Scientist Returns Home

June 8th, 2011

Paul S. Lehman

Paul S. Lehman prunes a tree; in the background is his childhood home.

Before his retirement, Paul S. Lehman ’63, PhD (plant pathology), spent decades as a government-employed research scientist, mainly focused on excluding pests and diseases through phytosanitary practices rather than by chemical means. Today, however, his research focuses on his backyard. Mary Ellen ’62 and Paul Lehman have retired to farmland in the Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania that has been in Paul’s family for more than 150 years. They are now investigating ways to maintain the land, in part, as a preserve for wildlife and, in part, as a source of sustenance for their descendants.

“We decided to make an investment for future generations by establishing an orchard with disease-resistant trees that can be managed with organic practices,” Paul says. “We planted an area of blueberries because this was most likely another sustainable crop that can be managed organically and which is adapted for our area based on the fact that blueberries which were planted on a neighbor’s farm 50 years ago are still producing. We planted new grape vines from the stock that have continuously produced since the time that my grandparents were married in 1887.”

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