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Capstone Projects

Rooted Education: learning from aquaponics

Sat, 04/30/2016 - 15:02
Abstract: Aquaponics is the integration of soil-less agriculture (hydroponics) within closed-loop aquaculture systems to reduce the toxic accumulation of nutrient waste from aquatic animals. Bacteria naturally establish to purify water by oxidizing the ammonia secreted by fish, which reduces the toxicity of effluent while creating a usable nitrogen source for plants. The conversion of ammonia and nitrite into nitrate by living bacteria communities is called a biological filter, or biofiltration (FAO 2014). Aquaponics would not be possible without biofiltration; the slightest amount of ammonia would be fatally toxic to fish, and plants wouldn't receive the nitrates they need to grow. There are unique opportunities offered by an aquaponics system to learn about ecological and human communities. 1.1. Aquaponics enables users to grow fish and agricultural plants with limited space and resource use (water, soil, and time). This enables an aquaponics user to invest less physical energy and time into expanding sustainable food resources for their household use. 1.2. A small aquaponics system could promote cultural values of self-sufficiency, energy consciousness, and connection to food systems. It could inspire individual efforts to produce food for one’s household, to build healthier and more resilient systems, and a greater appreciation for farming. Therefore, this project aims to actualize a mobile and functional aquaponics system for the educational benefit of the Paul Smith's College community. I will provide the background knowledge needed to maintain an aquaponics system, as well as describe the general concept of aquaponics design.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Sustainability Studies
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Brian Jason Kohan

Management of the Invasive American Mink (Neovison vison) Populations in the Southern Region of South America (Cape Horn Biosphere)

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:24
Abstract: American mink (Neovison vison) are an invasive species in South America, Europe and a few other countries. An invasive predator like the American mink can have negative effects on ecosystem function. In the Cape Horn biosphere, mink have no natural predators and have established themselves as top predator in that ecosystem (Crego 2015). Their populations have steadily increased in the Cape Horn Biosphere Region since their release from mink farms in 1930 (Ibarra et al. 2009). The Cape Horn biosphere is affected by the loss of native fauna such as Magellanic woodpeckers (Campephilus magellanicus), Olive Grass Mouse (Abrothrix olivaceus), and different types of ducks (Anseriforms) due to American mink predation. The Cape Horn Biosphere is a research, education, and conservation land that is used by institutes and universities (Ibarra et al. 2009). There are four objectives to help prevent the further spread of the invasive American mink that include: Educating the general public in the Cape Horn Biosphere region on the negative implications of invasive species, increasing the number of minks trapped by 15% in 1 year, setting environmental laws against the release of mink from fur farms within 5 years, creating a tactile agency to enforce those laws within 5 years. When all objectives are complete there will be a decreasing trend in American mink populations in Southern South America.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Eleanor Congden

A Comparison Study of Adirondack Region Clearcutting Implementation to that of Paul Smith’s College VIC FERDA Plots

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 10:44
Abstract: The students of Paul Smith’s College have a unique opportunity to explore the parameters of silviculture and forestry practices. Gaining the base knowledge of silvicultural systems while also, properly implementing timber harvesting methods in order to achieve the specific goals and objectives of these systems is tremendously useful for implementation in future years. This study investigated the silvicultural prescriptions of the Forest Ecosystem Research and Demonstration Area (FERDA) plots on Paul Smith’s College lands, in Paul Smiths, New York. Comparing the inventory of the two clearcut sites upon these lands to that of other harvests within the Adirondack Park can supply further knowledge on what can be expected after a specific silvicultural system. Clearcutting has the greatest effect on forest succession by removing the forest cover and allowing light to reach what was once a shaded forest floor. Comparing experimental five acre clearcuts to that of larger commercial clearcuts in the same region can further our understanding of regeneration composition after such timber harvesting operations occur. The variance between the age of the FERDA plot harvests and the age of the harvests completed on Landvest timberlands resulted in varying data. However, if four to eight more years was given for pseudo FERDA plots to mature, it is believed that these harvests would be similar in composition and structure.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2016
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Ryan Krzys, Louis Ferrone III

Offal's and Less Popular Cuts

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 09:39
Abstract: The research question I develop and base my capstone project was based around the trend and concept of nose to tail dinning. I wanted to find out if using offal’s and second cuts of meat and could these items be suited for a family restaurant. I will also try to see if using offal’s and cross utilizing ingredients throughout the menu to cut down on waste, be cost effective and appeal to the guest. My menu will reflect the proper cuts of meat as well as providing the least waste. My methods will revolve around the practical use of my time given the restraints of my question as well as see if the theme can be practical within industry standards.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Chad Blinebry

The five senses, and the roll of each during dining

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 14:54
Abstract: My vision for my capstone project, is to identify all five senses. Vision, smell, sound, sight, and taste, and highlight each one for a more harmonious dining experience. People often times only focus on the sense of taste and smell while eating. Some focus on vision, with flashy plating styles. But not often enough do people engage all five senses. Not often enough do people think about all the different aspects that tie into gastronomy. Everything from the way food is harvested or foraged to what a certain sound or smell reminds you of is what makes food/cooking one of the last remaining forms of art left in the world. And we need to embrace it. My vision for the first course would be to serve duck bacon, with a candied egg yolk on top of toasted baguette with maple espresso butter. The plate will come out with a hot stone and the bacon would be raw, so when the plate is presented the idea is to sear your own bacon. As a kid I used to love waking up to the sound and smell of sizzling bacon, so my focus for this course would be to bring the panel back to being at home and having mom cook you bacon. For my second course will have a small salad of pea shoots and arugula, dressed with olive oil and orange juice, served with goat cheese, hazelnut praline, orange balsamic vinegar, and herb smoke. The herb smoke is what will make this the “smell” course. With a food smoking gun, ill add lavender, citrus zest and herb stems for a floral scent that will remain on the pallet until the end of the course. My goal is to capture the smoke with clear glass bowls to place over the salad, add the smoke and allow the panel to take off the lid. When removed the smoke will settle up leaving the air smelling like lavender and herbs, enhancing the flavor of every component of the salad. The third course is almost like a pallet cleanser/ awakener (because the second course will be heavy on the mouth and nose.) But it also will enhance the next course. The concept would be the sense of touch/ feel. I remember as a kid going on vacation to Maine with my family and we would go out during low tide and collect oysters on the beach. They feel weird in your hand, and even weirder in your mouth, which makes it perfect for this course. The raw oyster will provide a slimy gelatinous mouth feel complimented by a sweet/spicy/sour kimchi style cabbage which will provide an umami sensation in your mouth and throat. My fourth course will be a butter poached mahi mahi, served with caramelized fennel, snap pea foam, blanched rainbow carrots and truffle oil. The sense I am trying to highlight in this dish is vision. Vision is not typically the first sense used during dining, and from my experiences food always tastes better when it’s thoughtfully plated, colorful, and exciting. So for this one there is no flash or fancy techniques, it’s just a simple & classic dish done right and plated beautifully. And my last course will be a pomegranate Cosmo sphere with fiori salt, and edible flowers. The taste sense, my inspiration for this one was from a dining experience I had at WD-50 in New York City. It was originally an intermezzo and it wasn’t a sphere, it was a sorbet, so I’ve taken this idea and I want to finish the meal with a colorful, sweet & salty pop of pomegranate that will cleanse the pallet and leave the mouth feeling bright and refreshed rather that drowned by fats and sugars (like most desserts.)
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Culinary Arts and Service Management
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Kurt Boyea

Environmental Values Represented in Successful Green Building; LEED vs. Passive House

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 12:02
Abstract: In a society struggling to synchronize human development with environmental quality, the construction sector is often the target of sustainability initiatives. The purpose of this research is to investigate the environmental values and themes that influenced the design process of two successful green building projects. The two buildings at the focus of the study are new residential construction in the state of Maine; one with LEED Platinum certification and one with Passive House certification. Both buildings were found to exemplify themes of energy performance, practicality, and bioregionalism and included a collaborative design effort. A better understanding of these themes and values that guided these project teams to construct paradigm-shifting structures can help form a model for mainstream applications of a sustainable built environment.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Studies
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Heather Coleates

Optimal Clutch Size of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) in Northern New York

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 12:08
Abstract: American kestrels readily use nest boxes, which makes them perfect candidates for studies on nesting activity and success. Nesting success is important to understand so that managers can effectively assess the productivity of a breeding population of kestrels. The goal of this study was to determine optimum clutch size for American Kestrels in Northern New York. The hypothesis was that optimum clutch size consisted of four eggs per clutch. The objective was to determine what clutch size is most effective at hatching young. The study was conducted during the months of June 2013 through August 2013 on 150 nest boxes that were established in 2002. The contents of each elevated nest box were observed using a video baby monitor attached to an extendible pole to minimize disturbance. Clutch size data and number of chicks hatched was compiled and analyzed using a Kruskal-Wallis test. This test was used because it allowed data to be separated into different clutch sizes, and determined the significance between the number of eggs in each clutch and the number of chicks hatched. Clutch sizes varied from 1-5 eggs, with occurrences of one and four eggs being most common. The majority of nesting attempts with one egg failed, resulting in a low probability of chicks hatching from one egg clutches. A clutch size of four eggs has the highest probability of successfully hatching chicks and the highest mean number of chicks hatched compared to the other clutch sizes.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Jennifer Miller

Managing Fisher (Martes pennanti) in Region 7 of Central New York: Opening a trapping season

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 20:40
Abstract: In the late 1800’s fisher were very abundant throughout New York State, but they were nearly trapped to extinction by the 1930s. Few populations survived until 1949 when the trapping season was closed. Today fisher can be found throughout approximately 26,000 square miles of forested habitat in the state; many of these areas have established management plans. Region 7 has not established a population estimate of fisher in the past because there have been few sightings until recently. In 2013, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and Cornell documented fishers at 54 of 100 survey locations in Region 7. The goal of this management plan is to maintain a fisher population that is large enough to sustain itself and support annual trapping seasons in Region 7. To support the goal of opening a trapping season, fisher habitat will be improved by limiting fragmentation and increasing connectivity. Fisher harvests will be limited by issuing harvest tags, and monitored by pelt seal records. Opening a trapping season will improve recreational opportunities for trappers, while assisting in maintaining a healthy predator prey ratio.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Carter O'Gorman