outreach and education programs of the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens.”

Other elements of the master plan related to the pavilion and Trees and Trails include the expansion of the Black Swamp Boardwalk, the extension of the trail system to Burden’s Bluff and the development of a wetlands educational program to be completed this fall.

Also in the planning stage is the “Big Tree House,” which will be centrally located on the trail system.

More information related to the pavilion, the docent-led Project Learning Tree program and other elements of the master plan are available from Kuehny or Gigi Gauthier at 225-763-3990.

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