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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.
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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.
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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.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Matthew R. Wedge, Erin Reilly

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.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2021
Authors: Ryan Thomas, Adam Bettelli

What would Paul Smith’s College campus look like with an agriculture business adding to the degrees

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 09:46
Abstract: Proposing Paul Smith's College to add Agriculture Business as a major here on campus for students.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Integrative Studies, Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2021
Authors: Bethany Orvis

Welcome Week Canoe Trip

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 11:24
Abstract: Our capstone group researched the potential benefits of implementing a welcome week canoe trip for incoming students at Paul Smith’s College (PSC). These kinds of outdoor orientation programs have been found to be useful in socializing new students, forming bonds with classmates, and building confidence amongst the participants. This trip would be targeted at new students primarily in the Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management program, and the Parks and Conservation Management program. The research we conducted as well as information we gathered from scholarly articles led us to believe that implementing this trip would be beneficial for new students and would benefit them throughout their college careers.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Integrative Studies, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2021
Authors: Logan Hoyt, Denis Dean, Jack Palmer

Improving Development & Image of The Park & Recreation Programs Across Paul Smith’s College

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 13:02
Abstract: Paul Smith’s College is a school of prestige when it comes to Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, Forestry, Culinary, & most importantly Parks and Recreation. The program has been awarded multiple times in the past 10 years. But a ropes course, at 30% functionality, haunts the Parks and Recreation students and the entire student body of what they could be doing. The canoe rental station has poor hours from 12 to 4 everyday, an outdated Parks and Recreation room with not even the most basic of resources. How can the 84 students out of 155 that stated they partake in paddling activities in our survey fully enjoy the school’s canoeing capabilities if the place to get the equipment is closed most of the day? How does this make our Parks and Recreation program, and distinguished institution, look in the eyes of the public? With outdoor recreation already being an expensive and selective activity; the only way to make it more accessible to everyone is to change the perception of the major, and the enterprise as a whole. This is not a groveling commentary of the school's recreation; Paul Smith’s location alone is a form of recreation. There just needs to be a change in the behavior towards these two majors from both students and faculty. The case study that will be discussed is a collection of surveys, interviews, research, and focus groups to confirm that the need to recreate on campus is there, and ready for a change. Through our research we found that fully renovated recreational classrooms together with its facilities, the incorporation of language and spaces that hold true to the definition of inclusivity, plus the oration of the barriers that come with recreation; are required to reach the goal of developing intrinsic motivation in all (not just P&R majors) current and prospective students of the college to change the perception of the program.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism, Parks and Conservation Management
Year: 2021
Authors: Gibson Gilmore, Dylan Maney, Christopher Squillante, James Vogel

RAELM and PACM Program Review and Diversity Oriented Marketing Strategy for Prospective Students

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 11:15
Abstract: Marketing strategy for RAELM and PACM programs at Paul Smiths College. Diversity and inclusion through proactive marketing techniques, redesign of Paul Smith's College webpage and creation of additional literature for RAELM and PACM program use.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2021
Authors: Nathan Greene, Nicholas Brewer

Cultural eutrophication of Lower Saint Regis Lake using diatoms and organic content as indicators of eutrophication.

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 12:06
Abstract: Cultural eutrophication can greatly affect water quality, leading to algae blooms and can affect fish communities. Throughout the history of Paul Smith’s Hotel and College, development along Lower St. Regis lake has led to increases in eutrophic conditions, which has detrimental effects on water quality. In this study, a sediment core from Lower St. Regis Lake was analyzed to determine when past eutrophication events occurred. This was accomplished using species counts of diatoms from every 1.0 cm of sediment. The relative abundance of diatom species such as Tabellaria flocculosa, Asterionella formosa, and Fragilaria crotonensis were used as indicators of more eutrophic conditions. Loss on ignition (LOI) was also used to measure the organic content in the sediment at increments of 0.5 cm. The higher percent lost on ignition indicates higher productivity in the lake and more eutrophic conditions. Some samples from the sediment core were also dated using lead-210 to create a timeline that could be compared to known dates of events occurring along the lake that could have affected the trophic status of Lower St. Regis Lake. There was a sudden spike in the relative abundance of F. crotonensis and an increase in organic content at a depth of 20 cm in the core, indicating that conditions became more eutrophic. Based on the lead-210 dates, this spike in F. crotonensis and organic content occurred between 1898 and 1908, when development around the lake was increasing and Paul Smith’s Hotel added indoor plumbing with poor wastewater treatment practices.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology
Year: 2020
File Attachments: Capstone_0.docx
Authors: Lydia Harvey