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Capstone Projects

Forest Succession's Effect on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties after Agriculture Abandonment

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 11:00
Abstract: Landscapes have been significantly altered by humans and replacing forests with agricultural crops is a major alteration humans have made. This landscape change has affected soils significantly. Agriculture practices can potentially have detrimental effects on soils. However, through the 20th century forest cover drastically increased in the United States through the recruitment of second growth forests as a result of agriculture abandonment. Forests reclaiming farm lands through forest succession can have a significant effect on recoveries in soil physical and chemical properties such as bulk density, soil strength, porosity and fertility. Therefore, the goal of this study was to investigate forest successions effect on soil physical and chemical properties after agriculture abandonment. Three specific hypotheses were tested: 1) Bulk density and soil strength will decrease while micro and macro porosity will increase as forests reclaim farm lands. 2) Soil carbon and available nitrogen will increase over time. 3) Soil pH will decrease and electrical conductivity will increase over time. These hypotheses were explored on abandoned agriculture fields in a chronosequence study on coarse loamy Inceptisols in upstate New York across a 60 year temporal scale. Data showed that total porosity, total carbon and available nitrogen increase while soil pH, bulk density, soil strength and electrical conductivity decline over time. These results support all three hypotheses except for the latter half of hypothesis number three. The findings of this study suggest that although agriculture may disturb soil properties, time coupled with forest succession can result in significant recoveries.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Forestry
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Final Report.docx
Authors: Nathan Piché

Alpine Ecosystems on Ski Area Summits in the Northeast: A Best Management Practices Manual

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 15:19
Abstract: Over the past half a century, anthropogenic climate change has triggered temperatures in the northeastern United States to rise. This increase has led to decreased winter precipitation and a longer annual growing season. Species found in upland/montane habitats on the southern edge of their range limits are particularly threatened by these changes. Warmer temperatures have allowed larger woody plants to advance up mountain slopes, entering the habitat of these fragile species. In the next decade, we will witness a complete disappearance of alpine flora from several locations across the northeast including Whiteface in New York, Sugarloaf in Maine and Mount Mansfield in Vermont. Managers of ski resorts can therefore play an important role in promoting the continued persistence of high-altitude flora and fauna through carefully considered management decisions can also serve to promote the reputation of the ski industry as stewards of mountaintop ecosystems. Doing so will allow for continued study of the species that exist within these communities, the protection of biodiversity, and increased revenue for the resort itself through elevated public image and mountain-top tourism. To help begin these conservation efforts, we have created a best management practice (BMP) manual to guide ski area managers in making these developments. It includes techniques for sustainable slope, soil, vegetation and wildlife management, erosion control, artificial snow production, and ski slope construction and design. Also included are marketing techniques and an overview of the economic viability of the practices outlined in this manual.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2014
Authors: Pali Gelsomini, Dylan Randall

The Effects on Soil Caused by Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) in a Northern Hardwood Forest in the Northern Adirondack Mountains

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 10:54
Abstract: Plant invasions are thought to be among the worst causes of biological extinction and biodiversity loss in the modern world. With the United States spending upward of thirty four million dollars a year in attempts to control and repair the damages caused by invasive plants, not only are we feeling the biological effects, but we financially cannot afford to keep combating these invasive species (Barto and Cipollini, 2009). Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) can invade multiple types of sites whether the soil is sandy or if a site has been disturbed. This invasive species will take over the understory and alter soil chemistry (Morris, McClain, Anderson and McConnaughay, 2012). This study aimed to look at how garlic mustard is affecting soils in the northern Adirondack Mountains in New York State. Although currently scattered and not very prevalent, there have already been changes to the soil chemistry. This study was conducted by setting up multiple plots within areas where garlic mustard was present and gathering soil to be used to test for nutrient values. It was found in this study that calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium, aluminum and soil pH values changed due to the presence of garlic mustard.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Forestry
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone Final.docx
Authors: Kyle Dash

A Paleolimnological study of precipitation variability in the Adirondacks over the last thousand years

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 20:40
Abstract: At present, most regional climate models anticipate wetter conditions by the end of this century, but a few models anticipate drier conditions. This study uses foresight to test these models, as well as describe the relationship between the dominant climate system in the region and past precipitation in the Adirondacks. Precipitation was inferred from diatom assemblages observed along a lake sediment core extending into the 1000 years. This study shows that abrupt, extreme wet events were common during the last 1000 years, and a relationship between the dominant climate system (North Atlantic Oscillation) and precipitation was irregular during the cool Little Ice Age but negatively associated during the warm Medieval Climate Anomaly. With temperatures in the Northeast projected to increase by 2-5 degrees C by 2100 AD, our study suggests the region may become more arid rather than wetter, opposite of what models currently suggest.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences
Year: 2013
File Attachments: regalado.serwatka.docx
Authors: Sean A. Regalado, W. Martin Serwatka

Northern Suds - A Business Plan

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 08:09
Abstract: Northern Suds is new business being started in the North Country. The products from Northern Suds include detergents and cleaners that are additive and dye free. Products are made with eco-friendly, all natural ingredients. All products are also handmade. Northern Suds will begin selling products via Etsy.com and Craigslist.org on or around January 1st, 2014. Products will also be available for purchasing at the Saranac Lake Famers’ Market. The business came from the need for inexpensive allergy friendly products. The plan provided has full financials in addition to the results from testing surveys.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2013
Authors: Shelby Treadwell

"Streamlining operations: Application of technology at Whitetail Excavation, LLC"

Sat, 12/07/2013 - 15:36
Abstract: Abstract The goal of this project is to streamline business operations of Whitetail Excavation LLC, in the accounting, billing, and bidding departments. This project will introduce technology into the company, including a website presence. It will demonstrate the advantages of automating these aspects of the businesses operations through the use of computer software. It is believed that by automating these systems the business will operate more efficiently reducing clutter and time spent doing paperwork. Automation of these systems will keep manpower where it is needed, which is out in the field. By keeping manpower on jobs it will seed the completion of work allowing Whitetail to service more customers than before the use of technology. In order for Whitetail Excavation to service more customers it must also attract more customers. Until now Whitetail Excavation has only been promoted by word of mouth. This project hopes to change that buy establishing a web presence. It will do this through the use of social media and a company webpage. By establishing a web presence it is hoped that Whitetail Excavation will attract customers who were previously unaware of Whitetail Excavation. The website would contain company contact information as well as location, and services provided. The site would also host a photographic portfolio of past jobs and works completed. In addition to the website this project recognizes the importance of a social media presence as well. With over a billion users it would make sense for this project to also include a Facebook page. This would allow customers to share their experiences and make suggestions as well as expand on word of mouth advertising.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone report
Authors: Randall Bishop

The effects of plate size on the consumer’s perception of being full.

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 07:59
Abstract: Currently, there has been a drastic change in the amount people eat. With the introduction of fast food restaurants catering to people’s quick lifestyles, much of portion size has been distorted and this is known as portion distortion. Along with increasing portion sizes, there has also been an increase in plate size (Wasink, 2007). However, it is not known how and to what extent the size of the plate affects or influences the consumer’s perception of being full. The purpose of this descriptive study is to determine how and to what extent the size of a plate affects or influences the consumer’s perception of being full. Data will be collected through the use of observation. The menu will consist of a five day cycle menu. The venue that this research will be collected in is at the Ganzi lab in Cantwell on Paul Smith’s College campus. The tasting will be of one menu item off of the cycle menu and served to a small group of Paul Smith’s College students and faculty. The results collected will be collected through scorecards and then be analyzed to determine how and to what extent plate size effects or influences the consumer’s perception of being full. This is significant in the culinary industry because this increase in plate size has the potential influence on an increase in consumer’s portion size.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: FINAL CAPSTONE.docx
Authors: Iris Lioy

Family Restaurants offering Healthier choices

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 08:15
Abstract: The purpose of the study is determined what small restaurants or their equivalent can do to have a healthier menu. To achieve this study I will do surveys and tasting to gather basic info about what foods people will order from family style restaurants if given a healthier choice. The info will be used in making of the tasting meal for about 8-10 people. This study will not be about counting nutritional info. The info will be important to family restaurants or their equivalent because people are looking for more healthy options for them self’s and their families and it can help them with the making of a new menu. The study over all will answer if can take regular family restaurant style menu items and make them healthier versions that people will enjoy.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone edited.doc
Authors: Ellis Snipes

Molecular cooking

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 08:25
Abstract: Molecular cooking is a style of cooking that uses new ingredients and scientific tools and methods in order to produce a different or better quality product. Many famous chefs have been inspired by this new style. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not foods which are prepared using molecular cooking techniques are acceptable alternatives to foods which are prepared using traditional cooking techniques found in most restaurants. In order to determine this, participants in the study were given two plates of food cooked using molecular cooking techniques. The participants were also given score cards to rate different aspects of the food including taste, texture and flavor. The scorecards were then analyzed and used to determine whether or not this style of cooking was indeed an acceptable alternative.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: capstone portfolio.docx
Authors: Ryan Babcock

Getting Kids to Eat Healthy by the Use of Color

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 08:36
Abstract: Understanding what natural colors of food fourth grade children prefer and by doing this School Food Service Directors can better encourage their students to eat healthier. It’s not completely understood what natural colors children prefer to see in their school lunches. By understanding what natural colors of food that they prefer school Food Service Directors can use this information to encourage students in healthier eating habits in their schools. The purpose of this study is to determine how and to what extent colors and plating designs elements affects the eating habits of children. This quantitative exploratory study will seek to find what natural colors preteen children prefer versus what they currently are taking during school meals. The participants will be Mrs. McCormick’s fourth grade class in the Petrova Elementary School in the Saranac Lake School District. Food Service Directors of schools will be able to use these results to help make their students eat healthier and continue to stay in pace with the Federal School Lunch Program guidelines.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2013
Authors: Tim Pettit Jr