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

Capstone Projects

User Impacts to Backcountry Infrastructure at Paul Smith's College

Sun, 05/01/2022 - 13:06
Abstract: Examining how issues of overuse and abuse affect National Parks, the Adirondack Park, and specifically, Baker Mountain, and the management solutions put in place by park officials at these locations, allow for better management of the overuse and abuse issues that affect the backcountry infrastructure here at Paul Smith’s College.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2022
File Attachments: Fischer Capstone Final.docx
Authors: Nathaniel Fischer

The Effects of Overuse in the Adirondack High Peaks and the Mitigation of Similar Impacts Throughout Paul Smith’s Easement Land

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 12:24
Abstract: Over the last 10 years crowding and overuse of the Adirondack High Peaks has been a growing issue according to the NYSDEC, The Adirondack Council, and many other sources. Amidst the Covid outbreak there was a large increase in the number of people looking for things to do outdoors, in nature, and away from others such as hiking, camping, and paddling. Even before Covid-19 hit the United States, the High Peaks had quickly grown in popularity as a place for people to get out of their homes and visit for recreational purposes. Another contributing factor to the High Peaks growth in popularity is the increased tourism advertising and social media presence in the area. Although it was a positive thing for so many people to find a getaway and a feeling of being in wilderness in the High Peaks, there were some rather negative consequences. The high peaks are unable to sustain the current amount of use they have been experiencing leading to negative impacts to the park, its natural resources, trail systems, and local community. Some of these impacts include trail degradation, increased littering, damage to fragile and endangered alpine plants and vegetation, harm to wildlife and their habitats, trail widening, improper disposal of human and pet waste, and more. These High Peak trails that were once only a few feet wide and hiked by only a few hundred people a year have now expanded to more than triple their original width in the last 30 years (Adirondack Council 2019). Some of the same overuse impacts from the High Peaks have been found within Paul Smith's College easement land, and the mitigation strategies to reduce overuse and degradation on the Paul Smith's easement are similar to the possible strategies for overuse in the High Peaks. The REC 440 capstone group also conducted a backcountry infrastructure assessment to help future students and infrastructure stewards with implementing overuse mitigation strategies.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Benjamin Slayton

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

Potential Impacts of Road Salt Applications on Wetland Vegetation in Franklin County, NY

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 09:46
Abstract: With long winters in the Adirondacks, roadside environments are subjected to extended periods of potential pollution from road salt applications. Wetlands support a wide variety of endemic species that are sensitive to chemical alterations in the soil due to extensive road salt applications. This study focuses on the potential impacts that road salt applications have on wetland vegetation within Franklin County in the Adirondack Park of New York. Three sites were located on roads receiving minimal to no road salt applications. The other three sites were located on roads receiving high road salt applications. Each site had three transects evenly spaced, running perpendicular from the road, 100m into the wetland, with plots located at 0m, 50m, and 100m. Measuring percent cover of Obligate (OBL) wetland plant species, Facultative (FACW) wetland plant species, and total wetland plant species between sites, there was no significant difference between the two groups for the percent cover of wetland species. No significant difference was reported for pH values between the two groups. The high road salt sites had significantly higher electrical conductivity values. High road salt sites had a significantly higher plant species richness of OBL plants. No road salt sites had a significantly higher plant species richness of FACW plants. There was no significant difference reported in total wetland plant species richness (both OBL and FACW) between the two different site groups. Relying on only one years’ worth of data, this study serves as a baseline for future projects related to wetland vegetation and road salt applications.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Ecological Restoration
Year: 2021
Authors: Christopher Perrotta

A.P. Smith Rod and Gun Club-Workshop Curriculum

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 14:37
Abstract: A report centered around outdoor education workshops to be hosted by a proposed Fishing and Shooting Club. Pertaining to lesson plans centered around Trap Shooting, Bushcrafting, and Fishing. The use of the Kinesthetic Learning Model is heavily put to use in developing this curriculum.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Ecological Restoration, Forestry, Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism, Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2021
Authors: Eoghan Walsh, Daniel Klein, Drew Gleason, Kassie Kirkum, Erin Byrant

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

A.P. Smith's Rod & Gun Club Trap Field Design

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 13:06
Abstract: Modern trap shooting has retained many of these concepts but now uses an oscillating target-throwing machine that rests in a trap house and uses clay targets instead of costly glass balls. The clay target was invented and patented in 1880 by George Ligowsky of the U.S. The design was a small dome shaped saucer. The machine throws a clay target somewhere within a 22-degree arc. The shooter does not know the angle it will be thrown until it comes out of the machine and into view. The modern game also does not include a fence that the target needs to be shot inside and only allows one shot. Many improvements have come to the clay target as the clay was baked hard and difficult to break with the 1.25 oz shots that was used at the time. In 1888, Corgell and Harrison created targets that were made of lime and pitch which is still seen some today, but a more biodegradable pigeon has been called desired. Some new innovations for these pigeons have included using sugar, birdseed or grain, and water. A trap range make sense for a variety of reasons on the Onchiota property. One there are no ranges in close proximity to the college and the closest being in Long Lake, NY. There is also a high demand in the area. With the trap range at the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club being forced to shut down in the recent years due to lead ammunition contaminants and clay target remnants being projected into the Saranac River, leaves a hole in the surrounding community. Also, one of the main attractions to Rod & Gun clubs are trap ranges.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2021
Authors: Drew Gleason, Kassie Kirkum, Erin Bryant, Eoghan Walsh, Daniel Klein

Trail System Development at the A.P. Smith Rod & Gun Club

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 13:13
Abstract: Much of the 600 acres of the land Paul Smith's College in Onchiota, NY contains trails that expand most of the property. Discussed in this report is the three phase guides to the trails on the North side of the property.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Kassie Kirkum

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