NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in the Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet St. Dr. Amanda McWhirt, assistant horticulture professor at the University of Arkansas, will present “I Have a Thorny Issue to Discuss: Blackberry Basics.”

McWhirt also serves as the state fruit and vegetable production extension specialist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. She works with commercial fruit and vegetable producers to improve the efficiency and productivity of these cropping systems in Arkansas. Currently, she is conducting research on cover crops for vegetable production, high-tunnel fruit and vegetable production, strawberry fertility management, and alternative trellising methods for blackberries.

McWhirt holds a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Tarleton State University, a master’s degree in soil science from Louisiana State University and a doctoral degree from North Carolina State University in crop science-agroecology. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras from 2008 to 2010, which is where she learned to drink coffee, speak Spanish and discovered a passion for working with farmers.

The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is held the second Thursday of each month and includes a rare-plant raffle after the program. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations to the Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series fund are always appreciated. Parking is available at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center and next door at Raguet Elementary School, located at 2428 Raguet St.

For more information, call (936) 468-4129, or email