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Capstone Projects

Oyster Insight: Assessing Long-term Sustainability and Feasibility of Artificial Oyster Reef Projects

Fri, 04/29/2022 - 10:45
Abstract: The United States loses >80,000 acres of coastal wetlands annually, along with their ability to retain sediment and treat wastewater. The federal government spends a combined total of $650 million/year to combat coastal wetland loss, along with property damage and loss. Additionally, native oyster reefs have declined ~85% globally across their historical range. Relatively recent efforts are underway by coastal managers to restore oyster reefs to areas with significant coastal wetland loss, due to their natural ability to attenuate wave action, passively and actively filter wastewater, and support biodiversity and habitat for benthic organisms. This research aims to assess the sustainability and feasibility of artificial oyster reef projects to attain long-term management goals utilizing prominent case studies using this method, and understanding public valuation of coastal wetlands and oysters.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Evan George

How Race and Income affect the Housing Market within the Tri-Lakes Area

Thu, 04/28/2022 - 21:18
Abstract: Race and income are crucial factors within a housing market. Within the Adirondacks, these variables play a significant role more than ever. Within the three towns in the heart of the Adirondacks known as the Tri-Lakes area, this research seeks to collect and analyze data around these two demographics. This study collects the data necessary spanning years prior within the Tri-Lake area, then analyzes it by using critical theories around Racial Infrastructure and Rural Decline. Within the study, it is found that there is no concrete relationship between the data and these theories. The results yielded more questions with the recommendation of the continuation of this study to solve the question on how income and race factor into the declining housing markets within the Adirondack Park.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Ethan Billman & Lucas Machowski

How Demographics Can Affect the Housing Market in the Tri-Lake Area

Wed, 04/27/2022 - 18:46
Abstract: The Tri-Lake area is located within the Adirondack Park and consists of Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid. Each of these three towns differ in many ways, from their types of economies, levels of diversity, and housing market. However, one thing that hey all share is that their isn’t enough affordable housing for the people living there. This paper looks into certain demographics and how they impact the housing market within the Tri-Lake area.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Lucas Machowski , Ethan Billman

Bio-accumulative effects of hiking on headwater streams

Sun, 05/01/2022 - 15:08
Abstract: It is known that outdoor recreation such as hiking, horseback riding and the use of ATV’s has a detrimental impact to the landscape (Cooke & Liyiran 2020). Some of the best outdoor recreation occurs in remote and often times in mountainous areas. This brings into play the impacts to a watershed, but more specifically the rivers and streams that flow throughout a watershed. It is also known that various types of outdoor recreation has detrimental impacts on these river systems (Cooke & Liyiran 2020). This brings into focus the main topic of my study which is the impacts that hiking has on headwater streams and the possible effects this can have across the landscape. This is an important field of study as the global fresh water supply is being depleted at an intense rate along with the increasing interest of outdoor recreation. To conduct this study, it will require very little equipment or instruments of any kind. For this type of study, it is only required that you have a computer, access to the internet and a mind that is as fluvial as the streams themselves. This type of research focuses on what is already known about the subject and connecting it to your knowledge, making predictions and assumptions about what will happen in the future and then taking action to make the landscape as natural as possible. Although there is not enough scientific studies done on the specific topic yet, there have been numerous studies done about the impacts of hiking, as well as the potential impacts to headwater streams. With reviewing these studies as well as interviewing two individuals, Bethany Garretson, and Craig Milewski, it is evident that hiking does indeed have negative impacts to headwater streams. Through the recreational activity of hiking, there is vegetation loss and trampling that occurs due to numerous people walking on the trail.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Ryan Godfrey

Using GIS to Plan for a New Outdoor Classroom on Paul Smiths College Campus

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 11:34
Abstract: This paper discusses the GIS work done in planning and designing for a new outdoor classroom at Paul Smiths College, which is located in the Adirondack Park. There is currently one outdoor classroom already built, but demand for another is high. To find a suitable location, a site survey was conducted to find the best sites around campus. A soils layer was modified from the USDA to aid in construction of the outdoor classroom and trails. A least cost path analysis was created to show what paths people would take to get to the new outdoor classroom. The results are recommendations to the college as to where a new outdoor classroom should be placed.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Nathaniel J Brangan, Rebecca Durinick, Shannon McPheeters, Annie Dehaven, Derek Thompson

“Affordable Housing and Sustainable Living”

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 12:15
Abstract: Sustainable and Affordable Housing and the Adirondacks Sustainable living has long been looked at as a costly goal for most Americans. Living in the Adirondack Park it is often believed to already be a more expensive lifestyle, this paired with the average household income being nearly $20,000 less than that of the average income of New York and US households, it is easy to believe that sustainable living is not feasible in the Adirondacks as affordable housing (Jones 2019) (Shrider 2021). The thought process of sustainable housing being unobtainable at affordable prices is implemented inside of the publics brain. This notion leads people to not seek out or even explore the possibility of sustainable housing in more places than just the Adirondacks. This brings up the question is it possible to live sustainably in the Adirondacks while maintaining the label of affordable housing. This question could end the myth and help express the focus of our study. The focus of our study is to shed light on the expenses of a sustainable household in the Adirondack Park and the problems with the current affordable housing crisis. Housing itself additionally has a harmful impact on the environment through heating, electricity, appliance use and so on. The literature used within this study is gathered from online and physical publicly accessible services. The focused upon topics consist of comparisons between energy sources, traditional and energy efficient appliances, building costs, and some smaller costs of living. An additional case study was looked into and thoroughly explored to understand the steps taken and motivation behind building a semi-autonomous, net zero home in the Adirondack Park.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Tony R. Karbowski, Natural Resource and Conservation Management Major, Benjamin E. Poitras, Natural Resource and Conservation Management Major

Wildlife and Environmentally Friendly Tiny Home Village Communities

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 15:49
Abstract: Tiny home villages are on the rise across the country and the world. This is because of their affordability, designs, ability to move easily, and the positive environmental aspects that they have. There are several studies that show how this type of living is more beneficial for people in a lower income bracket, those suffering from homeless, and for mental health. However, this study looks at ways for tiny home villages to be more efficiently laid out in order to minimize the environmental and wildlife impacts that could occur from the addition of homes to an area. Any area that has any human interaction and introduction of outside material will have an impact on the wildlife pathways and grazing patterns, however, some styles of villages can have a significantly better outcome on wildlife in the surrounding area. By adjusting the ways the villages for tiny homes are set up, it can reduce the impact that it has on the wildlife areas where they are put.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Awinita T. Stasilli

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

Can Sustainable Living Be Affordable

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 13:50
Abstract: This capstone encapsulates the topic of affordable sustainable living. We debunk different myths that surround sustainably living whether it is too expensive for middle-class families to achieve. We took a look at the social demographics of multiple cities and towns throughout the Adirondacks and we also compared the average annual income of these places to determine if it was the lack of income that was retraining people from perusing a sustainable lifestyle or if it was another factor. We then took a look at a specific case study that was an example of the pinnacle of what a sustainable lifestyle could look like and we wanted to see how middle class families could achieve this level of affordable sustainable living.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Benjamin E. Poitras, Tony Karbowski

Black Ash

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 10:19
Abstract: The summary of my project was to find other risks other than the emerald ash borer that are affecting the Black Ash tree species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2021
Authors: Richard Holton