Are you plagued by indecisiveness when it comes to shopping for a Christmas tree? Well stress no more because a team of Millersville’s own has created the Doug Fir’s Christmas Tree Guide website and android app to solve this holiday conflict.
For many families that celebrate Christmas, the process of picking a tree is viewed as a sacred tradition. In addition, the tree-selling business is tremendously lucrative especially during Christmas season. However, people are often overwhelmed by the decision of picking a tree due to the dozens of options.
“Doug Fir’s Christmas Tree Guide is intended to help shoppers and otherwise enthusiasts of live Christmas trees learn about the popular varieties of trees on the market each year and to then, as they sit around their tree, provide the fodder for hours of additional fun in learning about the biology, history and cultural importance of these magnificent tree species,” says Dr. Christopher Hardy, the app’s primary developer and professor of biology at Millersville University.
The website and app benefit shoppers by providing information that does not exist on any other digital platform. Aside from its authoritative,yet easy to follow content, what also is unique about this electronic guide is that the development team was completely made up of Millersville faculty members, Dr. Nazil Hardy, computer science, Dr. Christopher Hardy and a previous Millersville student, Joseph Marks ’12.
“I love that it is the product of collaboration between a Millersville student and professors. I also love that it has become a valuable resource for my botany classes,” says Hardy.
The development of Doug Fir’s Christmas Tree Guide spanned years, although Hardy describes it as a “labor of love.” Hardy and his team trekked into the wilderness and onto tree farms in order to capture hundreds of photographs and to collect data needed to systematically document information on each species including needles and cones. In addition, Hardy and his team conducted extensive research to include content for each species’ biogeographic range as well as its historical cultural and economic importance.
Although the development of Doug Fir’s Christmas Tree Guide took time, the website and especially the app proved to be a success. Since the the electronic guide was released, a thousand people have utilized either the website or the app.
“I don’t spend any money on advertising because, as a free app and website, there is no revenue to offset the cost of advertising,” stated Hardy. “Familiarity with the Guide travels by word-of-mouth.”
Asked about his favorite tree species, Hardy said he usually defers the decision to his fellow developer and wife, Nazli Hardy. “Nazli prefers a Fraser or Canaan Fir because of their elegance and small footprint,” Hardy says. “However, we as a family usually pick more than one tree for our home each year, a tradition which affords us the luxury of enjoying other wonderful tree species which offer variations on fragrance, shape and color,” says Hardy.
If you want help with your Christmas tree shopping this year just head over to the website, Doug Fir’s Christmas Tree Guide and/or by downloading from the app store on any Android device.