Ways to Give | LSU Hilltop Arboretum

Ways to Give

North Perimeter Tree Planting

Thank you to our friends!  We reached our fundraising goal to plant trees and shrubs along the northern perimeter of the arboretum!  The planting is scheduled for the fall of 2018.  Stay tuned for more details.

Decades of storms, aging trees, and more recently Formosan termites, have reduced our plant collections significantly. We feel a sense of urgency to get moving on establishing a new generation of plants to ensure we continue to fulfill Emory Smith’s dream that Hilltop is a “complete arboretum of native Southern trees and plants.” In January 2018, we will begin a mass planting (40 feet deep x 470 feet wide) of mixed evergreen trees and shrubs to screen the northern edge of the property, and to expand upon the existing native plant collections. The planting plan includes southern magnolia, sweet bay magnolia, spruce pine, wax myrtle, and star anise. We have contributions in hand to prepare the site, install irrigation and plant some trees.

Helping Hilltop Endure: Join Friends of Hilltop Arboretum

The Friends of Hilltop Arboretum, whose offices are on the grounds of the arboretum, was formed in 1982 with guidance from founder Emory Smith. It is a non-profit organization that works in close partnership with the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and the LSU College of Art and Design to preserve, protect, and enhance the 14-acre site to ensure if forever benefits the Greater Baton Rouge Community.

Since 1982 the Friends raised over $3.9M in private donations to further develop the arboretum into a regional environmental destination. As a result of their dedication major site, plant collection and facility improvement projects make a substantial impact on the Baton Rouge area as does their programs, events and activities for gardeners of all ages.

The award-winning administration and education complex was designed by Ted Flato a vernacular architect with nationally recognized firm of Lake/Flato Architects of San Antonio, Texas. The building respects the natural landscape, is environmentally sensitive, and recognizes the legacy of the founder Emory Smith and the unique history.

The Friends of Hilltop invite you to become a member and welcome your participation in the realization of Emory Smith’s vision of an Arboretum of which the entire community can be proud. Friends of Hilltop members receive notice of events and discounts on program and event admissions and a 10% discount on plants sales at PlantFest!

  • Violet $ 35.00
  • Azalea $ 50.00
  • Dogwood $ 100.00
  • Magnolia $ 250.00
  • Cypress $ 500.00
  • Live Oak $ 1,000.00

What makes Hilltop special and worth supporting as a Corporate Member? This is an exciting time for the Friends organization on many fronts. The programs and services we offer are educational events focusing on Louisiana gardening, plants and landscaping with special emphasis on planting for a healthier future in our own backyards. We serve about 15,000 members of the community annually. We reach children, students and adults of all ages, and professionals with programs and continuing education credits.

At the site, we are continually moving forward with improvements made possible by generous donors, members and grants. We’re proud of these projects completed in the past six years:

  • Paul Murrill, Jr. or Whit’s Pathway — handicap accessible
  • C. J. Brown Sr. Footbridge — spans the central ravine to the “Cathedral” area
  • Revised Site Master Plan — Doug Reed with Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects
  • Restored “Cathedral” — tree planting designed by Robert S. “Doc” Reich
  • Suzie Ehrlicher Ravine Planting — new collection in central ravine
  • Pond Walk — elevated board walk with LA Aquatic plants
  • Imogene Newsom Brown Education Facility — Includes Beverly Brown Coates Auditorium & Bert Turner Courtyard

The Friends of Hilltop organization supports 100% of its daily operations. Corporate memberships are offered at three levels Poplar ($500-$999), Silverbell ($1000-$2499) and Emory Smith Magnolia ($2500 and above). All levels include corporate recognition on Hilltop’s website, newsletters and media releases and sponsorship recognition and tickets for a signature event of your choice. At the Emory Smith Magnolia level we are offering the use of the Margaret Holmes Brown Pavilion for a corporate event ($750 value). 

Call 225-767-6916 today for current information on becoming a Corporate Member.

Thank you to our 2018 Corporate Members


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Hilltop is a wonderful place! We are ready to give you a tour and answer any questions you may have. look forward to hearing from you and hope you’ll join today.