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Capstone Projects

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

Alumni Campground ADA Accessible Lean-to: Group Project Synthesis

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 12:58
Abstract: The traditional lean-to is arguably one of the most prominent and recognizable infrastructural staples of the Adirondack Park. Lean-to camping was popularized here in the Adirondacks, but has spread all over as parks around the continent have adopted lean-tos into their camping experiences. The lean-to provides a unique outdoor experience, with a healthy balance of exposure to and protection from the elements. It is an ideal camp design for regions that experience a high degree of variability in conditions, such as here in the northeast. There are lean-to campsites scattered all around Paul Smith’s College campus and the VIC, as well as on adjacent public state lands. What Paul Smith’s College does not possess, however, is an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible lean-to campsite. The ADA implements guidelines for infrastructural accommodations for people with disabilities and has a set of standards required for a lean-to site to be considered handicap accessible. Some guidelines include a level site with no more than a 2% grade, a ramp allowing access into the lean-to, an ADA accessible picnic table on site, ADA approved fire ring, and an ADA accessible privy that is readily accessible from the site. Our Alumni Campground possesses a handful of lean-to sites, but none of which are even remotely accessible let alone ADA accessible. With our capstone project, we are going to change that. The 2019 Sustainability Capstone initiated this project, our capstone group erected it, and a future capstone group may study its implications on Paul Smith’s College Campus. It is hoped that addressing the need for an accessible lean-to on the Alumni Campground will help promote the long-term sustainability of the Alumni Campground and Paul Smith’s College at large.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Parks and Conservation Management, Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2021
Authors: Ryan Quenneville, Steven Donnelly, Jacob Martin, Nathan Cibula, David LaFramboise, Madie Roth, Joshua Garland

PSC Alumni Campground ADA Accessible ADK Shelter (lean-to)

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 11:41
Abstract: This paper introduces a tool to differentiate accommodations used in camping. These different types of accommodations are then evaluated for their suitability to be used as an ADA accessible accommodation with emphasis on the use of sustainable materials. The purpose of this exercise is to extend the ability to participate in the camping experience to those people that, because of disability, might not otherwise be able to participate in or benefit from the outdoor experience. Additional attention is given to the history of organized camping and the development of tents. An Adirondack type lean-to is selected as the best choice of accommodation to accomplish these goals. This paper goes on to detail the construction of an Adirondack lean-to in the Paul Smith’s College Alumni Campground. The paper concludes with lessons learned and recommended changes for others who might attempt a similar project, as well as additional steps needed to complete this specific project.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Parks and Conservation Management, Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2021
Authors: Nathan Cibula

Accessible lean to for Paul Smith's College Alumni Campground

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 11:25
Abstract: When you hear people talking about camping, you probably think of sleeping in a tent on the ground. Did you know that there is another way to camp? Lean tos are a popular form of camping and can be found all over the Adirondacks in Upstate New York. Did you know camping in the Adirondacks can be traced back to the 1860’s when hunters would stay in lean-tos while hunting. It's nice to see how far camping has come since then. For this project a study was done on the site where our new lean to was built. This study looked into the history of the alumni campground and how it has been used. Ultimately our problem we were solving in this project was to build another ADA accessible campsite for people to use. It just so happened that a lean to was needed since a tent site had already been put in.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Parks and Conservation Management, Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2021
Authors: Madie Roth, Steve Donnelly, Jacob Martin, Ryan Q, David L, Nate C, Josh Garland

Camping and Mental Health

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 11:07
Abstract: There are many benefits to camping, learning how to be self-reliant, de-stressing after a long week of human struggles that everyone has to go through, or even improving mental and physical health. The improvement in mental health is one of the easiest points to quantify, if you ask most people how they felt before and after a camping trip there will be a discernible difference in their perception. This could be very surface level or it could mean that this could be a treatment for people with some severe mental health issues, there are a multitude of reasons why this could be the case. Coming out of the woods dirty and tired could be what makes the trips so worth it, it can help some remember how well they have it in civilization and that many of their problems are insignificant in comparison to the greatness of nature and how life fundamentally breaks down to such a minuscule level. It also could have something to do with getting certain vitamins from the outdoors and more specifically vitamin D from the sun which has a definite impact on mood regulation and feeling well in general. Coming fresh out of a pandemic certainly gives reason to soak in some sun rays to try and deal with the stress.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2021
Authors: David Laframboise

Bookmobile Effectiveness (And It's Journey Across America)

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 13:40
Abstract: Looking at the continued use of bookmobiles across America one question always comes to mind, are these resources truly as effective as they seem to be? And thus, my topic idea was born. I wanted to examine the effectiveness of bookmobiles across America and see if bookmobiles helped communities connect with one another better. To this end I looked at primarily google scholar articles and found that bookmobiles were very helpful to communities in need of more books, but I also found that the existence and use of electronic bookmobiles might actually make communities even closer with each other than the normal bookmobile because it can offer services such as the internet which can help with job searching and much more.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2021
Authors: Nicholas Polulech

Impacts of Minnow Species Composition on Marsh Feeding Ecology: A Look at Minnow Composition in Heron Marsh

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 16:07
Abstract: Minnows play an important role in marsh ecosystems as both predator and prey. The abundance of minnows in water systems makes them important tools for studying the feeding ecology of small prey fish. Minnow traps were set within specific regions and plots located in the Heron Marsh in the Adirondack Park, New York. These traps were baited and checked the next day, and minnows were identified by species then released. Trophic guilds were assigned to each minnow species based on literature and feeding habits. ANOVA tests were conducted to compare minnow species composition from the fall of 2020 in all regions of the marsh. Histograms were used to compare length-frequency over time and sites where minnows frequent. The composition of trophic guilds showed that carnivores were scarce, as creek chub only over 100mm were considered predatory, and they were not as frequent as smaller creek chub. Omnivorous generalist feeders were common but no specific site in the marsh had more omnivorous feeders than other sites. Finally, the abundance of insectivores was high in most sites, and highest in the forest ecology trail site. Length frequency of the two most caught fish, creek chub and finescale dace, were represented with histograms. Creek chub under 100mm were more abundant in every site than individuals larger than 100mm. Similarly, finescale dace 70mm and smaller were more common in every site.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology
Year: 2020
Authors: Emily Schmeltz

An Ecological History of the Albany Pine Bush, Albany NY

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 15:45
Abstract: Paleoecology allows us to look backward in time thousands of years to see the long-term ecological history of an area. The main focus was to conduct the first exploratory investigations of the wetland located in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve (APBP) and Stump Pond deposits and the first directly dated ecological history of the pine bush. Irregular fire regimes and land development have caused a massive loss to the pine bush. Between 1940 and 1990 the pine bush has experienced an 81% change in land cover. Despite this, the APBP is home to many rare and endangered species in need of habitat restoration. Three samples (APB1-A, APB1-C, & APB2) were collected from a wetland within the boundaries of the APBP and one sample (Stump-1) was collected from a nearby pond. Cores were analyzed for pollen assemblages to reconstruct the tree community. APB cores revealed that Pinus and Quercus pollen grains made up the majority of all pollen found from Present – 6600 years ago Stump-1 pollen assemblages were dominated by Pinus and Picea indicating that between 6600 and 10,600 years ago the ecosystem transformed into the pitch pine- scrub oak ecosystem we see today. This information can help the APBP justify future preservation and restoration work.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology
Year: 2020
File Attachments: Capstone Paper Full.docx
Authors: Skylar Murphy

The Lawns at Paul Smith’s College: The Effects of Mowing on Root Biomass and Soil Compaction

Mon, 12/07/2020 - 17:41
Abstract: Lawns are a valuable aspect of real estate in the United States. Maintained lawns cover over 163,000 square kilometers of land, yet few people realize the impact mowing can have on the ecosystem. This study will be looking at the impact of mowing on the grassland ecosystem and the terrain grassland ecosystem at Paul Smith’s College, located in Paul Smiths, New York. This study will be testing two different factors that are impacted by constant mowing on campus: soil compaction and root biomass of flora found on the sites. Soil compaction is the compression of soil due to large amounts of pressure placed on the surface soil. This event will be tested by using a soil bulk density test. The root biomass is being investigated by the use of a scale to weigh root given from each area of the study site. The study goal is to find out how the disturbances of mowing affect the grassland ecosystem found at Paul Smith’s College using two different factors: soil compaction, root biomass. The results of the study show the site type that has the greatest soil bulk density and the lowest dry root biomass in G/〖cm〗^3 is the dry slope site on the campus. Keywords: lawn ecology, effect of mowing, soil compaction, root biomass, root depth
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Ecological Restoration
Year: 2020
Authors: Timothy I Murphy