BREC's Conservation Department
East Baton Rouge Parish residents care about protecting local habitats and biodiversity and so does BREC! BREC's Conservation Department is dedicated to complete its mission through the Natural Resource Management Plan in order to better the lives of East Baton Rouge Parish residents. The goals of BREC's Conservation Department are as follows:
- To promote recreation and education activities focusing on appreciation and understanding of the natural environment.
- To protect unique and historically representative habitats within East Baton Rouge Parish.
- To reduce the loss of species.
BREC’s premier Conservation Area is Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. It is a 103 acre staffed facility dedicated to conservation, education, recreation and tourism. The Nature Center includes live animal exhibits, natural artifact displays, a waterfowl decoy collection and boardwalk and nature trails. $3 adults, $2 children and $2.50 seniors entrance fee.
Satellite Conservation Areas
Satellite Conservation Areas are set aside to protect habitat but unlike Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, they do not have dedicated staff or entry fees. The Satellite Conservation arees listed below offer a variety of habitat types and experiences. Refer to each park’s page for specific information about each park. Rules and Regulations vary from park to park.
Hours of Operation: All Satellite Conservation Areas are open daily from sunrise to sunset.
These areas are completely undeveloped and are set aside for the protection of habitat and wildlife. There are no developed trails and should not be visited unless permission received through the conservation department. Areas like these are important for local ecosystems and provide habitat corridors for the connection of greenways, native plant growth and wildlife breeding.
Looking for information on our Annual Rainbow Trout stocking and fishing rodeos? Visit our Rainbow Trout Stocking page.
With the help of BREC’s Geaux Green Committee, the Conservation Department is working hard to bring recycling to BREC parks. Since 2014 BREC has expanded current recycling efforts to include a single stream recycling program at BREC’s administrative offices and received 2 grants to begin its first ever public recycling programs at Burbank Soccer Complex, City-Brooks Community Park and Wampold Beach. These pilot programs were so successful that BREC is dedicated to providing recycling at all Community Parks and Sports Facilities by 2020. Currently BREC offers public recycling at 8 parks and facilities and strives to provide recycling at all major special events. These efforts combined allow BREC as an organization to divert Over 350,000 lbs of trash from local landfills annually. Additionally, BREC now offers Monofilament/Fishing Line Recycling Receptacles at the following fishing ponds. By recycling your fishing line you prevent it from entangling wildlife and degrading local habitat. To see a full list of BREC’s sustainability goals and a list our Green Achievements visit our Geaux Green with BREC page.
Parks that Currently Offer Public Recycling
- Burbank Soccer Complex
- City-Brooks Community Park
- Oak Villa Sports Complex
- Highland Rd. Community Park
- Highland Rd. Observatory
- Perkins Rd. Community Park
- Central Sports Park
- Independence Community Park
- N Sherwood Forest Community Park
- Milford Wampold Memorial Park and Beach at LSU lakes
- Milton J. Womack Park and Administrative Offices
Conservation Park Management through Volunteer Efforts
BREC's Conservation Department relies heavily on volunteers to accomplish many of its management goals. With the help of volunteers, BREC conducts trash clean-ups, invasive species removals, trail clearings and native species plantings. We have several different kinds of volunteer opportunities depending on your interests and time commitment.
Group Volunteer Projects
Group activities generally consist of litter abatement and trail clean-up. Because our parish has many waterways our parks are often flooded which is great for water retention and decreases flooding downstream but we do often find litter and debris deposited within our forests and on our trails after high rain events. This means our woods are in constant need of clean-up and we need help from groups of scouts, churches, sororities and fraternities, etc to help us keep these areas free of trash and looking beautiful. If you are a member of a group or organization that would like to volunteer in a BREC Conservation Area please contact the BREC Volunteer Coordinator at 225-272-9200 ext 446 or at firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate your preference in conservation related projects.
Green Force Team Member
If you think you are able to give 20 hours or more of service within a year and are interested in being trained in conservation management practices so that you can conduct work independent of BREC staff, then the Green Force is calling your name! Every year we hold a mandatory day-long training course to teach you what you need to know to help maintain our trails, remove invasive species and assist a crew leader for various projects. We also have several ways that you can assist with programs and events. Visit our Green Force Page for more information about the program!
Baton Rouge Recreation & Park Commission (BREC) encourages the use of public parks for research, service learning and environmental education on subjects such as ecology, wildlife studies, and invasive species. Such research is vital to helping us protect, manage and interpret these resources to the Baton Rouge community.
Research Permit Policy
All research taking place on property owned or managed by BREC requires a permit. No fee is required but permits must be submitted to the Conservation Department and approved before any work begins. Applications can be submitted anytime but are encouraged to be submitted at least two weeks in advance of scheduled field work.
Annual progress reports are required for all work extending beyond the calendar year before December 1st. Where impacts to park resources or visitor experience are anticipated, these impacts must be minimized and the clear research benefits articulated. Any impacts to the park as a result of research must be repaired or mitigated under the discretion of BREC Staff within a reasonable time following research completion. Permits may be denied or revoked if damage is deemed excessive or unnecessary.
To benefit from park research, BREC requires copies of reports and publications; published or unpublished data, must be made available upon request and is encouraged to be submitted along with any summarizing reports. Data must also be submitted upon request.
NOTE: Collection or handling of wildlife may require additional state and/or federal permits and licenses, depending on the nature of the research. See list of contacts at the bottom of this application for more information.
Please fill out the following form and submit to BREC Conservation by email at Conservation@brec.org or by mail at:
BREC Conservation Department
6201 Florida Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
The permit review process should take two weeks or less. Submission of an application for use of a BREC park does not necessarily guarantee that parkland will be made available for requested research.
BREC Conservation Overview & Management Activities - Listen in to the WHYR interview of BREC Conservation staff, Amanda Takacs and Matthew Herron as they talk about what BREC Conservation is and what they do. In this segment staff discusses the natural resources that BREC offers the public and what is currently going on with management activities and natural resource assessments
For more information, email us at - Conservation@brec.org.
The Conservation Department staff includes a Naturalist who works to educate the public and help visitors experience BREC's Satellite Conservation Parks through programming like guided hikes. October through April BREC hosts monthly Woods Walks which include a guided hike through a Conservation park where patrons learn about local ecology and park history. Night hikes and campfires are now offered seasonally as well! Check out this season's program guide for more information.
Recent Conservation News
The Highland Road Park Observatory invites you to come out Saturday, June 22 from 1 to 10 p.m. as they take part in the most popular amateur radio event across the nation – American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Day! The Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club (BRARC) returns to HRPO to teach the joys and importance of HAM radio in communication and emergency situations, how to send your name in Morse code, and how to obtain your own transmitting license in this great hobby that is over 100 years old!