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Capstone Projects

Creating a Reliable Surveying Network: Does Adding New Survey Control Points to Paul Smith’s College Campus Enhance its Current Network?

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 18:48
Abstract: The goal of the project was to improve the current geometry of the Paul Smith’s College surveying network. Four new survey control points were added to the current network allowing for new connectivity to old control points. Previously, there was a Westside network and an Eastside network that were not connected and by connecting these two networks, it has expanded the current network further into the campus. Two different methods were used to help identify the new network. A traditional survey method, a closed traverse, was used to connect the old control points to the new control points by utilizing a Nikon DTM-352 series total station. A X90 OPUS GPS unit was used to connect the new control points into a geodetic network. After the data was collected a least squares adjustment was done to the closed traverse to correct for error within the traverse. The GPS data was processed by Topcon Tools utilizing a Continuously Operating Reference System (CORS) to obtain a better level of accuracy for the network it produced. The two different techniques used produced different results in the overall survey networks and supplied different coordinates than what has been previously used by students at the college. These results gained from the project are not of a consistent level of precision and are not recommended for use without conducting more closed traverses to increase precision within the network.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy, Surveying Technology
Year: 2017
Authors: Frederick C. Petzoldt, Michael S. Thompson

Wildfire Probability of Paul Smith’s College Lands

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 13:07
Abstract: For centuries, wildfires have been seen as devastating natural disasters burning homes, property and forests. For many years, man has tried to fight these fires to mitigate the damage that they do. In recent years, climate change has increased both the number of fires and the intensity at which they burn. We have developed a GIS model that incorporates factors such as slope, aspect, and land cover to determine what areas of Paul Smith’s College lands are prone to wildfires. Our goal was to find areas within the Paul Smiths College land that have a high probability for an intense wildland fire. We gathered our GIS data from online resources such as Cugir, NYS Clearing House and Earth Explorer. We then reclassified each of the data layers based on criteria determined from other scholarly papers to then use that criteria to develop our model. After running the model, we found twenty-two areas of interest also known as hot spots. We then proceeded to check five of the twenty-two hot spot areas to double-check that the characteristics that our model depicted were true hazardous areas.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2017
File Attachments: CapstonePaper.pdf
Authors: Michael Sweet , Joey Morris

A MULTI-SCALE EVALUATION OF THE EFFECTS OF FOREST HARVESTING FOR WOODY BIOFUELS ON MAMMALIAN COMMUNITIES IN A NORTHERN HARDWOOD FOREST

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 16:19
Abstract: Forest harvesting and subsequent effects on forest structure have been shown to influence mammalian community assemblages and the abundance of individual species, however less attention has been paid to the implications of how harvested timber is used. This is particularly relevant in the Northern Forest, where a considerable portion of the forest harvesting is used to produce biofuels. Biofuels harvesting typically involves the process of whole-tree chipping which may lead to a dramatic reduction in the amount of woody material in the form of slash and coarse woody debris (CWD) left in harvested stands. The goal of our study was to assess the effects of biofuels harvesting on forest structure and subsequent effects on mammalian community structure and abundance. To address this goal, we focused on a ~35 Ha area of partially-harvested northern hardwood forest in the northern Adirondacks, New York. To sample mammals we used a combination of Sherman traps and track plates established at two scales across stands within this area. Our results showed that the response of small mammals to changes in forest structure is both species and scale specific. At the individual trap scale, CWD, slash, and understory cover were important drivers of the occurrence of individual species of small mammals. At the larger “grid” scale, small mammal relative abundance was driven by canopy cover and the density of woody stems. Our results indicate that the current harvesting practices used for biofuel production in the Adirondacks are unlikely to result in declines in abundance of common small mammal species. However, the retention of some slash post-harvest may be beneficial to some species, thus foresters may want to include slash retention when developing silvicultural prescriptions.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2012
Authors: Cody Laxton, Alisha Benack, Danielle Ball, Scott Collins, Sam Forlenza, Richard Franke, Stephanie Korzec, Alec Judge, Connor Langevin, Jonathan Vimislik, Elena Zito

Neo-homesteading in the Adirondack-North Country

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 16:15
Abstract: This study was an exploration of the values and behaviors of Adirondack-North Country neo-homesteaders and how such unique traits shape and influence community integrity and resilience. The use of the prefix neo is indicative of the new or emerging homesteading trend within recent decades as differentiated from similar cultural movements of the past. The purpose of the study was to synthesize the motivation behind the current cultural migration of populations toward a rural lifestyle; the cohesiveness of neo-homesteading communities in the Adirondack-North Country; the importance of ecological and regional socio-economic relationships; and how the flux of thoughts and behaviors promote the crafting of an alternative future. Analysis of the stated-values and observed behaviors of current homesteading populations in the Adirondack-North Country compared with those cited in primary literature sources provided insight into the back-to-the-land progression and regression from the mid-1800s to the 2000s. This research also compared and contrasted the diverse individual values that Adirondack neo-homesteaders display in regards to the current constructs of American society. Using grounded theory as a paradigmatic lens and ethnographic methodologies, the research process yielded organically developed emergent themes as influenced by economics, bioregionalism, place-based connections, religion, history, and the environment, which provided a multi-dimensional insight into homesteader choices and decision-making processes. Data was collected and interpreted using survey data as a means to provide a theoretical framework for more in-depth, subjective participant observation ethnographies. The data revealed that geographical place, community cohesion, and security with regard to family, food, and finances were the dominant drivers of the neo-homesteading movement in the Adirondack-North Country
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2012
Authors: William R. Martin, Michael J. Cerasaro

A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Allowing All-Terrain Vehicles on Vermont State Land

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 12:35
Abstract: Our capstone project is a cost-benefit analysis of allowing ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles) on Vermont State land. This issue is controversial among Vermont outdoor enthusiasts. We wanted to know if the allowance of ATVs on Vermont state land is economically feasible. This study explored the current economic impacts and damages of ATV-related activities in Vermont, willingness to pay to use state land, and the possible economic benefits of allowing ATVs on state land compared to the trail construction and maintenance cost. We surveyed members of Vermont’s ATV community and conducted interviews of private and public landowners and private and public companies. Our results showed that on average most ATV users were willing to pay to use state land, the Vermont ATV community contributes to Vermont’s economy, and trail construction and maintenance is a legitimate factor when considering the construction of building sustainable trails on public land. Our study concluded that on a small scale, ATV trails on Vermont state land appears to be economically sustainable.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2012
Authors: Cory Campbell, Kyle Wagner

Risk on the Rocks: A study of risk as related to self efficacy in rock climbing

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 15:50
Abstract: Self efficacy is being confident in ones skills or ability to perform a task and may be directly linked to risk in relation to rock climbing. Risk is exposing oneself to danger that can cause you threat loss or harm. The purpose of this project is to see if there is a direct correlation between the risks that rock climbers take and their experience level. A goal sample of 100 rock climbers will partake in a survey asking questions that will help to estimate confidence, age, gender and risk taking behaviors in climbers. This study hopes to show that climbers are more willing to take risks when they are more confident in their experiences. The significance of this study will be useful to the climbing community as a whole because very little research has been conducted on this specific area of climbing.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Risk on the Rocks Capstone
Authors: Matthew Baer

An Investigation into the Pennsylvania Sunday Hunting Debate

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 14:17
Abstract: A current debate in Pennsylvania is taking place on the floor of the state congress and throughout small towns. Pennsylvania is one of eleven states that restrict Sunday hunting in some way. Recent bills have attempted to remove the blue law that currently restricts Sunday hunting in the state. Presently this attempt faces stiff opposition from famers, clergy, and other people who recreate outside. Most surprisingly though, is the large amount of varying opinion from hunters themselves on the Sunday hunting issue. This project will take an unbiased look into the Sunday hunting debate, and attempt to gain an understanding of why hunters have formed the opinions that they currently have. The project will then allow citizens of Pennsylvania to make a more informed decision on the issue of Sunday hunting.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2012
Authors: Robert J Edkin

Paul Smith's College Bouldering Guidebook

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 12:41
Abstract: The climbing community of Paul Smith’s College is rapidly expanding. Consequently, there are needs for an established set of climbing ethics (the informal guidelines that govern the development of new routes or climbing areas) and nearby places to practice climbing outdoors. To meet this need, a bouldering guidebook for the local area surrounding Paul Smith’s College that emphasizes ethical climbing practices will be produced. We will explore the woods that are within no more than a 10-minute drive from campus for glacial erratics that are suitable for bouldering. We will compile a set of at least 30 boulders that will be included in a guidebook and spend the spring, summer, and early fall of 2012 cleaning, developing, and documenting them. This guidebook will serve as a valuable resource for many future generations of climbers at Paul Smith’s College.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2012
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Dylan Shows, William Pregnall

A Paul Smith's College Student Recreational Needs Assessment, A Look Into the Recreation and Leisure Needs and Wants of the Students at Paul Smith's College

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 10:44
Abstract: Paul Smith’s College offers its students what seems like an endless amount of recreation and leisure opportunities. In the field of recreation, a needs assessment is the standard used to gauge the level at which the needs and wants of the users, in this case the students of Paul Smith’s College, are being met by the recreation and leisure programming and facilities available to them. An electronically distributed survey was emailed to all currently enrolled students asking them for their responses regarding the current and potential recreation and leisure opportunities available to them. The results were analyzed to concentrate the emerging themes. Suggestions were than produced that will help align available opportunities with the wants and needs of the students. Most of the suggestions deal with changes to programming, such as expanded offerings and extending the hours that programming such as the climbing wall and swimming pool are open. Yet, there were also recommendations made regarding the facilities, such as adding equipment to the climbing wall to enhance safety. The recommendations, which were directly arrived at using the student's responses, aim at bettering the available recreation and leisure opportunities. That in turn would better serve the students, while clarifying needs and wants to the staff associated with campus recreation at Paul Smith's College.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2012
Authors: Daniel Dwyer

Monitoring the Zebra Mussel Invasion Front: Use of New Technology

Thu, 02/09/2012 - 15:39
Abstract: Zebra mussels are invasive mollusks that are affecting the well-being of the water bodies in the United States. This study uses environmental DNA (eDNA) is a sensitive early detection system that may be useful in monitoring their spread. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of eDNA technology in identifying infested water bodies, to determine if zebra mussel DNA is in the Adirondack water bodies not known to be infested, if the water chemistry of these water bodies is favorable for zebra mussel establishment, and if the eDNA technology is transferable to an institution like Paul Smith’s College. Eighteen lakes, all in New York State were sampled, fifteen of which are located in the Adirondack Park. DNA was extracted from water and plankton samples and species specific primers were used for PCR amplification to determine if zebra mussel DNA was present. Of seven samples taken from sites known to be infested, five of these tested positive for zebra mussel eDNA. Four lakes not known to be infested within the Park also tested positive for zebra mussel eDNA. Based on zebra mussel risk parameters (water chemistry) applied to 1,469 Adirondack water bodies, less than 3% are at risk of zebra mussel establishment. However it is possible that established populations could occur at microsites that may have locally high levels of calcium and higher pH.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Policy
Year: 2011
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Alexandria Bevilacqua, John Bishop, Charles Cain, Tyler Clark, Seth Crevison, Robert Culyer, Ryan Deibler, Brian DeMeo, Jonathan Eckert, Kirsten Goranowski, Joelle Guisti, Alan Jancef, Korinna Marino, Michelle Melagrano, KaitlynNedo, Joseph Nelson, Aaron Palmieri, Cole Reagan, John Scahill, JohnathanStrassheim, Scott Travis, Sarah Van Nostrand and Sarah Vella