The LSU Hilltop Arboretum is striving to be a nationally-recognized center for the study of plants and landscape design. Hilltop is building upon donor Emory Smith’s love for native Louisiana plants and sanctuary. Stewardship of Hilltop is shared by the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and the Friends of Hilltop. Hilltop is an integral part of the School which is using the arboretum in its research, teaching, and service activities. Friends of Hilltop is continually developing education programs to engage the broader community, and through fundraising and programming providing operational support. Nature, the Changing Climate, and You: Act Locally is a new education initiative which will serve as a framework for our programs. Hilltop will strive to educate its audience about the importance of sustainable design for a healthier future and how each of us can make a difference within our own community.
The mission of the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum is to offer a place for people to experience and learn about natural system, plants and the Louisiana landscape.
The Friends of Hilltop Arboretum was established in 1982 to maintain and improve the property donated by Emory Smith to LSU in 1981. Emory Smith lived on the property with his family from the 1920’s until his death in 1984. He was an avid student of the Louisiana landscape and plants, and promoted the use of native plants. The Friends group has continued in his footsteps with a mission to provide a sanctuary where students and visitors can learn about natural systems, plants, and landscape design.
Programs and services offered by Friends focus on Louisiana gardening, plants and landscaping with special emphasis on planting for a healthier future in our own backyards.
- We are the only organization in town with a focus on sustainable gardening included in almost all of our programs, attended by over 1500 people annually. Many of these programs are approved for continuing education credits by the American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA), Master Gardeners and Louisiana Arborists.
- We are the only organization in town participating in a national program which provides an environmental curriculum to education majors and university professors in all disciplines, Project Learning Tree, which has served thousands of local teachers (in partnership with the La. Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF).
- We are the only organization in town offering a Junior Master Gardener program for children in grades 2-5 (in partnership with the Jr. League and Master Gardeners).
- We are the only organization in town offering a certification program in Urban Forestry.
- We provide the largest selection of native trees and plants in the Gulf South at our annual PlantFest!, a 2 day plant extravaganza which draws over 500 people annually.
- We offer many community favorites including annual garden tours, summer camps for children, and other educational programs and series for students and adults.
- We make it all happen by partnering with other groups in town including CPEX, Burden Center, Baton Rouge Green, Jr. League, LDAF, LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, ASLA, Master Gardeners, and many many more.
Field of Interest
Education, environment, broad community involvement, capital projects and site improvement
The Arboretum serves the greater Baton Rouge region including six parishes: East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension, East Feliciana and West Feliciana.
For more information please visit Hilltop Arboretum or call 225.767.6916.