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Capstone Projects

Effects of Silvicultural Treatments on Wildlife Communities at the Paul Smith's College Forest Research Demonstration Areas

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 16:15
Abstract: Logging has drastically altered North American forest ecosystems for centuries. While extensive studies have been done to determine the impacts of different silvicultural practices on plant communities, minimal research has evaluated the impacts on wildlife communities, particularly in the Adirondack Mountains. Silvicultural practices may significantly impact wildlife communities due to the disturbances it causes, as well as the way it alters the habitat. We monitored winter wildlife communities in the Forest Ecosystem Research Demonstration Area owned by Paul Smith’s College in the Northern Adirondack Park. By analyzing the data collected by trail cameras, tracks and measuring percent browse, we compared the abundance and diversity of wildlife in three silvicultural treatments (i.e., clearcut, group selection, control). We also collected data regarding the physical aspects of the silvicultural treatment plot (i.e. canopy cover and snow depth) to indicate the kind of available habitat. We found that despite there being the highest average relative activity in group selection, there is no significant relationship between average relative activity and harvest treatment type. Using the Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index, we found that the highest diversity was in control/reference. Due to our limited treatment sample size, we did not have conclusive findings in most areas of our study. However, the highest total tracks and relative activity were found in the clearcuts. We suggest that more research be done on this study in order to eventually make forest management plans that properly account for both plant and wildlife species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2018
Authors: Jacob Adams, Caitlin De Bellis, Tyler Fisk, Hyla Howe, Mark McHugh, Daniel Sutch

Vista Wellness: An Educational Community Center for the Glenview Preserve

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 23:29
Abstract: The Glenview Preserve is home to a beautiful open vista of the High Peaks. This land was recently purchased by the Adirondack Land Trust and is looking for ways to sustainably manage the property by utilizing Paul Smith’s College capstone students for recommendations. One viable opportunity the ALT can incorporate, is the addition of a sustainable forum and conference center. With a community-oriented mind, Vista Wellness will provide a multitude of spaces for businesses and individuals to retreat while partaking in recreational activities. Vista Wellness is designed to be low impact with features such as a living roof and LEED certification. Using a promotional commercial and an intricate model, using state of the art construction supplies, we are able to convey the need for this addition to the Glenview property.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences, Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2018
Authors: Kimberly Kehr
, Matthew Syke
, Thomas Szabo

Influence of Slope on Soil Organic Carbon on Costa Rican Coffee Farms.

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 10:21
Abstract: Soil management is an important factor on agroforestry farms that help with soil fertility and carbon storage. Coffee agroforestry farms in Central Valley Atenas, Costa Rica were analyzed between November 2008 and May 2017. The objective of this study was to see if there is a relationship between mean slope and annual soil organic carbon sequestration (Mg/ha), and mean slope and soil organic carbon storage (Mg/ha), from samples taken on November 2008/May 2009 and November2016/ May 2017. Sample were taken on five farms with twenty 0.05 ha plots. Many coffee farms in the central valley are assembled on steep slopes or sides of mountains. Steep slopes are susceptible to erosion affecting the amount of soil organic carbon sequestration and storage. There was not a significant relationship found between mean slope and loss of carbon sequestration annually in November 2016/ May 2017 (Mg/ha). Mean slope and soil organic carbon storage from November 2016/May 2017 were compared by testing the effects of slope with carbon storage and there was no relationship. Whereas a statistically significant positive relationship was found between mean slope and soil organic carbon storage from November 2008/ May 2009. Additional data was examined to look at annual carbon sequestration loss on conventional and organic farms. However there was not a significant difference between the two. When all farms were compared for their annual carbon sequestration loss, marginally significant difference was found, but reasons for these differences remain a hypothesis. Further research to examine these differences may include practices of the farmers and erosion steeper slopes before erosion implications were taken by the farmers.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2018
File Attachments: JMcLaughlin_Capstone.docx
Authors: Jessica McLaughlin,

Forest Structure and Composition in the Smitty Creek Watershed

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 09:56
Abstract: The 2016 Smitty Creek CFI (Continuous Forest Inventory) study addressed the issue of creating a reliable and repeatable inventory design to examine general forestry trends and their relationships with the watershed itself. Identifying these trends and their consequences is important when considering factors linked to climate change, such as carbon storage and allocation. The objective of this project were as follows: establish 10 new CFI plots, monitor and record for signs of disease and insects, tree mortality, and overstory wildlife habitat, accurately estimate forest carbon sequestration, record understory composition in a 1/50th acre area around each plot center, and suggest methods and reasons for application in Paul Smith’s College CFI capstone projects. The study was conducted within the Smitty Creek watershed in Paul Smiths, NY with the plots falling on a transect that runs north and south. At each plot, trees within the radius were assigned numbered aluminum tags, trees were measured at diameter at breast height, and other features, such as snags, were recorded. Upon completing the project, 10 CFI plots had been created and their locations were recorded, several diseases and forest health concerns were identified, as well as, tree mortality and wildlife habitat considerations, carbon sequestration for the watershed was modeled over the next century, and a CFI project was designed for the Paul Smith’s College land compartments. The Smitty Creek watershed CFI project is repeatable and has an accurate baseline of information for future studies, and the Paul Smith’s College land compartments CFI plot design is ready for implementation.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Forestry
Year: 2016
Authors: Gregg Slezak, Leonard Johnson, William O'Reilly, Jake Weber, Charlie Ulrich, Collin Perkins McCraw, Jake Harm, Nick Georgelas

Rooted Education: learning from aquaponics

Sat, 04/30/2016 - 15:02
Abstract: Aquaponics is the integration of soil-less agriculture (hydroponics) within closed-loop aquaculture systems to reduce the toxic accumulation of nutrient waste from aquatic animals. Bacteria naturally establish to purify water by oxidizing the ammonia secreted by fish, which reduces the toxicity of effluent while creating a usable nitrogen source for plants. The conversion of ammonia and nitrite into nitrate by living bacteria communities is called a biological filter, or biofiltration (FAO 2014). Aquaponics would not be possible without biofiltration; the slightest amount of ammonia would be fatally toxic to fish, and plants wouldn't receive the nitrates they need to grow. There are unique opportunities offered by an aquaponics system to learn about ecological and human communities. 1.1. Aquaponics enables users to grow fish and agricultural plants with limited space and resource use (water, soil, and time). This enables an aquaponics user to invest less physical energy and time into expanding sustainable food resources for their household use. 1.2. A small aquaponics system could promote cultural values of self-sufficiency, energy consciousness, and connection to food systems. It could inspire individual efforts to produce food for one’s household, to build healthier and more resilient systems, and a greater appreciation for farming. Therefore, this project aims to actualize a mobile and functional aquaponics system for the educational benefit of the Paul Smith's College community. I will provide the background knowledge needed to maintain an aquaponics system, as well as describe the general concept of aquaponics design.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Sustainability Studies
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Brian Jason Kohan

A Land Management Plan for the Gottemoeller Family Farm

Thu, 12/06/2012 - 09:58
Abstract: Private landowners own property that is used for a variety of purposes. A management plan can help them realize their goals. This management plan focuses on two main goals. One is to maximize the sustainable out put of black walnut and other quality hardwoods. The other is creation of quail habitat to increase the carrying capacity of bobwhite quail on the farm. Using aerial photos and field visits, the property was divided into ten different management units. Some units have a forestry focus and others have a quail habitat focus or both. A Wildlife Habitat Appraisal Guide was used to evaluate the existing habitat and to identify which elements need to be improved. Peer reviewed research and agency technical expertise were used to identify which practices will improve the limiting elements for quail habitat. A Forest Plan developed by a professional forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation was incorporated into the farm Management Plan.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2012
Authors: Adam Gottemoeller

The Effect of Temperature and pH on the Growth of Variable-leaf Milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum)

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 18:03
Abstract: A fundamental part of invasion biology is the prediction of the potential spread of nonindigenous species (NIS). This is due to the negative ecological, economic and human-health effects that NIS may cause. Variable-leaf Milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum), a highly invasive NIS to the Northeast, is native to southern U.S. states from Florida to New Mexico, and has since spread to North Dakota and southwestern Quebec without becoming invasive to those areas. Variable-leaf milfoil is invasive to the Adirondacks in northern New York State and is spreading at a rapid pace. This study questions whether temperature and pH have an effect on the growth of Variable-leaf milfoil. In this laboratory experiment, the growth of 80 Variable-leaf Milfoil fragments was examined in warm (33.1275°C) and cold (23.135°C) temperatures, combined with 10 pH treatments. Fragments showed increased growth in cold water when compared to the warm temperature treatment, and no relationship was shown between temperature and pH treatment in relation to growth.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2012
File Attachments: CapstoneDeliverable.docx
Authors: Claire Baker

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

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

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