Professor’s Website Provides Tree-mendous Resource for the Campus Community

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One thing about Millersville University that catches the eye of parents, students, staff and residents time after time is the campus’s aesthetic beauty. Although Dr. Christopher Hardy was hardly the only one to recognize this, Hardy has gone a step further by creating a website featuring an interactive map cataloging trees on campus that are “especially large, unique or otherwise noteworthy.”

The map currently houses information on over 20 trees, including information on the species, the tree’s location, why each particular tree is distinctive and a link to further information.

Hardy, keeper of the university’s herbarium and associate professor of biology, first had the idea for the website about a year ago, and only recently began work on it.

“I made the website because the trees on campus are invaluable assets to our institution in many ways,” said Hardy. “They provide subjects for educational and scientific study, they are objects of beauty in their own right and they have stories to tell.”

The trees marked on Hardy’s interactive map include the campus’s tallest tree, a sycamore located near the pond, a coconut palm and banana tree inside Roddy Hall, and a female ginkgo tree—the only such tree on campus.

“The ginkgo is…special because of its treemendous [sic] educational value, since female trees are hard to find,” said Hardy, “yet they offer students the opportunity to study the reproductive structures of a tree that evolved nearly 270 million years ago, before the dinosaurs, and is now virtually extinct in the wild.”

The interactive map and website can be found at http://www.wikiplantatlas.org/trees/. Hardy welcomes feedback, comments and suggestions as to which other trees on campus to add to the map, further expanding the wealth of information available to students and the campus community.

  1. Marlene Arnold says:

    What a wonderful resource! Thank you for doing this!

  2. Bonnie work says:

    I loved this article. Dr. Hardy (both Hardy’s) are a great asset to MU. They love what they are doing, and really believe in the students as all our future assets!

    • Chris Hardy says:

      Thank you, Bonnie. It is always nice to hear from you and even better to learn that you are a tree fan!

  3. John Wallace says:

    The significance of this project transcends biological realms and is an essential thread to the University fabric of natural history education. Bravo Dr. Hardy !

    • Chris Hardy says:

      Thank you, John. Your words are encouraging. I always knew that it wasn’t all about insects with you.

  4. John Rider says:

    This is quite amazing! The students appreciate this just as much as the faculty. Now let us just hope that Millersville doesn’t use this as a map of trees they should cut down, R.I.P. to the “The Bush.”

  5. Chris Hardy says:

    Thanks, John. Always nice to know there’s another tree fan out there.

  6. Jordan Kmetz says:

    Great Work Doc Hardy! I can see the Botany program will continue to flourish for many years to come!

  7. Glenda Koehler says:

    :)

  8. John Wallace says:

    Well, I wish I didn’t have to eat my words mentioned above, but now I do. There is a major disconnect between groundskeeping at MU and the MU Administration. We have recently signed a recent agreement to reduce our carbon footprint to curb global warming and we have a Center for Sustainability which is a proud member of the PA Environmental Resource Consortium and vigorously involved with recycling. Yet, communication around campus was non-existent with regards to stopping or reducing the destruction of the 6.5 acres of well-established CO2 sequestering forest in the MU Bush and now after such an important website is launched with the purpose of improving our natural history education and to showcase 21 trees of distinction around campus we find out that the grounds crew has cut down the tallest White Pine on campus located quite near the President’s office in Biemsderfer just days ago, literally a few days after this article appeared.

    In case anyone cares, this tree measured 80 feet tall, had 20 inches of diameter at breast height and sequestered nearly 12 pounds of CO2 annually – by my calculations. Now folks, we have 20 trees of distinction. I hope when the Center of Sustainability calculates our carbon footprint, they factor in the loss now of 12 lbs sequested per year by this majestic 53 year old pine.

    • Nazli Hardy says:

      It was disheartening and disappointing to know of the loss of yet another stately tree, leafing with MU history, on campus. Not only are these a loss to the aesthetic and environmental value of our campus,it is a loss to a generation who will not have the privilege of their intrinsic educational value.

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