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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

User Impacts to Backcountry Infrastructure at Paul Smith's College

Sun, 05/01/2022 - 13:06
Abstract: Examining how issues of overuse and abuse affect National Parks, the Adirondack Park, and specifically, Baker Mountain, and the management solutions put in place by park officials at these locations, allow for better management of the overuse and abuse issues that affect the backcountry infrastructure here at Paul Smith’s College.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2022
File Attachments: Fischer Capstone Final.docx
Authors: Nathaniel Fischer

The Effects of Overuse in the Adirondack High Peaks and the Mitigation of Similar Impacts Throughout Paul Smith’s Easement Land

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 12:24
Abstract: Over the last 10 years crowding and overuse of the Adirondack High Peaks has been a growing issue according to the NYSDEC, The Adirondack Council, and many other sources. Amidst the Covid outbreak there was a large increase in the number of people looking for things to do outdoors, in nature, and away from others such as hiking, camping, and paddling. Even before Covid-19 hit the United States, the High Peaks had quickly grown in popularity as a place for people to get out of their homes and visit for recreational purposes. Another contributing factor to the High Peaks growth in popularity is the increased tourism advertising and social media presence in the area. Although it was a positive thing for so many people to find a getaway and a feeling of being in wilderness in the High Peaks, there were some rather negative consequences. The high peaks are unable to sustain the current amount of use they have been experiencing leading to negative impacts to the park, its natural resources, trail systems, and local community. Some of these impacts include trail degradation, increased littering, damage to fragile and endangered alpine plants and vegetation, harm to wildlife and their habitats, trail widening, improper disposal of human and pet waste, and more. These High Peak trails that were once only a few feet wide and hiked by only a few hundred people a year have now expanded to more than triple their original width in the last 30 years (Adirondack Council 2019). Some of the same overuse impacts from the High Peaks have been found within Paul Smith's College easement land, and the mitigation strategies to reduce overuse and degradation on the Paul Smith's easement are similar to the possible strategies for overuse in the High Peaks. The REC 440 capstone group also conducted a backcountry infrastructure assessment to help future students and infrastructure stewards with implementing overuse mitigation strategies.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Benjamin Slayton

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

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

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.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Integrative Studies, Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2021
Authors: Bethany Orvis

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