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.