ENR 4900.02 Capstone in Pictures

June 20, 2018

Seniors majoring in Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife and Natural Resources Management in the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) spent a week on the campus of The Ohio State University at Mansfield as part of their capstone experience. Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) 4900.02 is a senior-level capstone course aimed at integrating the ideas, concepts and tools learned throughout a student’s academic coursework, culminating in an immersive experiential learning opportunity aimed to put that knowledge to work.  

The three-week capstone course taught during May partners with The Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus, as the project area for students to perform natural resource inventories and develop management plans. Situated on 640 acres of mature and new growth forest and farmland, dotted with vernal pools and stream heads, the Mansfield campus offers a unique setting for education, research, and community engagement in a natural resource-rich environment. Gabriel Karns, a visiting assistant professor in the SENR and Daniel Yaussy, a lecturer in SENR and retired scientist with the US-Forest Service Northern Research Station, co-teach the course. 

Students in the course work together as part of an interdisciplinary team to identify and analyze natural resource problems that arise in practice and develop a final technical report and presentation that highlights the focus of their team’s project. This year's teams focused on 4 different project themes.  One group examined seven different natural and man-made wetlands and their relative quality connected to past and new disturbances.  Another established long-term monitoring plots in the different forest strata to begin tracking influences of change agents such as invasive plant species and climate change.  A third built on last year's project of developing a sugar bush and established baseline data for a crop tree release designed to increase wildlife value, timber yield, and syrup production in a new growth forest stand.  The final group worked across themes and also built on previous year's reports to emphasize new education and Extension opportunities by leveraging Ohio State Mansfield's on-site natural resource and environmental assets.


A June beetle (Phyllophaga sp.) visits capstone students at the Ohio State Mansfield campus. Students Julia Wolf and Katie Fineran use a Daubenmire Frame to quantify seedlings and saplings.
 An enormous Leopard Slug enjoying a stump on the Ohio State Mansfield campus. After a long day of fieldwork, ENR 4900.02 students try to capture the setting sun.
 A tiny toad dropped by to pose for photos with ENR 4900.02 students. What are those?! Nathan Watson investigates some Wool Sower Galls.
Tatyana Mason hugging trees for science. It’s a keeper! Nathan Watson marking trees for a crop-tree release treatment.
Taken by Jiahe Yu. From left to right, Grant Ravary, Stephen Perrine, Jude Carstensen. Establishing permanent research plot with rebar pinpointed by GPS. Taken by Stephen Perrine. From left to right, Jiahe Yu, Jude Carstensen. Placing flags to mark cardinal directions around center of plot for observations.
Taken by Kyle Dues. From left to right, Jiahe Yu, Stephen Perrine, Grant Ravary, Jude Carstensen. Group photo on a giant downed tree on the way to one of the permanent plots. Taken by Stephen Perrine. Grant Ravary and Jiahe Yu hugging trees, measuring tree diameter in one of the permanent research plots.
Cody Gillfillan flags potential interpretive sign positions on the Legacy Forest Trail for the ENR 4900.02 capstone course. Cody Gillfillan works on mapping the Milliron Wetlands boardwalk and trail for possible sign recommendations.
Taking a break in the forest, Lauren Richards observes frogs in a stream beside the Legacy Forest Trail. Visiting The Ohio State University's Microfarm, Cody Gillfillan observes the crops grown.
Lauren Richards works on mapping out the First Energy Pollinator Plot for interpretive sign locations. Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simpliciollis. Location: wastewater retention pond, behind Heath Science Building.
Harmon Gombash, student. Chest deep at Milliron mitigated wetland, completing amphibian research. Nikita Segalchik, student. Holding salamander eggs at the New Enterance Wetland.
Nikita Segalchik, student. Holding a Common Watersnake, Nerodia sipedon while researching water quality at Wastewater retention pond behind Health Science Building. Nikita Segalchik and Connor Schwepe, students. Collecting macroinvertebrate samples at Ash wetland.
Nikita Segalchik and Connor Schwepe, students. Collecting water quality readings using Yellow Springs Instruments (YSI). At Milliron Mitigated wetland. Log flip found Ravine salamander, Plethodon electromorphus at Ash vernal pool.

Photos provided by students in ENR 4900.02.