Baton Rouge trees have courted unintended controversy, leaving a local non-profit to explain that it isn't trying to take a stand against road improvements.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the state's plan to widen Interstate 10 between the Interstate 12 split and the Mississippi River Bridge last month. Ever since, Baton Rouge Green has been getting calls about trees being planted alongside the interstate.

"No, these are not protest trees," wrote executive director Sage Foley in a news release.

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The non-profit, which plants trees around the city, is laughing off the confusion. They've been planning to plant olive, magnolia, holly, cypress, oak and maple trees along Interstates 10, 12 and 110 for some time. Team Automotive donated funds to plant 59 trees near Acadian Thruway, the Governor's Mansion and Airline Highway, the release states.

The Acadian Thruway site in particular generated calls wondering if Baton Rouge Green was making a symbolic gesture against the interstate widening project. It's just coincidental timing, Foley explained.

She said her organization will work with the state Department of Transportation and Development to determine how best to deal with the thousands of trees along the stretch of road set to be widened.

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Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.

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