10th Annual Conference

Sustain What? Preparing our Students by Greening our Campuses

November 8 – 9, 2013
Pace University | Pleasantville, New York
Accepted Posters

TITLE: An Analysis of the Real World Output and Present Value of a Solar Photovoltaic System                                   

AUTHOR and PRESENTER:  Robert F. Cassidy, Jr., Ph. D., Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, SUNY Ulster County Community College         

ABSTRACT:  A 2.4 kW solar voltaic system installed on the campus of SUNY Ulster County Community College has produced about 6,000 kWhr of electricity in two years of operation (3,000 kWhr/year).  This output corresponds to 1250 kWhr per year per kW of installed capacity.  At an average New York State electricity cost of $0.20/kWhr, this electrical output would have a present value of $3153 (20 year life, 5% discount rate).  That is, solar electrical systems would be cost effective in our area (the middle Hudson River Valley region of New York State) if their installed price per watt is approximately $3.15 or less.

TITLE:  Long-term Water Quality Assessment of the Normans Kill and Vloman Kill, Albany, New York

AUTHOR:  Nicole A. Finnegan, Mohammed Hussain, Stephanie M. Maes, and Dr. Paul Benzing, The College of Saint Rose

PRESENTER: Nicole A. Finnegan

ABSTRACT:  The Normans Kill and Vloman Kill are two tributaries that contribute to the Middle Hudson Watershed located in Albany County, New York. The two tributaries were monitored weekly from May to October to assess water quality. Along the Normans Kill four sampling sites were selected. Two sites, Tawasentha Park and Knott Road are upstream of a wastewater treatment plant effluent. The two downstream sites are located near the non-operational historic Normanskill Farm. The Vloman Kill sampling site was chosen to correlate with a study of macroinvertebrates to assess the stream’s overall quality.  A YSI meter was used to measure conductivity, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature. The pH of the water, total dissolved solids, turbidity, alkalinity, nitrate and orthophosphate content were also measured.  Preliminary data indicates a downstream change in water chemistry is likely associated with the waste water treatment plant effluent.

Stream gauges were installed at the Hiker’s parking lot on the Normans Kill and at the Five Rivers Educational Center on the Vloman Kill, two highly populated pedestrian locations.  The gauges have allowed for constant monitoring of the stream’s water level by “citizen scientists” as part of educating the community about the local watershed. The citizen scientists assist in data collection by texting the station number and stream height from the gauging staff as directed by a sign located onsite. The information will then be relayed to an informational website (www.crowdhydrology.org). The data will then be available to the public, as well as in the classroom as an online educational tool.     

TITLE: Using the YardMap Network to Encourage Student Understanding of Sustainable Campus Landscape Management

AUTHOR and PRESENTER: Elyse Glover Fuller, Associate Professor, Department of Science, Rockland Community College     

ABSTRACT:   One of Cornell Lab of Ornithology's many citizen science initiatives, the YardMap Network encourages a better understanding of how developed landscape habitat is linked to bird species richness and species abundance as participants assess their yards, local parks, schools, and other accessible areas using the program's online tools.  YardMap can easily be incorporated into a general biology or introductory environmental science course curriculum to assist students in analyzing their campus environment.  Ideally, the students' analyses and suggestions would encourage more sustainable campus landscape management practices. 

TITLE:  Student-Designed and Implemented Green Stormwater Infrastructure Projects on the Siena College Campus

AUTHORS: Jonathan Glueckert, Environmental Science Major, Siena College
Katherine Meierdiercks, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Siena College

PRESENTER:  Jonathan Glueckert

ABSTRACT:  The Kromma Kill stream channel, which begins on the Siena College campus and flows to the Hudson River, is prone to flooding and other water quality issues. Members of the local community have expressed concern that much of the stormwater runoff that causes this flooding originates on the Siena College campus.  As a way to address stormwater issues in their watershed, Siena students have become involved in a number of green infrastructure (GI) design projects including participation in the EPA Campus Rainworks Challenge and the design and construction of a rain garden on campus.  GI is a stormwater management approach in which rainfall is captured where is falls. Student GI projects are designed to reduce the amount of stormwater draining to the Kromma Kill, but also increase awareness of environmental problems, specifically those related to stormwater, that impact the Siena College campus and greater Kromma Kill community. The visibility of the rain garden (and its accompanying interpretive/educational signage) and involvement of Siena students in the design and construction of the rain garden may be an effective way to increase awareness of community stormwater issues.  Outcomes of this project include: (1) the reduction of stormwater leaving campus (measured quantitatively), (2) interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students, and (3) the building of partnerships among students, between students and the College administration, and between the College and their downstream neighbors.         

TITLE:  Urban Hydrology Research in the Kromma Kill Watershed

AUTHORS:  Michele Golden, Environmental Science Major, Siena College
                     Katherine Meierdiercks, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Siena College

Michele Golden

ABSTRACT:   As our population continues to grow, we are seeing an increase in the urbanization of our towns and cities. This urbanization can increase flooding and there is a need to better understand how urbanization impacts hydrologic response. This study looks at several physical characteristics of the Kromma Kill Watershed, a tributary to the Hudson River, to see how each factor affects the volume and timing of runoff.   Observations of rainfall and runoff were made in the Kromma Kill watershed June-October, 2013. Physical watershed attributes such as land use, percent impervious, slope, and drainage density were compared to rainfall and runoff data. Results suggest that the percent imperviousness is not a good predictor of hydrologic response in the Kromma Kill and its subwatersheds.  The outcome of this research could help in a better understanding of urban hydrology and help future communities grow in a way that will keep the hydrology of the area intact.

TITLE:  Macroinvertebrate sampling of Normans Kill and Vloman Kill

AUTHORS:  Mohammad Hussain and Nicole Finnegan, The College of Saint Rose 
                      Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul Benzing, The College of Saint Rose

PRESENTER:  Mohammad Hussain     

ABSTRACT:  The macroinvertebrate populations of a stream are a good indicator of the stream’s overall health along with the type of community structures present.  Two streams of interest for this macroinvertebrate diversity study are the Normans Kill and Vloman Kill, both tributaries to the Middle Hudson Watershed.  The three sites of study in the Normans Kill are located between upstream in Guilderland at Tawasentha Park followed by Knott Road and then continuing downstream to the site of the Normans Kill Farm near the Port of Albany.  The Vloman Kill site of study is located at the Five Rivers Educational Center, located on the outskirts of Albany.  All these sites have been previously studied and were chosen because they are quite accessible, are at geographically distinct locations along the streams, and have adequate riffle habitats for macroinvertebrate sampling. The macroinvertebrates were collected using a Surber Sampler where the location had riffles and fist-sized cobblestones that could support various populations of organisms. The collected samples were placed in an ethanol solution for preservation and these samples were then identified using An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America according to their respective family and genus. The assessment of the macroinvertebrate samples is part of a long term effort to focus on the diversity of the stream’s organisms which can be used to monitor the stream’s conditions over time.

TITLE: Let's make connections on the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail

AUTHOR:  Megan McClellan, Master's Candidate in Environmental Policy 2014

PRESENTER: Megan McClellan

ABSTRACT:   This poster will include background on what rail trails are, as well as their recreational, health, economic, sustainable transportation, and land protection benefits.  It will then give more specifics about the proposed Catskill Mountain Rail Trail (CMRT) which will be located in Ulster County, New York and will extend from the city of Kingston into the Catskill Mountains.  The trail will run along the Ashokan Reservoir and the Esopus Creek.  Rail trails are well known as connectors in a community.  The CMRT will connect children to nature, communities to each other, businesses to their customers, urban communities to rural ones, tourists from New York City to the Catskills through Kingston, among many others.  Finally, it can help all its users reduce their carbon footprint while connecting to the dramatic beauty of the surrounding Catskill Mountains.  This poster will also highlight the successes of other Ulster County rail trails, including how they will connect with the CMRT. 
This poster is a result of my internship with the Woodstock Land Conservancy’s Friends of the CMRT committee this past summer.  This internship was made possible through the McHenry Fellowship I received from the Open Space Institute.  As such, this poster will include specific connections that I have made during my internship to help make the CMRT a reality.  The poster concludes with how other interested individuals can help support the creation of this fantastic community resource.      

TITLE:  The Use of Goats to Control Japanese Knotweed       

AUTHORS: Matthew Proto (’14), Lizzie Grisafi (’15), Dr. Richard Feldman, Marist College   

PRESENTERS: Matthew Proto, Lizzie Grisafi, Dr. Richard Feldman          

ABSTRACT:  The purpose of this study was to observe the effectiveness of goats as a method of controlling Japanese knotweed (hereafter knotweed).  Sometime in the past 15 years, the Marist College nature preserve, Fern Tor, was invaded by knotweed.  Since its introduction to Fern Tor, the knotweed population expanded in coverage and outcompeted the native plants.  The knotweed population targeted by this study was located in an area surrounding a pond and tributary to the Hudson River.  In order to test the effectiveness of goats as a control method for knotweed, 7 goats were introduced to the area for 3 weeks. The goats were confined by solar powered electric fences, which surrounded the knotweed population.  After the 3 week period of goat grazing the knotweed was observably suppressed.  This study provides evidence that that longer term use of goats over repeated growing seasons could effectively control knotweed and then allow for the reestablishment of a native plant community.

TITLE:  Iona College's Mission to Move the World and Keep it Green  

AUTHOR:  Christine Samwaroo, History and Environmental Studies Major, Iona College

PRESENTER: Christine Samwaroo

ABSTRACT:  At Iona College, students are determined to take on the challenge of promoting and increasing sustainability on campus.  A small student-run organization called Iona College Green or simply, IC Green, is committed to not only making students aware of the current environmental crisis, but is also pushing for changes on campus, and more importantly, in the New Rochelle community. IC Green members believe that each person has a critical role to play in order to enter into the Ecozoic Era, a term coined by Thomas Berry.   Efforts in waste management, the introduction of the Environmental Studies major, as well as the Take Back the Tap campaign and IC Green’s Community Clean-Ups are examples of Iona College’s increased commitment to be a more sustainable campus.  
Also, despite the dedication of the IC Green members, there is an acknowledgement that there is a growing disconnect between humans and the natural world. Are people recognizing that their actions are harming other animal and plants lives?  Even though, many people are aware of pollution, why are they not making changes in their lives? What would Thomas Berry have to say about these rapid growing crises? Can humans change their attitudes and enter into an Ecozoic phrase? These questions will be addressed.     

TITLE:  NaturesPace: A Natural History Information Database and Website with Mobile Device Access for the Pace Campus

AUTHOR and PRESENTER: Joshua J. Schwartz, Professor, Biology and Health Sciences, Pace University

ABSTRACT:  We have developed a system allowing individuals on campus to easily gain information about the species of plants, animals and natural areas on the Pace University Pleasantville campus. By scanning a QR code on small sign posts near items of interest using their mobile devices, individuals can access relevant informative pages on our website. A Twitter account enables students and faculty to inform others via “tweets” of noteworthy species sightings (e.g. bird, plant flowerings) on campus. Our website also serves as a venue for works related to nature created by students and faculty.  Collaborations with faculty at other schools and naturalists are underway.

TITLE:  Food Sustainability at Pace University

AUTHORS: Alireza Vaziri, Business Management Major, and Professor Marley Bauce, Pace University

PRESENTER:  Alireza Vaziri

ABSTRACT:  The purpose of this study is to examine the sustainability goals of Pace University as applied to its Dining Services Office. Data emerged has indicated that industrial food production (particularly animal agriculture) is the key driver of climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation/desertification, and water pollution. Many people regard environmentalism as a valuable ethical concern, but this concern often stops when people are asked to analyze their diet and food purchasing habits. This study gathers information from the Pace University community members, examining their diet habits, their commitment to environmental stewardship and their perceived connections between food and ecological change. This research was presented to Pace’s Dining Services as a means for change. Professor Bauce and I were the winning pair for the 2012 – 2013 Undergraduate Research Initiative. 

Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies