LSU AgCenter
Go Local
   Headline News
 Home>News Archive>2014>October>Headline News>

Trees and Trails program takes learning outdoors

News Release Distributed 10/06/14

BATON ROUGE, La. – In a game called habitat scramble, third-graders visiting the LSU AgCenter’s Trees and Trails at Burden Museum and Gardens learned what happens when an animal’s habitat is destroyed.

“The animals have to move to someplace safe where they have food and no predators,” said Isaac Miller, a third-grader at Math, Science and Arts Academy East in St. Gabriel.

Miller represented a rabbit in the game and was the first animal out after his prairie habitat was destroyed by a fire. He tried relocating to a forest.

“I got eaten by a black bear,” Miller said.

This was one station on the tour through Trees and Trails, an outdoor environmental education program aligned to national education standards. During the visit, the students also learned about invasive species and which trees need to survive.

Teacher Bridget Cross said a field trip to Trees and Trails fit naturally into what her students are doing in the classroom and is a reinforcement of what they are learning in math, science and social studies.

“They get to observe; they get to see different types of leaves; they get to count the rings on the trees,” Cross said. “That’s interesting to them. It’s tangible.”

The tour is aimed at third- through seventh-graders, but Ellen LeBlanc, who oversees the Trees and Trails program, said they also provide a tour geared toward kindergarten through second-graders.

Trained docents take the students through the forest and provide a lesson at each station.

“We hope to open their eyes to being able to observe and learn what’s around them and being able to enjoy what outside, and learning that even play time is a learning experience,” LeBlanc said.

The games the students played at each stop help strengthen the message of how important trees, plants and animals are to our ecosystem. But just getting students out into an urban forest helps foster appreciation for nature.

As a coyote, Natalie Morales enjoyed surviving the rounds of habitat scramble, but she said her favorite part of the day was just wandering the trail.

“I liked seeing all kinds of different trees,” she said.

Teachers interested in taking their class to Trees and Trails can learn more online at

Tobie Blanchard

Last Updated: 10/6/2014 10:17:48 AM

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?
Click here to contact us.