Welcome to the Gloster Arboretum where visitors are invited to experience a stunning abundance of trees, shrubs, and flowers, many of which are native to southern Mississippi, preserved in a natural setting along the roads and trails of this 400-acre nature preserve.  
John James Audubon Foundation
The History of the Gloster Arboretum
In 1917, George Marion Causey and his wife, Etta bought the property now known as the Gloster Arboretum. They employed a transient carpenter to build the farmhouse where they would live with their children after moving from Liberty, Mississippi where George had served three terms as an elected courthouse official. After Etta's death in 1942, the couple’s son, Ed Causey and his wife, moved into the house with George. George died a year later and the house was sold to two couples, who made some renovations and added indoor plumbing. In 1956 Frank and Sara Gladney of Baton Rouge, Louisiana bought the house and surrounding 350 acres.

Gloster ArboretumFrank and Sara Gladney were passionate and knowledgeable horticulturists and lovers of native flora.  In 1956, after purchasing the 350 acre tract of land on the outskirts of the small southwest Mississippi town of Gloster as an investment, they invited two LSU professors, landscape architect Dr. Robert Reich and botanist Dr. Clair Brown, to visit and to assess the area's plant species.  When told of the abundance of exciting and relatively rare plant species, the Gladneys immediately removed the cattle which were on the site, and the Gloster Arboretum was born.  Over the next 35 years the Gladneys seldom missed a weekend either working at the Arboretum or traveling across the country to acquire more plants to add to the native populations of magnolias, rhododendrons, hollies, and others.

In 1965 the Gladneys established the nonprofit John James Audubon Foundation to support the work of the Arboretum.  Roads and trails were added as well as two ponds. In the mid 1970's an additional 50 acres of land adjacent to the main site was acquired.  Throughout the remainder of their active lives the Gladneys shared the Arboretum generously with students, professionals, family, and friends of all ages inspiring countless others with their enthusiasm and dedication to nature.

The current president of the Foundation is Dr. Neil Odenwald, Professor Emeritus and a former Director of the LSU School of Landscape Architecture.  Dr. Odenwald did his graduate work at the Gloster Arboretum in the late 1950's and has been active as a volunteer there and in numerous Baton Rouge gardening and horticultural organizations.  He is also an early president of the Friends of the LSU Hilltop Arboretum in Baton Rouge.

Since the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Gladney, the Foundation Board has directed the Arboretum operations with the help of an on-site manager who conducts the day-to-day activities, receives visitors, and coordinates volunteer projects.  Today the site is maintained as a nature preserve with special attention being given to the collections of indigenous species.  In the more primitive parts of the Arboretum there are about three miles of hiking/nature trails situated in the forested, rolling hills laced with small, spring-fed meandering creeks. The Gloster Arboretum is truly a sanctuary to those who enjoy it today.

The Gladneys encouraged students, professionals, family, and friends of all ages to visit, learn, and volunteer at the Arboretum. In keeping with their original vision for the property, individuals who love nature are invited to visit and explore the Arboretum any time at no charge.
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