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Stink Bugs, Other Challenges Focus of Fruit Lecture

South Mountain Speakers Series continues with a new lecture Saturday in Biglerville

It's not easy getting apples and cherries and other locally grown fruit to roadside stands and grocery stores.

Just keeping the fruit healthy as it grows through the warm summer months in the orchards around Adams County and the South Mountain region comes with its own set of challenges, and many growers can attest there seem to be more and more of those challenges every year.

The difficulties fruit farmers face and how researchers are working to combat those problems will be the focus of a lecture 1 p.m. Saturday at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center.

At the next lecture in the South Mountain Speakers Series, biocontrol specialist and researcher David Biddinger will discuss the latest crop of challenges, ranging from the stink-bug infestation that has caused considerable crop loss, to the decline of native pollinator populations.

 Light refreshments will be served, and his lecture will be followed by a tour of the research facility.

"Fruit growers are constantly encountering new invasive species and diseases that threaten the health of the numerous orchards that dot the South Mountain area," said Allen Dieterich-Ward, chairman of the South Mountain Partnership's speaker series committee. "Participants will find out how scientists and growers combat these threats to the South Mountain fruit belt, and learn more about research programs during a tour of the center's grounds."

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources spokeswoman Christina Novak said this is the third year of the speaker series, hosted by the partnership, and more than 1,000 people have attended lectures, held throughout the region.

The series was inspired by the 19th century talks given by forest-management pioneer Joseph Rothrock, who worked to preserve and restore Pennsylvania's forests and natural landscape.

The next lecture in the series is set for Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the Gettysburg Hotel when Gina Calhoun of the Copeland Center will discuss the mental-health benefits of healthy eating, exercise and access to the outdoors.

The South Mountain Partnership is made up of various organizations and citizens that work to protect the region's natural and cultural resources.

For more information about the series, visit http://southmountainspeakers.blogspot.com, or call the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 717-258-5771.

You can check out some previous lectures at www.youtube.com/user/SouthMtnSpeakers.

IF YOU GO The next lecture in the South Mountain Speakers Series is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center, 290 University Drive, Biglerville. Biocontrol specialist and researcher David Biddinger will discuss the challenges local fruit growers face. The lecture will be followed by a tour of the outdoor research facility.