After logging in with the login link in the top right, click here to upload your Capstone

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

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

An Analysis of Invertebrate Richness with Designated Pollinator-Plots on Paul Smith's College Campus

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 15:35
Abstract: Anthropogenic grasslands, areas which have been manipulated by humanity to be species homogenous and are composed primarily of turf-grass species, have been a key fixture in the American landscape for over a hundred years, but little is known about the ecological impacts of these lawn-scapes. Paul Smith’s College has established meadow restoration zones, also referred to as “Pollinator Plots”, in areas that were previously anthropogenic grasslands to collect data regarding various components of meadow restoration and to document successional changes within the sites over several years. This study is the first assessment of invertebrate assemblages within these pollinator plots. Invertebrate assemblages were examined in two meadow restoration groups which include dry-slope plots and moist flat plots. Reference meadows, meadows that have been established for several years and have not been anthropogenically disturbed, were used as a baseline to which the other meadow groups were compared to. Specimens were collected using sweep nets and pitfall traps. Invertebrates were counted and identified to the lowest taxonomic level. Invertebrate richness was highest in reference sites, which are well-established meadows, and moist-flat locations whereas dry-slope locations had the least overall invertebrate richness. The restoration plots had lower invertebrate richness and abundance overall, however, the differences were not large enough to be statistically significant. The data obtained from this assessment is a baseline that can be compared to in future studies in these plots throughout time. Keywords Invertebrate - Pollinators - Grasslands - Lawns - Meadow – Restoration
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Ecological Restoration
Year: 2021
Authors: Savannah Hoy

Kate Mountain Farm Inventory Report and Prescription Recommendations

Mon, 07/11/2022 - 15:42
Abstract: This document outlines the results of the 2021 inventory of Kate Mountain Farm in Loon Lake, New York, and provides detailed prescription and recommendation based of the data collected.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Jonathan Seiter, Timothy Sawitsky

Transitioning Forested Land Into Blueberry Fields at Kate Mountain Farm

Mon, 07/11/2022 - 15:47
Abstract: Historically the Adirondacks have had the reputation of being a poor site for most agricultural practices, with few crops taking well to the sandy soils and short growing season. One of the most well know exceptions to this trend are the fields of blueberries that can be found scattered throughout the region. Both naturally occurring and cultivated by man, blueberries are a great crop for landowners looking to grow fruit on otherwise unproductive soils. This report will outline the process to implement and manage blueberry fields at Kate Mountain Farm, as well as discuss important impacts and factors that come with managing a blueberry crop.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Austin Quaile

Maple Sugaring at Kate Mountain Farm

Mon, 07/11/2022 - 16:22
Abstract: Kate Mountain Farm is a large property that capitalized on many non-timber forest products, and small-scale business opportunities. Maple sugaring was a natural addition to the property, growing the multi-use aspect of the farm. The goal at the end of this project is to hand off a small-scale demonstration sugarbush to the landowner. The first season was successful, and the future of the sugarbush is promising.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Katharyn Snyder

Hayner Tree Farm Forest Management Plan

Mon, 07/11/2022 - 15:55
Abstract: There are four main benefits to having a property ATFS certified: tools and resources, public recognition, certification of forest products as sustainable, and a positive future for the forest. This Forestry capstone project developed by Jim Hayner and Jacob Craver consists of a Forest Management Plan written in line with the management plan template of the American Tree Farm System (ATFS).
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: James Hayner, Jacob Craver

A Study of Wood Processes and Yield at Kate Mountain Farm

Mon, 07/11/2022 - 16:02
Abstract: The production of lumber is being traced throughout the process, from standing timber, to logs to boards. This is to trace how much volume and board feet is gained or lost throughout the process. The goal of the woodlot owner is to identify how they can maximize production at the woodlot level. The tracing of numbers throughout this process will serve as a model and example of potential production losses or gains throughout the process.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Matthew Arena