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Capstone Projects

Paul Smith's College Athletic Complex: A Vision

Fri, 04/29/2022 - 09:56
Abstract: This capstone investigated the current status of the Paul Smith's College (PSC) athletic complex. It highlighted the deficiencies: trainer’s room, dance room, pool, and locker rooms. It further looked at a vision for upgrades and expansion. This study included an interview with a professional sports trainer, Heather Wilson, from Colgate University. She indicated areas where PSC sports training areas could be improved. Last, we conducted focus groups based on the vision we have developed for the Paul Smith's College athletic complex.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Communication
Year: 2022
Authors: James O. Weathers III, Bailey Loatman and Eddie Kwaw

25 Year Bengal Fox (Vulpes bengalensis) Management Plan for Karnataka, India

Tue, 04/26/2022 - 11:18
Abstract: Bengal foxes (Vulpes bengalensis) are a small canid endemic to India and adjacent regions. They are opportunistic omnivores, consuming a wide variety of food-items which may vary in abundance seasonally and/or spatially. Conservation issues of primary concern include habitat loss, habitat degradation, poaching, and outbreaks of enzootic diseases. Space needed to accommodate the growing human population as well as increases in agricultural and industrial output has led to encroachment of humans onto Bengal fox habitat. This management plan aims to increase Bengal fox populations within Karnataka, India to ~10,000 individuals to allow grazing and development practices to continue. Objectives to reach this goal include estimating and mapping habitat suitability in Karnataka, performing a mark-recapture study to gain information on population dynamics, providing public education on Bengal fox conservation to residents and ecotourists, and increasing the survivorship of pup and juvenile age classes. To estimate habitat suitability, vegetation will need to be surveyed throughout Karnataka using a series of randomly generated plots. Measurements of habitat suitability will be compiled in a map utilizing ArcGIS which will help locate areas with potentially high Bengal fox densities. A mark-recapture study will be executed to gain knowledge on survivorship of the Bengal fox population in Karnataka. A Cormack-Jolly-Seber Model will be utilized to interpret survivorship of the Bengal fox population following the mark-recapture study. Data on current Bengal fox population dynamics is lacking from the literature and is necessary for the needs of this management plan as well as future studies on Bengal foxes. Public education of Bengal fox conservation will take place in public schools and various ecotourist destinations to help identify uncertainties and biases in knowledge. The distribution of surveys will evaluate public awareness and perceptions of Bengal fox conservation needs in Karnataka after public education initiatives have been implemented for multiple years. Community support and involvement will be crucial in minimizing poaching events and overgrazing of Karnataka’s grasslands. Survivorship of pup and juvenile age classes will be increased through the restoration of habitat, discontinuation of overgrazing, and declaration of Karnataka as a “Closed Area”. Local communities will qualify for incentives gained from revenues of localized protected areas to discontinue harmful grazing practices and allow habitat restoration to occur on their lands. By declaring Karnataka, a “Closed Area”, hunting of local wildlife species would be banned but development projects and overgrazing practices could continue. Therefore, public support of this management plan must be gained for conservation to be successful. Implementation of this management plan will potentially raise the Bengal fox population of Karnataka, India to ~10,000 individuals for the benefit of their ecosystem and the local ecotourism industry.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2022
Authors: Damon M. Emerson

Oyster Insight: Assessing Long-term Sustainability and Feasibility of Artificial Oyster Reef Projects

Fri, 04/29/2022 - 10:45
Abstract: The United States loses >80,000 acres of coastal wetlands annually, along with their ability to retain sediment and treat wastewater. The federal government spends a combined total of $650 million/year to combat coastal wetland loss, along with property damage and loss. Additionally, native oyster reefs have declined ~85% globally across their historical range. Relatively recent efforts are underway by coastal managers to restore oyster reefs to areas with significant coastal wetland loss, due to their natural ability to attenuate wave action, passively and actively filter wastewater, and support biodiversity and habitat for benthic organisms. This research aims to assess the sustainability and feasibility of artificial oyster reef projects to attain long-term management goals utilizing prominent case studies using this method, and understanding public valuation of coastal wetlands and oysters.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Evan George

How Race and Income affect the Housing Market within the Tri-Lakes Area

Thu, 04/28/2022 - 21:18
Abstract: Race and income are crucial factors within a housing market. Within the Adirondacks, these variables play a significant role more than ever. Within the three towns in the heart of the Adirondacks known as the Tri-Lakes area, this research seeks to collect and analyze data around these two demographics. This study collects the data necessary spanning years prior within the Tri-Lake area, then analyzes it by using critical theories around Racial Infrastructure and Rural Decline. Within the study, it is found that there is no concrete relationship between the data and these theories. The results yielded more questions with the recommendation of the continuation of this study to solve the question on how income and race factor into the declining housing markets within the Adirondack Park.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Ethan Billman & Lucas Machowski

“Affordable Housing and Sustainable Living”

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 12:15
Abstract: Sustainable and Affordable Housing and the Adirondacks Sustainable living has long been looked at as a costly goal for most Americans. Living in the Adirondack Park it is often believed to already be a more expensive lifestyle, this paired with the average household income being nearly $20,000 less than that of the average income of New York and US households, it is easy to believe that sustainable living is not feasible in the Adirondacks as affordable housing (Jones 2019) (Shrider 2021). The thought process of sustainable housing being unobtainable at affordable prices is implemented inside of the publics brain. This notion leads people to not seek out or even explore the possibility of sustainable housing in more places than just the Adirondacks. This brings up the question is it possible to live sustainably in the Adirondacks while maintaining the label of affordable housing. This question could end the myth and help express the focus of our study. The focus of our study is to shed light on the expenses of a sustainable household in the Adirondack Park and the problems with the current affordable housing crisis. Housing itself additionally has a harmful impact on the environment through heating, electricity, appliance use and so on. The literature used within this study is gathered from online and physical publicly accessible services. The focused upon topics consist of comparisons between energy sources, traditional and energy efficient appliances, building costs, and some smaller costs of living. An additional case study was looked into and thoroughly explored to understand the steps taken and motivation behind building a semi-autonomous, net zero home in the Adirondack Park.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Tony R. Karbowski, Natural Resource and Conservation Management Major, Benjamin E. Poitras, Natural Resource and Conservation Management Major

Wildlife and Environmentally Friendly Tiny Home Village Communities

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 15:49
Abstract: Tiny home villages are on the rise across the country and the world. This is because of their affordability, designs, ability to move easily, and the positive environmental aspects that they have. There are several studies that show how this type of living is more beneficial for people in a lower income bracket, those suffering from homeless, and for mental health. However, this study looks at ways for tiny home villages to be more efficiently laid out in order to minimize the environmental and wildlife impacts that could occur from the addition of homes to an area. Any area that has any human interaction and introduction of outside material will have an impact on the wildlife pathways and grazing patterns, however, some styles of villages can have a significantly better outcome on wildlife in the surrounding area. By adjusting the ways the villages for tiny homes are set up, it can reduce the impact that it has on the wildlife areas where they are put.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Awinita T. Stasilli

Can Sustainable Living Be Affordable

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 13:50
Abstract: This capstone encapsulates the topic of affordable sustainable living. We debunk different myths that surround sustainably living whether it is too expensive for middle-class families to achieve. We took a look at the social demographics of multiple cities and towns throughout the Adirondacks and we also compared the average annual income of these places to determine if it was the lack of income that was retraining people from perusing a sustainable lifestyle or if it was another factor. We then took a look at a specific case study that was an example of the pinnacle of what a sustainable lifestyle could look like and we wanted to see how middle class families could achieve this level of affordable sustainable living.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Benjamin E. Poitras, Tony Karbowski

Outdoor Classroom

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 23:33
Abstract: The outdoor experience at Paul Smith’s College is essentially what the identity of the college is. Building an outdoor classroom is an opportunity that could potentially benefit the current school and also be influential on other schools that could follow suite. The implementation of an outdoor learning environment in a collegiate setting allows students to be more engaged in their learning experience while presenting a less formal environment for learning. This would be reciprocated for the instructors as well. Teaching in an environment that is very relaxed benefits both the teacher and the students enhancing their learning experience.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Derek William Thompson, Rebecca Durinick, Shannon Mcpheeters, Annie Dehaven

User Impacts to Backcountry Infrastructure at Paul Smith's College

Sun, 05/01/2022 - 13:06
Abstract: Examining how issues of overuse and abuse affect National Parks, the Adirondack Park, and specifically, Baker Mountain, and the management solutions put in place by park officials at these locations, allow for better management of the overuse and abuse issues that affect the backcountry infrastructure here at Paul Smith’s College.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2022
File Attachments: Fischer Capstone Final.docx
Authors: Nathaniel Fischer

The Effects of Overuse in the Adirondack High Peaks and the Mitigation of Similar Impacts Throughout Paul Smith’s Easement Land

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 12:24
Abstract: Over the last 10 years crowding and overuse of the Adirondack High Peaks has been a growing issue according to the NYSDEC, The Adirondack Council, and many other sources. Amidst the Covid outbreak there was a large increase in the number of people looking for things to do outdoors, in nature, and away from others such as hiking, camping, and paddling. Even before Covid-19 hit the United States, the High Peaks had quickly grown in popularity as a place for people to get out of their homes and visit for recreational purposes. Another contributing factor to the High Peaks growth in popularity is the increased tourism advertising and social media presence in the area. Although it was a positive thing for so many people to find a getaway and a feeling of being in wilderness in the High Peaks, there were some rather negative consequences. The high peaks are unable to sustain the current amount of use they have been experiencing leading to negative impacts to the park, its natural resources, trail systems, and local community. Some of these impacts include trail degradation, increased littering, damage to fragile and endangered alpine plants and vegetation, harm to wildlife and their habitats, trail widening, improper disposal of human and pet waste, and more. These High Peak trails that were once only a few feet wide and hiked by only a few hundred people a year have now expanded to more than triple their original width in the last 30 years (Adirondack Council 2019). Some of the same overuse impacts from the High Peaks have been found within Paul Smith's College easement land, and the mitigation strategies to reduce overuse and degradation on the Paul Smith's easement are similar to the possible strategies for overuse in the High Peaks. The REC 440 capstone group also conducted a backcountry infrastructure assessment to help future students and infrastructure stewards with implementing overuse mitigation strategies.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Benjamin Slayton