Here we feature our third of six senior capstone projects. One of the greatest amenities of Keene is the recreational paths that thread through downtown, and wind out toward the surrounding countryside. In the Fall of 2013, five of our senior geography students analyzed the use and conditions of these pathways by bikers and pedestrians. As stated in the abstract, “Data were obtained using bike counters, GPS receivers, visual counting and through surveys administered to the public and Keene State College students.” This project will be presented with five others at Keene State’s Academic Excellence Conference on Saturday, April 5th. The poster presentation will be from 4:15 to 5:15 in the Student Center.
This is the second project we are featuring from our 2014 graduating seniors, in anticipation of the upcoming Academic Excellence Conference on April 5th. Completed in the Fall of 2013, the Ashuelot Greenspace study examined a number of neighborhood and citywide variables to inform the planning process for a proposed greenspace adjacent to the Ashuelot River near downtown Keene. Currently an unused parking lot, this space is situated at a critical junction of bike and walking paths, and is very close to one of the most heavily traveled thoroughfares in the city. There is little doubt that this new park will see significant use from neighbors, employees of nearby businesses, as well as visitors. Four of our geography seniors used door-to-door and online surveys to gather opinions from local community members about their use of existing parks, and their recommendations for the new greenspace. Findings showed that residents would like to see more amenities for young children, as well as more convenient access for paddling the Ashuelot River. View the entire report on the Student Work page.
Each year our geography seniors take part in the required Seminar II course in which they engage in exciting and relevant research. In the fall of 2013, five seniors collaborated with Dr. Nora Travis, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, to contribute to ongoing research on air quality issues in Keene. While Keene is an idyllic setting, the same beautiful glacial valley that provides excellent recreation opportunities can also contribute to air quality issues on cold winter nights. Air inversions can trap particulate matter from woodsmoke, causing respiratory issues for local residents. Dr. Travis works with federal, state and local partners to explore this issue and educate the public. Our seniors spent much of the fall of 2013 documenting and mapping the presence of wood stoves in Keene homes. Knowing the potential sources of wood smoke is important to correlate with other data that illustrate the concentration of particulate matter. Together, this information can lead to mitigation efforts that can ultimately lead to cleaner air. Read more about this project and many others on our Student Work page.