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Capstone Projects

Forest Succession's Effect on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties after Agriculture Abandonment

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 11:00
Abstract: Landscapes have been significantly altered by humans and replacing forests with agricultural crops is a major alteration humans have made. This landscape change has affected soils significantly. Agriculture practices can potentially have detrimental effects on soils. However, through the 20th century forest cover drastically increased in the United States through the recruitment of second growth forests as a result of agriculture abandonment. Forests reclaiming farm lands through forest succession can have a significant effect on recoveries in soil physical and chemical properties such as bulk density, soil strength, porosity and fertility. Therefore, the goal of this study was to investigate forest successions effect on soil physical and chemical properties after agriculture abandonment. Three specific hypotheses were tested: 1) Bulk density and soil strength will decrease while micro and macro porosity will increase as forests reclaim farm lands. 2) Soil carbon and available nitrogen will increase over time. 3) Soil pH will decrease and electrical conductivity will increase over time. These hypotheses were explored on abandoned agriculture fields in a chronosequence study on coarse loamy Inceptisols in upstate New York across a 60 year temporal scale. Data showed that total porosity, total carbon and available nitrogen increase while soil pH, bulk density, soil strength and electrical conductivity decline over time. These results support all three hypotheses except for the latter half of hypothesis number three. The findings of this study suggest that although agriculture may disturb soil properties, time coupled with forest succession can result in significant recoveries.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Forestry
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Final Report.docx
Authors: Nathan Piché

Alpine Ecosystems on Ski Area Summits in the Northeast: A Best Management Practices Manual

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 15:19
Abstract: Over the past half a century, anthropogenic climate change has triggered temperatures in the northeastern United States to rise. This increase has led to decreased winter precipitation and a longer annual growing season. Species found in upland/montane habitats on the southern edge of their range limits are particularly threatened by these changes. Warmer temperatures have allowed larger woody plants to advance up mountain slopes, entering the habitat of these fragile species. In the next decade, we will witness a complete disappearance of alpine flora from several locations across the northeast including Whiteface in New York, Sugarloaf in Maine and Mount Mansfield in Vermont. Managers of ski resorts can therefore play an important role in promoting the continued persistence of high-altitude flora and fauna through carefully considered management decisions can also serve to promote the reputation of the ski industry as stewards of mountaintop ecosystems. Doing so will allow for continued study of the species that exist within these communities, the protection of biodiversity, and increased revenue for the resort itself through elevated public image and mountain-top tourism. To help begin these conservation efforts, we have created a best management practice (BMP) manual to guide ski area managers in making these developments. It includes techniques for sustainable slope, soil, vegetation and wildlife management, erosion control, artificial snow production, and ski slope construction and design. Also included are marketing techniques and an overview of the economic viability of the practices outlined in this manual.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2014
Authors: Pali Gelsomini, Dylan Randall

The Effects on Soil Caused by Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) in a Northern Hardwood Forest in the Northern Adirondack Mountains

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 10:54
Abstract: Plant invasions are thought to be among the worst causes of biological extinction and biodiversity loss in the modern world. With the United States spending upward of thirty four million dollars a year in attempts to control and repair the damages caused by invasive plants, not only are we feeling the biological effects, but we financially cannot afford to keep combating these invasive species (Barto and Cipollini, 2009). Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) can invade multiple types of sites whether the soil is sandy or if a site has been disturbed. This invasive species will take over the understory and alter soil chemistry (Morris, McClain, Anderson and McConnaughay, 2012). This study aimed to look at how garlic mustard is affecting soils in the northern Adirondack Mountains in New York State. Although currently scattered and not very prevalent, there have already been changes to the soil chemistry. This study was conducted by setting up multiple plots within areas where garlic mustard was present and gathering soil to be used to test for nutrient values. It was found in this study that calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium, aluminum and soil pH values changed due to the presence of garlic mustard.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Forestry
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone Final.docx
Authors: Kyle Dash

A Paleolimnological study of precipitation variability in the Adirondacks over the last thousand years

Mon, 12/02/2013 - 20:40
Abstract: At present, most regional climate models anticipate wetter conditions by the end of this century, but a few models anticipate drier conditions. This study uses foresight to test these models, as well as describe the relationship between the dominant climate system in the region and past precipitation in the Adirondacks. Precipitation was inferred from diatom assemblages observed along a lake sediment core extending into the 1000 years. This study shows that abrupt, extreme wet events were common during the last 1000 years, and a relationship between the dominant climate system (North Atlantic Oscillation) and precipitation was irregular during the cool Little Ice Age but negatively associated during the warm Medieval Climate Anomaly. With temperatures in the Northeast projected to increase by 2-5 degrees C by 2100 AD, our study suggests the region may become more arid rather than wetter, opposite of what models currently suggest.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences
Year: 2013
File Attachments: regalado.serwatka.docx
Authors: Sean A. Regalado, W. Martin Serwatka

Current State of the Black Ash Stand on Heaven Hill

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 01:06
Abstract: This study was conducted to assess the health and current state of the rare black ash (Fraxinus nigra) tree species on Heaven Hill property located in Lake Placid, New York. Little is known about black ash trees ecologically, it is mainly known solely for its cultural significance in basket making by the indigenous. Therefore, to learn more about the intricacies of black ash twenty fixed area plots were used to characterize the overstory in the 4 acre black ash stand. Diameter at Breast Height (DBH), crown class, crown condition, bark depth, and basket quality were measured. One black ash tree and one tree of another species were cored in each plot to analyze annual growth rings. Age of black ash trees was derived from the rings along with average ring growth per decade. Using the computer program, NED-2, basal area per acre (sq. ft) and stems per acre were calculated for the black stand. There was found to be a drop in stems per acre and basal area per acre after the seven inch diameter is met. Poor crown condition was found to be very low in black ash trees and even lower with an increase in DBH; 0% of the black ash trees between 11.5” and 17.5” DBH had Poor crown condition. Basket quality was assessed for each black ash tree and was based solely on physical features observed in the field. Basket quality for the stand was nine percent which represents the range in DBH classes from 5” to 15”. Only sixteen black ash trees were found to be potential basket quality trees.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Black_Ash.docx
Authors: Alexis Bancroft

Draft Horse Sustainability Presentations: The effectiveness of presentations on draft animal power at the Adirondack Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 12:53
Abstract: Paul Smith’s College has been putting on draft horse presentations for the public for many years but until now it was unknown how effective these were in education of the audience in topics of the interest. During the 2013 Adirondack Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival, a series of demonstrations and presentations were conducted for the public. Surveys of those in attendance have now given us information on how far people are traveling, what their prior experience is, what they want to learn, and how they want to learn it. From this information we wish to gauge attendees’ response to draft animals and their uses.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2013
Authors: Alexandria Barner, Jacob Shultz

TripAdvisor reviews as an indicator of Relais and Chateaux experience fulfillment

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 17:08
Abstract: Social media can influence positive and negative customer expectations. The purpose of this inductive, qualitative, relational study is to determine how and if top-rated TripAdvisor reviewers should be given merit for their input, and why others care, compared to industry standards of a Relais and Chateaux rated experience in northeast destinations. A content analysis of TripAdvisor and the hotel sites will be studied to see if the responses represent Relais & Chateaux standard experiences or an un-realistic response. Customer responses, company history, its location, amenity information, mission statement, price of lodging will be indirectly observed and compared to Relais and Chateaux standards. This study can be of use to determine the effectiveness of ordinary guests, not industry experts, ability to judge an experience based on what a hotel stands for in a positive or negative manor to its ability to deliver a type of experience and their meet customers’ expectations.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Social Madness
Authors: Brandon May

Multigenerational Vacations and Family Resorts

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:23
Abstract: Currently there is a large number of Baby Boomers that are taking their children and grandchildren on vacations and they are the ones paying for it all. What is not known is how and to what extent this new type of travel will impact family resorts. The purpose of this study is to identify the impact of Baby Boomers taking more multigenerational vacations on family resorts. This is a descriptive, exploratory research method. The central question is how this new type of travel will impact family resorts. A survey will be used to collect information from different family resorts. The family resorts will be located all over the country. The information gathered from this survey will be compiled based on what this segment of travel wants and requires. This study will help family resorts plan for the future to ensure that this new segment of travel is happy and continues to stay there.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Rielly Kavanaugh

Music Festival Management

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 21:59
Abstract: Abstract The purpose of this exploratory study is to determine the management skill set required for individuals seeking executive level management positions within the music festival industry. This study is being performed because of a lack of information specific to the music festival industry regarding important skill sets required to reach the executive level. A survey will be conducted with top level management in the music festival industry in order to determine which skills were most supportive in obtaining their top level positions. The specific management skills needed for the top level positions will be a combination of the opinion and personal experience of top level executives in the music festival industry. This study is applicable for individuals seeking to develop and refine the skills required in order to achieve an executive level position within the music festival industry.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Music Festival Management
Authors: Kristen Morse

Ritz-Carlton and the Campus Visit Experience

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 22:48
Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore to what extent the transfer of service from Ritz Carlton practices and the Hospitality Guest Cycle can be intergraded into higher education enrollment procedures, specifically the campus visit using Paul Smith’s College as a model. Research from this study can contribute support to transfer of service methods for similar higher education enrollment institutions by way of increasing student engagement throughout the experience. Methodology will include creating a rubric designed to break down the campus tour process into the four groups of the Guest Cycle that will compare with Ritz Carlton guidelines to observe performance levels followed by an analysis and further recommendations to Paul Smith’s College. A goal is to be able to clearly identify gaps in the campus visit procedures to allow for growth and new procedures to be put in place that positively reflect Ritz Carlton service standards and the Hospitality Guest Cycle. Information gathered in a rubric encompassing the Ritz Carlton Standards and the Hospitality Guest Cycle could be used by other small rural private colleges as a design for improvement.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management
Year: 2013
Authors: Siobhan Shea