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Capstone Projects

Outdoor Classroom: Maintenance and Design

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 12:37
Abstract: Taking the classroom outside can have a wide variety of benefits for students' psychological and physical wellbeing. Paul Smith's College currently has one outdoor classroom on its campus as of the Spring 2022 semester to take advantage of these benefits. To expand outdoor learning for courses on Paul Smith's College Campus, we designed a second outdoor classroom. We received input from the Campus community through two survey we developed to discern the need for a second classroom, evaluate the existing classroom, evaluate the accommodations needed, and gain necessary information on other considerations for the design and location. Based on the survey results, using GIS to assess potential locations, and conducting interviews, we chose a site to focus on and developed a maintenance plan for the future management of both the existing and proposed classrooms.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Parks and Conservation Management, Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2022
Authors: Shannon McPheeters
, Rebecca Durinick
, Nathanial Brangan
, Derek Thompson
, Annie DeHaven

Citizen Science: A Tool for Better Preserving Backcountry Infrastructure at Paul Smith’s College.

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 22:34
Abstract: The Adirondacks have been home to a many steward of its land. Paul Smith’s College prides itself in encouraging a culture which promotes this long-held ideology to preserve natural resources. It is a school which prides itself in its unique location as well as resources. One of these many resources is its extensive backcountry property and the plethora of structures located within it. Many of these structures are what’s known as lean-tos. Over the course of the 2022 Spring semester, the Parks and Recreation Capstone class surveyed and identified the conditions of 15/16 the school’s remaining lean-tos. A particularly outstanding issue with this however, was the resources and organization required of the school to collect this data. This research paper examines the positive values that the implementation of citizen science programs has had on a national level. Furthermore, my individual contribution to this class’s Capstone was the implementation of a volunteer fed databank exclusively used for the documenting of lean-tos in the Paul Smith’s College backcountry. The scope and intent of this project was to pass this resource on for further development and active use by Paul Smith’s College, related committees, and its backcountry maintenance initiatives.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism, Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management, Parks, Recreation and Facilities Management, Parks and Conservation Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Matthew T. Huffman

Benefits of Outdoor Learning for Students: Grades, Attention, ADHD/ADD, & Behavior

Sun, 05/01/2022 - 21:29
Abstract: This study examines the physical and physiological influences of outdoor learning on students. A majority of my research is based on studies and research done by others that assess the benefits of nature exposure on students' standardized test scores, attention, behavior, and overall student achievement. Through the use of an 18-question survey research was collected and data were examined in order to determine whether or not students felt satisfied or dissatisfied with outdoor classrooms. They were being assessed to see if they had different attitudes towards outdoor classrooms than indoor classrooms. The findings of this study are discussed in relation to the additional research found below. Keywords: Outdoor classrooms, Outdoor learning, benefits of outdoor learning on attention, behavior, grades, etc.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2022
Authors: Claudia Swan

Forest Health Assessment: Kate Mountain Farm

Fri, 07/08/2022 - 11:17
Abstract: Disturbances that degrade forested ecosystems can have significant impacts on forest health. These impacts should be of great concern for forest landowners. Natural disturbances such as insect and disease agents, and human caused disturbances such as logging, soil compaction, and pollution can have substantial economic and environmental impacts. It is of great importance for landowners to be given the right knowledge and tools to deal with these disturbances in order to avoid any large-scale losses of timber productivity, degraded water yields, depleted nutrient cycling, and/or decreased biodiversity. Forestland can provide many harvestable natural resources and ecosystem services for very long periods of time if they are managed sustainably and responsibly. This of course entails a forest being composed of healthy thriving trees.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Matthew R. Wedge, Erin Reilly

HOS 462 BUSINESS SIMULATION- The Geo Gem Lodge

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 14:04
Abstract: Students participated in the RedGlobal Revenue Management Hospitality simulation where numerous KPI’s were tracked over a 24 month period based on business decisions made by each student in a competitive set of 9 properties. Results were assessed and learning outcomes were disseminated in both written and verbal manners.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management, Integrative Studies
Year: 2021
Authors: Yailin Garcia

Potential Impacts of Road Salt Applications on Wetland Vegetation in Franklin County, NY

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 09:46
Abstract: With long winters in the Adirondacks, roadside environments are subjected to extended periods of potential pollution from road salt applications. Wetlands support a wide variety of endemic species that are sensitive to chemical alterations in the soil due to extensive road salt applications. This study focuses on the potential impacts that road salt applications have on wetland vegetation within Franklin County in the Adirondack Park of New York. Three sites were located on roads receiving minimal to no road salt applications. The other three sites were located on roads receiving high road salt applications. Each site had three transects evenly spaced, running perpendicular from the road, 100m into the wetland, with plots located at 0m, 50m, and 100m. Measuring percent cover of Obligate (OBL) wetland plant species, Facultative (FACW) wetland plant species, and total wetland plant species between sites, there was no significant difference between the two groups for the percent cover of wetland species. No significant difference was reported for pH values between the two groups. The high road salt sites had significantly higher electrical conductivity values. High road salt sites had a significantly higher plant species richness of OBL plants. No road salt sites had a significantly higher plant species richness of FACW plants. There was no significant difference reported in total wetland plant species richness (both OBL and FACW) between the two different site groups. Relying on only one years’ worth of data, this study serves as a baseline for future projects related to wetland vegetation and road salt applications.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Ecological Restoration
Year: 2021
Authors: Christopher Perrotta

A.P. Smith Rod and Gun Club-Workshop Curriculum

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 14:37
Abstract: A report centered around outdoor education workshops to be hosted by a proposed Fishing and Shooting Club. Pertaining to lesson plans centered around Trap Shooting, Bushcrafting, and Fishing. The use of the Kinesthetic Learning Model is heavily put to use in developing this curriculum.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Ecological Restoration, Forestry, Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism, Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2021
Authors: Eoghan Walsh, Daniel Klein, Drew Gleason, Kassie Kirkum, Erin Byrant

An Analysis of Invertebrate Richness with Designated Pollinator-Plots on Paul Smith's College Campus

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 15:35
Abstract: Anthropogenic grasslands, areas which have been manipulated by humanity to be species homogenous and are composed primarily of turf-grass species, have been a key fixture in the American landscape for over a hundred years, but little is known about the ecological impacts of these lawn-scapes. Paul Smith’s College has established meadow restoration zones, also referred to as “Pollinator Plots”, in areas that were previously anthropogenic grasslands to collect data regarding various components of meadow restoration and to document successional changes within the sites over several years. This study is the first assessment of invertebrate assemblages within these pollinator plots. Invertebrate assemblages were examined in two meadow restoration groups which include dry-slope plots and moist flat plots. Reference meadows, meadows that have been established for several years and have not been anthropogenically disturbed, were used as a baseline to which the other meadow groups were compared to. Specimens were collected using sweep nets and pitfall traps. Invertebrates were counted and identified to the lowest taxonomic level. Invertebrate richness was highest in reference sites, which are well-established meadows, and moist-flat locations whereas dry-slope locations had the least overall invertebrate richness. The restoration plots had lower invertebrate richness and abundance overall, however, the differences were not large enough to be statistically significant. The data obtained from this assessment is a baseline that can be compared to in future studies in these plots throughout time. Keywords Invertebrate - Pollinators - Grasslands - Lawns - Meadow – Restoration
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Ecological Restoration
Year: 2021
Authors: Savannah Hoy

Shoot for Sustainability

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 13:50
Abstract: Successfully educating non-hunters and prospective hunters on why it is better to use the woods as a source of food, rather than driving 15 minutes to the grocery store is one of the possible solutions to global carbon and Greenhouse gas problems. Furthermore, taking a non-hunter to the shooting range can give current ethical hunters the opportunity for the ultimate hands-on elevator pitch. After the enjoyable activity, we as current hunters can convey our message to them: Hunting is less popular method to acquire food. However, utilizing fossil fuel emitting vehicles and checkbooks as a tool for food isn't the best option either. It was essential to dictate the importance of hunting to, quite especially, the non-hunters we invited. By doing this we can collectively come together and combat many of the problems that are caused by the factory farming system in the U.S. Switching to a primarily wild game diet when it comes to meat consumption among humans will drastically reduce the presence of factory farms around the world, thus aiding us in becoming more carbon neutral. With less demand for the factory farm model that is currently used by industrial agriculture today, we can dedicate the many invaluable resources dedicated to other important efforts such as the looming global warming threat. Humans of the earth are losing time when it comes to climate change. Global governmental actions to mitigate this awakening dragon should have been implemented since the first industrial revolution over a hundred years ago. For our study we wanted to examine if educating more people on hunting and hunting practices can it lead to a more sustainable future for future generations and the future of our planet.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2021
Authors: Ryan Thomas, Adam Bettelli

A.P. Smith's Rod & Gun Club Trap Field Design

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 13:06
Abstract: Modern trap shooting has retained many of these concepts but now uses an oscillating target-throwing machine that rests in a trap house and uses clay targets instead of costly glass balls. The clay target was invented and patented in 1880 by George Ligowsky of the U.S. The design was a small dome shaped saucer. The machine throws a clay target somewhere within a 22-degree arc. The shooter does not know the angle it will be thrown until it comes out of the machine and into view. The modern game also does not include a fence that the target needs to be shot inside and only allows one shot. Many improvements have come to the clay target as the clay was baked hard and difficult to break with the 1.25 oz shots that was used at the time. In 1888, Corgell and Harrison created targets that were made of lime and pitch which is still seen some today, but a more biodegradable pigeon has been called desired. Some new innovations for these pigeons have included using sugar, birdseed or grain, and water. A trap range make sense for a variety of reasons on the Onchiota property. One there are no ranges in close proximity to the college and the closest being in Long Lake, NY. There is also a high demand in the area. With the trap range at the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club being forced to shut down in the recent years due to lead ammunition contaminants and clay target remnants being projected into the Saranac River, leaves a hole in the surrounding community. Also, one of the main attractions to Rod & Gun clubs are trap ranges.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2021
Authors: Drew Gleason, Kassie Kirkum, Erin Bryant, Eoghan Walsh, Daniel Klein