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Capstone Projects

Forest Structure and Composition in the Smitty Creek Watershed

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 09:56
Abstract: The 2016 Smitty Creek CFI (Continuous Forest Inventory) study addressed the issue of creating a reliable and repeatable inventory design to examine general forestry trends and their relationships with the watershed itself. Identifying these trends and their consequences is important when considering factors linked to climate change, such as carbon storage and allocation. The objective of this project were as follows: establish 10 new CFI plots, monitor and record for signs of disease and insects, tree mortality, and overstory wildlife habitat, accurately estimate forest carbon sequestration, record understory composition in a 1/50th acre area around each plot center, and suggest methods and reasons for application in Paul Smith’s College CFI capstone projects. The study was conducted within the Smitty Creek watershed in Paul Smiths, NY with the plots falling on a transect that runs north and south. At each plot, trees within the radius were assigned numbered aluminum tags, trees were measured at diameter at breast height, and other features, such as snags, were recorded. Upon completing the project, 10 CFI plots had been created and their locations were recorded, several diseases and forest health concerns were identified, as well as, tree mortality and wildlife habitat considerations, carbon sequestration for the watershed was modeled over the next century, and a CFI project was designed for the Paul Smith’s College land compartments. The Smitty Creek watershed CFI project is repeatable and has an accurate baseline of information for future studies, and the Paul Smith’s College land compartments CFI plot design is ready for implementation.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Forestry
Year: 2016
Authors: Gregg Slezak, Leonard Johnson, William O'Reilly, Jake Weber, Charlie Ulrich, Collin Perkins McCraw, Jake Harm, Nick Georgelas

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

An Assessment of Heavy Metal Concentrations in Adirondack Waterfowl

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 22:53
Abstract: We analyzed heavy metal concentrations in waterfowl liver and breast tissue from ducks harvested within the Adirondack Park from October 3 to November 13, 2015. Interspecific, intersex, and feeding behavior variation in heavy metal concentrations were assessed. Waterfowl from two feeding behavior groups (diving and dabbling) were harvested from the watershed within a 50 mile radius of Paul Smith’s, New York. Harvested waterfowl species included mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), American black duck (Anas rubripes), common merganser (Mergus merganser), ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris), bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), and hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus). Legal harvest of these species during regulated New York State duck hunting season allows for permissible use of internal organs for heavy metal determination. Dry weight (mg/kg) of digested liver and breast tissue samples were analyzed using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Due to unknown laboratory error, absolute concentration values were inaccurate, thus, rendering accurate analyses unfeasible. However, relative observable trends were able to be assessed given our data’s high precision. Analyte concentrations were significantly greater in liver tissues and there were significant differences between species. Variation in mercury, lead, bismuth, cadmium, chromium, and zinc concentrations in waterfowl serve as an indicator of the presence, cycling, bioaccumulation, and temporal trends of these metals in northeastern aquatic habitats.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2016
File Attachments: Final2.docx
Authors: Brandon Snavely, Lewis Lolya

Outward Bound semester: Skills to last a life time

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 10:44
Abstract: The focus of this study will examine the level at which an Outward Bound semester fosters personal growth, connection with nature, and hard skills. This particular Outward Bound semester course traveled from the Florida Keys then on to Costa Rica and Panama in Central America. The course focused on the water elements of sailing, surfing, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, and sea kayaking. Methods used include personal journal reflections, peer and instructors oral and written responses. The researcher was an active participant in the immersive experience and kept a journal of the entire experience trying to gather as much information about the course itself and reflecting on the research process throughout. This research indicated that this experience developed personal character and a connection with nature. These skills have an impact deeper than an isolated course with Outward Bound but can be transferred to daily life.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism, Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management, Parks, Recreation and Facilities Management
Year: 2016
Authors: Sam Annable

Opportunities for Collaboration: A study of the participation in student activities and young alumni giving

Thu, 11/29/2012 - 20:23
Abstract: Student activity programs developed in collaboration of student affairs and alumni offices increase young alumni involvement. The successfulness of student activities in cultivating young alumni donors is unknown. The purpose of this study is to determine if the giving behaviors of young alumni can be enhanced by the participation in student activities. Current “involved” students will be queried through focus groups to gather insights as to their intentions of financial giving upon graduation. Recent graduates between the years 2007-2010 will be queried as to their giving behavior towards the college as well as activity engagement during their years at Paul Smith’s college and specifically what that engagement was. Colleges will better understand the benefits of implementing student activity programs.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2012
Authors: Christine Blakeslee

Proposal for a Pet-Friendly Residence Hall

Fri, 04/27/2012 - 15:42
Abstract: A “pet friendly” college campus is one that allows students to house their pets with them; including in dorm rooms and other designated areas. This research is to investigate the appropriateness of having a pet-friendly campus at Paul Smith’s College. This investigation will show the psychological and physiological advantages of having pets as companions in a college setting, as well as determine if the current population (students, faculty and staff) is amenable to this model. The model for this project and a large portion of support herein was conducted by visiting the SUNY Canton campus and their pet-friendly residence hall. The data and observations were collected by interviewing the students who owned pets at the campus and gaining insight as to the emotional and physical support they felt the pets provided to them. Interviews were also conducted at the Office of Residence Life and the physical dorm itself was toured for this presentation. In conclusion, the proposal will show support for and suggest the renovation of a current dorm – likely Clinton or Lambert Hall – and the creation of a fenced in exercise area in which to maintain any foreseeable canine residents. This project will lay the ground work for making the Paul Smith’s College campus a more diverse and appealing environment for students and faculty alike.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2012
Authors: Ashley Keith

The Waterhole's Upstairs Music Lounge Marketing Plan

Fri, 04/27/2012 - 11:31
Abstract: With any music venue attracting more customers through efficient ways of marketing is paramount. The Waterhole’s Upstairs Music Lounge located in Saranac Lake, New York, is the basis of this study to create a marketing plan for the establishment that will increase the volume of business. Information has been collected using surveys delivered to the local community. Further, interviews with The Waterhole’s staff members about the type of advertising they perceive reaches the market most effective were conducted. Using the information this research has developed ways The Waterhole can market itself more efficiently using print, radio, and social media advertising.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2012
Authors: Dustin S. Dwyer

Creation of an Electronic Guide for Supplemental Instruction Leaders in Financial Accounting

Fri, 04/27/2012 - 11:07
Abstract: Created by University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), supplemental instruction (SI) is an academic assistance program centered on peer-led sessions, used at centers of higher education world-wide, including Paul Smith’s College. In recent years, training for SI leaders at Paul Smith’s College has been put on hold while training of peer tutors, or those that work under SI leaders, is on-going. Although SI leaders get training during their tenure as peer tutors, further training is necessary to be an effective leader in a group setting. Investigating UMKC standards, Paul Smith’s students’ opinions, and current Paul Smith’s SI leaders’ opinions, it has been determined that more training for SI leaders at Paul Smith’s College should be offered. To facilitate additional training, a strategy is under consideration that is two-pronged: the use of Moodle (a copyright academic course management tool) and a guide for new SI leaders in the course of Financial Accounting (ACC 101). Together, this strategy will provide general knowledge about SI, techniques for a successful SI session, experiences from past SI leaders in course materials, and other insights that may be helpful to a new SI leader.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2012
Authors: Sara Glabien

Small Restaurant Success in a Rural Community: The study of the gathering place phenomenon and its relation to success

Fri, 08/17/2012 - 07:48
Abstract: In small rural communities some restaurants are successful while others fail. It is unknown to what extent the gathering place phenomenon has an impact on restaurant success. The gathering place is nominally defined as a place where the community frequently goes to take it easy, communicate with friends, neighbors, and whoever else shows up. This qualitative study will explore how small restaurants operate in a given day. The researcher will play the role of a customer doing field research witnessing at the scene of the action if the restaurants fulfill the criteria of the 5 p’s of marketing. Price: What the buyers are willing to pay? Place: Where do the potential customers want to buy the product? Promotion: How will the customers know what one restaurant offers? Product: What features to include, and what to do without? People: How many customers are at the restaurant, and how many of them are a community member? The data will be analyzed if the gathering place effectively meets the 5 p criteria for success.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies
Year: 2012
File Attachments: Template Capstone.docx
Authors: Marie Candee

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