The Poplarville High School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Classes visited the Thad Cochran Southern Horticulture Laboratory Friday, November 22,2013.  Dr. Donna Marshall, Horticulturist and 1987 Poplarville High School Graduate, discussed traditional plant breeding as well as in vitro breeding techniques and the role that genetics plays in developing new varieties of ornamental and small fruit plants with improved qualities such as productivity, disease resistance and vigor.
Entomologists Dr. Blair Sampson and Chris Werle talked to students about the role that insects play in plant pollination as well as how they are developing techniques to control invasive pests which, left unchecked, could cause harm to local trees and fruit crops.
Scott Langlois, Industrial Engineer and 1981 Poplarville High School Graduate, discussed how engineering principles are used in the design and development of equipment utilized to support the agricultural industry and how engineers integrate mechanization and special tooling to improve productivity and increase worker safety.
Dr. Anthony Witcher, Horticulturist, explained the role that automated greenhouses play in support of research and showed the students how environmental conditions such as light, temperature, humidity and irrigation are monitored and controlled in the research station’s greenhouses.