Nestled in the heart of Baton Rouge and spanning across 440 acres is an urban oasis, the LSU Agricultural Center Botanic Gardens at Burden.

“The Burden Gardens are a gift to the community by the Burden family, maintained by LSU. It’s a treasure we have here in Baton Rouge, like Central Park in New York,” said Jeff Kuehny, the gardens’ resident director and professor of horticulture.

In 1966, the land was donated to LSU by the Burden family. Today, it is a natural environment where families and students can escape the city and learn about the local ecology and history, Kuehny said.

In the past two years, the LSU AgCenter has worked to maximize the use of the land for educational purposes, Kuehny said.

In addition to the 20-year-old Rose Garden, the Burden faculty implemented the All-American Selections Display Garden, Children’s Garden, Herb Garden, Ginger Garden and, most recently, the Memory Garden and Pavilion. The latter is paved with bricks dedicated to the memory or honor of donors or others, Kuehny said.

On Aug. 28, a picnic will be held as part of a campaign to fund Project Learning Tree.

Through Project Learning Tree, local students will be able to learn about the Louisiana ecosystem and preservation of urban forestry, Kuehny said.

Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College, will be cooking barbecue for the picnic, and Destiny Manzella and Kenny Acosta will provide the music. Kids’ activities will include a monster truck inflatable bounce house, lawn games and other activities. Adult tickets are $40; children 4 to 10, $10; and children under 3, free.

The bricks purchased for the Memory Garden will help pay for the new pavilion as well as provide funding for other projects that the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens are in the process of building, such as a new 4-mile walking trail through the rain-fed “Black Swamp” and a two-story treehouse.

“Burden is an interesting place, physically, because we are right on the (Interstate) 10/12 split. It’s a two-edged sword, but we use this to teach kids about our ecology within the city. This provides hands-on learning,” Kuehny said.

For more information about the Botanic Gardens or tickets, visit