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Capstone Projects

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.
Access: Yes
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.
Access: Yes
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.
Access: Yes
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.
Access: Yes
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.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Benjamin E. Poitras, Tony Karbowski

Birding within the Alumni Campground

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 13:48
Abstract: With birdwatchers forming the largest group of tourist, they become potential candidates for improving the well-being of local communities by educating locals about the biodiversity of bird species and creating local and national incentives for successful protection and preservation of natural areas (Asefa, 2015). With this, there is potential for economic growth and visitor diversity to increase within the Alumni Campground in Paul Smith's, NY through bird-watching activities. This project will research the bird species found within the Alumni Campground to give visitors an understanding of the birding opportunities found during their camping experience. My research uses a hands-on approach for determining bird species (field research), rather than using citizen science experiments that rely on outside sources for determining bird species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2020
Authors: Kara Coon

Creating the Paul Smith's College Alumni Birding Trail

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 13:37
Abstract: The Paul Smith’s Alumni Campground is a rustic retreat for Paul Smith’s College alumni and families. While the campground holds some guests throughout the seasons it is no secret that there are some things lacking. I took it upon myself to find a way to bring excitement to this campground while not drifting from the rustic natural setting. Creating a birding trail is something that not only fits the Paul Smith’s learning experience but also is a large attraction worldwide. With graduates in fish and wildlife to natural resource’s including on campus classes in ornithology this would be a perfect fit.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2020
File Attachments: final capstone paper.docx
Authors: Justin Gillen

A Land Ethic for the Anthropocene: Analyzing and expanding Leopold's Land Ethic

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 13:13
Abstract: Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic has been revered in the environmental community since its creation in 1949 in Leopold’s, A Land Ethic. Leopold defines a land ethic as follows; “a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of biotic communities and it is wrong when it tends otherwise”. Although this has been largely the definition accepted for generations, there are many criticisms about his Land Ethic specifically around the eco-centric views he presents within his essay. This project was put forth to expand and reanalyze Leopold’s claims to get a better working definition of a Land Ethic. Through interviews and surveys I was able to put together a cohesive ideas of local community members to get a working land ethic for Anthropocene we currently find ourselves. Keywords: Aldo Leopold, Land Ethic, Anthropocene
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2020
File Attachments: captone final.docx
Authors: Matthew John Merritt

Management Capstone

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 15:38
Abstract: The management capstone planned an event for the Paul Smiths college community to partake in. They conducted interviews of event planners, spoke to different departments within the school, created a budget, and executed the event. Their event was based around earth day and sustainable practices. They were able to track the number of attendees through a sign-in sheet and satisfaction of the event through a survey. The capstone students learned what it takes to plan events, how to execute them, and how to track their impact on the community involved.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Entrepreneurial Business Studies
Year: 2019
Authors: Natalina Bevilacqua
Gabrielle Fronckowiak

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