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Capstone Projects

The Distribution of Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus) in Northern New York State in Relation to the Availability of Habitat Types

Mon, 04/16/2012 - 18:55
Abstract: Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus), a bird of prey species, are widely distributed throughout the United States generally at low densities. Harriers are found in New York State, although they are less common than in the Midwest. As the harrier is a species of concern in some regions, it is important to understand how land cover types can affect the distribution of Northern Harriers over time, within a given area. Specifically, this study investigated whether the distributions of Northern Harriers are dependent upon habitat type, and if the frequency of habitat types significantly affects the abundance of Northern Harriers. The area selected for this study includes the majority of New York State to the North and East of Watertown. This region was selected because data indicates that harrier populations have declined from 1980 to 2005. In addition, this region encompasses mountainous areas as well as lower, relatively flatter land outside of the Adirondacks which represents most of New York State. Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems were utilized to determine land cover types for the region. These land cover types were then combined with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Breeding Bird Atlas survey blocks. Dominant cover types for each survey block were determined, and the region as a whole was compared to survey blocks within which harriers were present. This process was completed for the years 1984 and 2005, two years in which the Breeding Bird Atlas data were collected for New York State. By using Remote Sensing and GIS, a clearer understanding of the relationship between cover type frequency and harrier presence was possible. Results indicate that Northern Harriers are significantly selecting habitat from land cover types in a proportion different to that which is available. Land cover in this region has shifted throughout the time covered in this study. In addition, a trend of open habitat being chosen over closed canopy habitat is evident. Understanding harrier selection of land cover types can greatly affect management strategies, practices and funding, as the specie is listed as threatened in New York State. The results of this study support much of the available scientific literature on harriers, which state that harriers require a combination of open canopy habitats, including early successional habitat with low vegetative cover.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2012
Authors: Kelly Hoffman

Comparison of Skid Trail Soil and Adjacent Undisturbed Forest Soil Physical Properties Over a Chronosequence in Vermont

Mon, 04/16/2012 - 19:04
Abstract: The effects of harvesting on forest soil physical properties are visually noticeable on soils where equipment has operated. The effects of equipment passes on forest soils of the Northeastern United States are not well documented. Results from such investigations are less telling when the resilience of forest soils over time is not measured. In an attempt to provide insight, single equipment pass skid trails at two harvest sites (1991 and 2010) meeting similar criteria were sampled. Bulk density (BD), macroporosity, microporosity, total porosity, and strength of skid trial soils and adjacent undisturbed forest soils were measured at each site. The results showed a P-value of 0.019 between soil bulk density, time since harvest, and disturbance type. The 1991 site has resilient soil, as skid trial soil properties were not significantly different than the undisturbed soil properties 20 years later. At the 2010 site, skid trail soil properties were significantly different than undisturbed soil. The goal is that this study be used in conjunction with previous research to aid Northeastern forest managers in determining how to remove wood over successive treatments. The data suggests that soil physical properties are not permanently altered after single equipment passes at the two study sites.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Forestry
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Project 2nd Draft.docx
Authors: Steve Handfield, Daniel Kelting

Gauging Public Perception towards Visitor Impact as well as a Hypothetical Recreation Permit for the Adirondack State Park, New York

Mon, 04/16/2012 - 20:19
Abstract: Human impact upon natural resources can have negative environmental and social impacts. A questionnaire was given out at Marcy Dam to determine whether or not the public perceived negative impacts from visitor use, in particular mountain recreation areas. Participants were also questioned about a hypothetical permit which could introduce a new form of management within impacted areas. Surveys were then analyzed to see how the public had responded to heavily impacted areas and the idea of a recreation permit. Results were displayed in pie chart form to represent public perceptions and views. From the surveyed participants, it was discovered that the majority of people (85%), saw negative impacts in popular recreation areas. The majority of participants (64%), also expressed they would not be willing to accept a recreation permit for use in certain areas.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Forestry
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Capstone_Final Draft.docx
Authors: Kyle Leech

Effects of Snow on GPS Accuracy in Forest Environments

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 15:54
Abstract: Abstract Global Positioning Systems, or GPS, have become an indispensable aspect of modern life, used in everyday situations and is a vital component of many occupations, including forestry and natural resources. With increased GPS accuracy, a forester is able to better locate boundaries and geographic or cultural features beneath forest canopy, leading to increased productivity. In the terms of forestry practices, decreased accuracy can cause errors which could lead to financial or physical loss of resources. The goal of this study is to determine the effects of canopy snow on the accuracy of commercially available, recreation grade GPS units which are suitable for forestry use. The effect of snow on canopy closure was tested through the photographic examination of pre and post snow canopy conditions. GPS accuracy was determined by taking averaged GPS measurements alongside the photo measurements. These were points were compared to previously established coordinates derived from a survey traverse. The results showed that snow did affect the canopy closure of the test forest, yet any correlation between GPS accuracy and increased canopy closure was found to be inconclusive.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Snyder2012.pdf
Authors: Rand J. Snyder

Guest Retention due to Value-Added Services within Resorts: A study of the relationship between value added services and guest loyalty in both large and small resorts

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 00:52
Abstract: The resort market is currently an industry of service, rather than simply selling rooms as it was in the past. The concept of a value-added service during a stay in a resort rather than a tangible room is now very important to an individual guest. The purpose of this project is to find out if value-added services make or break the potential for a first time guest to become a return guest. Also, the study shows if these value-added services contribute to customer loyalty. The methods used show the link between a value-added stay and return guests of both small boutique hotels and larger resorts. This data was collected through the form of interviews of front office managers of these types of resorts. The significance of this project will aid hoteliers in both small and larger resorts in deciding the type of service provided by their employees. It will also show them what additional services not already put in place they may want to implement to further guarantee repeat guest business.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Ashley Booton

How are hotels responding to the increase in demand for pure/ hypoallergenic rooms?

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 10:05
Abstract: Americans today have become more and more aware of the germs that are around them. The television advertisements have influenced the idea that there are a lot of germs that people need to be aware of. For example, there is a hazmat advertisement for Hampton Inn that shows a woman being afraid to climb into bed. A housekeeper then comes into the room, in a hazmat suit to take apart the bed stating that Hampton Inn always washes their sheets and duvets, implying that other hotels may not. The purpose of this project is to determine how hotels are responding to the increase in demand for hypoallergenic/pure rooms. The general managers of chain hotels in the northeast will be surveyed. This information will then provide results of how the hotels plan to accommodate these travelers. This will also help determine if the demand for pure rooms will increase the supply of pure rooms. This information can be used by hotel chains to improve their customer expectations of the hotel as well as meet the needs and wants of their travelers.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Capstone Final Paper.docx
Authors: Ashlee Lansing

Wine Applications in Restaurants

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 16:19
Abstract: Research and studies have revealed that wine applications (apps) have an impact on the way wine consumers purchase wine at a restaurant and the way hospitality professionals sell wine at their property. The purpose of this study was to find out how many wine consumers are using wine apps as well as to determine how they are using them. The study then looked at how trend-setting hospitality professionals have adapted their wine selling techniques to assist the wine consumers in their wine selection. The information for this project was obtained through a survey of wine consumers as well as survey of the individual(s) who is in charge of wine sales at the restaurants being surveyed. The results of this study will determine if restaurants should allow and encourage the use of wine apps in their establishment to increase wine sales. Therefore, the results of this study can benefit restaurant properties uncertain if their establishment will be affected by wine apps and are unsure how they should react to the new technology that is offered to wine enthusiasts.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2012
Authors: Shelby Stetson

Bringing Families Back to the Drive-In

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 17:55
Abstract: Drive-in theaters have been in existence since 1933. However, within the past 30 years the number has been declining. Now there are indications that they have been making a comeback. The number of operating drive-in theaters went from 366 in 2011 to 368 this year according to drive-ins.com. This study seeks to determine how drive-in theater can appeal to families, and how they may best cultivate their comeback. The opinions of both families and drive-in theater owners will be gathered through the use of surveys. The results will be used to determine what steps drive-in theater owners will take to attract more families back to the drive-in theater also what features families would want available at the drive-in theater. The long term goal is help the family become a unit.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Eric Kowalik

Micro-distilling; More than Moonshining: Can micro-distilling be an integral part of sustainable Adirondack agriculture?

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 20:43
Abstract: In order for residents of the Adirondacks to make a living, there needs to be a change in the agriculture, as in what happens to the products that are grown and often not used. There are many products that are not used at the end of the harvest season simply because the farmer cannot use that many products. The most obvious would be going to apple orchards where they have so much waste because of drop apples and apples not picked, and turning the apples into a Brandy. The purpose of this Capstone is to determine if there will be enough surplus products from apple orchards, potato farms, and sugar houses that make maple syrup, to be turned into a liquor rather than being thrown away and wasted. The way that the data is going to be collected may seem a bit unconventional in that a large group of people will not be surveyed but rather a small group of business owners including, Randy Galusha of Toad Hill Maple Farm, in Thurman, NY, Steve Tucker of Tucker Farms Inc. in Gabriels, NY, and a member from Hicks apple orchard in Granville, NY. Others that will be asked are Harry Gorham the head distiller at Vermont Spirits in Quechee, VT and a member of Laird & Company in Scobeyville, NJ, these are people that are educated on the subject and can provide extra input on the matter at hand. The results of asking the business owner will determine if from an agricultural point of view, there a surplus of potatoes, maple syrup, and apples to turn them into Vodkas and a Brandy (respectively). The products that are left over could be turned into a spirit, it is hard to tell how much is going to be sold, because it would depend how much was left over. The result will also show if it is going to be economically feasible to do so, or if farms will have to be set up to produce goods strictly to make a spirit. This information can be used by spirit aficionados, who may be looking to taste a product that not every spirit connoisseur can obtain. It can also be used by those who may be looking for an alternate solution to the economy. The liquor can be sold in liquor stores in the area that they were made, for example liquor that is made in Saranac Lake should be sold in Saranac Lake or Lake Placid liquor stores. This would add an extra income for the farms.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Final.docx
Authors: Lacey Galusha

From House to Home

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 20:59
Abstract: In 2011, baby boomers began reaching the age of retirement; a trend that will continue for the next twenty years. This generation is healthier, wealthier, and more educated than their predecessors, which presents an opportunity for the assisted living industry. Assisted living facilities offer more independence and fewer restrictions than nursing homes which is appealing to those who only need help completing daily tasks. The Adirondacks have potential to play a significant role as a retirement destination. The purpose of this study is to determine what brought baby boomers to assisted living facilities in the Adirondacks. Semi-structured surveys will be used to obtain the needed information. This information will ultimately help assisted living facilities in the Adirondack region market to future baby boomers.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2012
File Attachments: House to Home.doc
Authors: Mallory Kasey Fleishman