About the Friends of the Louisiana State Arboretum

The mission of Friends of the Louisiana State Arboretum is to recognize, promote, and improve the value and benefits of the Louisiana State Arboretum through management, education, research, and training.

Our major goals are:

  • To enhance the Louisiana State Arboretum through the organization and networking of existing Arboretum programs, and the establishment of new programs in the community when there is an expressed need.
  • To increase public awareness of the values and benefits of the Arboretum resources and Arboretum management through public education, professional native flora and fauna training, and research.

How the Friends Began

The organizational meeting of the Friends of the Louisiana State Arboretum was held on April 27, 1996. This first meeting convened appropriately in the Louisiana State Arboretum in the rest area near the top of Trail B. The founding members at this meeting were Corine Roberie, Dawn Newman, Senator Don Hines, Susan LaHaye, Dulcie Dupre, Iris Latour, Dr. Charles Allen, and Winnifred Veillon.

The main topic of discussion at this meeting was "Should an organization be formed?" The unanimous voice of those present was that an organization should be formed. Other topics of discussion at this meeting included officers, technical advisory board, goals of the organization, activities of the organization, membership, and dues.

The Friends Today…

In 2008 the Friends of the Arboretum was awarded a 501 (c) (3) status by the IRS and is listed as a public charity. The non-profit status allows the Friends to receive grants and donations which are eligible for tax deductions for the donors.

In 2011 Jim Foret, then president of the Friends of the Arboretum, instituted a major fundraising initiative for a master plan that allowed the staff naturalists to rework and replace all existing interpretive signage in the aboretum as well as to create new signs. Thanks to this project, as visitors walk the Arboretum, they can now enjoy over 130 professionally designed, beautiful, full-color, tree and soil interpretive signs installed along the trails in 2014.

Major funding for the interpretation project came from a grant from the Coypu Foundation which was established by John S. McIlhenny. Additional support came from Carol and David Lafleur Goldsmith and Josephine M. Nixon as well as numerous other corporate and organizational donors including General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Louisiana, Pine Prairie Energy Center, LLC, Axiall Corporation, Cleco, WalMart, Cabot Corporation and M&T Property Management. Individuals supporting this project include Paul Fontenot, Jeri Flynn, Pam Sanders in memory of Jean & Alma Deligans and St. Edmunds School.

Friends of the Louisiana State Arboretum officers:

  • Jim Robinson, President
  • Peter Loos, Vice-president
  • Rick Webb, Secretary
  • Patricia Lewis, Treasurer

Friends of the Louisiana State Arboretum board members:

  • Buck Abbey
  • Charles Allen, Ph.D.
  • Jacalyn Duncan
  • Carol Goldsmith
  • Dr. Henry Dupre
  • Marc Pastorek