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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

“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

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

Outdoor Classroom

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 23:33
Abstract: The outdoor experience at Paul Smith’s College is essentially what the identity of the college is. Building an outdoor classroom is an opportunity that could potentially benefit the current school and also be influential on other schools that could follow suite. The implementation of an outdoor learning environment in a collegiate setting allows students to be more engaged in their learning experience while presenting a less formal environment for learning. This would be reciprocated for the instructors as well. Teaching in an environment that is very relaxed benefits both the teacher and the students enhancing their learning experience.
Access: No
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Derek William Thompson, Rebecca Durinick, Shannon Mcpheeters, Annie Dehaven

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

Black Ash Seed Management: A Potential Partnership Project

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 09:06
Abstract: The Emerald Ash Borer beetle is currently decimating Black Ash populations, which is making the species increasingly difficult to find. With the Black Ash species becoming increasingly rare, some management plans have been created to protect the remaining populations of this species. The Akwesasne Mohawk Tribe has a management plan in place that is not only trying to protect the remaining Black Ash but is also harvesting their seeds and growing new trees. Partnering with the Akwesasne Mohawk Tribe to grow Black Ash Trees would be a massive step in the fight to keep this species alive. My research will analyze the challenges and possibilities associated with entering into a partnership with the Akwesasne Mohawk Tribe in a joint effort to secure the Black Ash’s future survival.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Studies
Year: 2020
Authors: Joel Caruso

Birding within the Alumni Campground

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 13:48
Abstract: With birdwatchers forming the largest group of tourist, they become potential candidates for improving the well-being of local communities by educating locals about the biodiversity of bird species and creating local and national incentives for successful protection and preservation of natural areas (Asefa, 2015). With this, there is potential for economic growth and visitor diversity to increase within the Alumni Campground in Paul Smith's, NY through bird-watching activities. This project will research the bird species found within the Alumni Campground to give visitors an understanding of the birding opportunities found during their camping experience. My research uses a hands-on approach for determining bird species (field research), rather than using citizen science experiments that rely on outside sources for determining bird species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2020
Authors: Kara Coon