Senior Capstone

Capstone seminars are problem based, project-oriented courses for senior Environmental Studies students. They require self-initiated, collaborative, interdisciplinary and integrative student work. The capstone entails students working for a client (actual or hypothetical), and using an applied approach to learning. Students work collaboratively on a current environmental problem, including characterizing the problem, analyzing possible solutions, implementing some solutions, and publicly presenting the results.

The aim is to improve students’ ability to synthesize and integrate material from a range of disciplines while deploying diverse methodologies and vocabularies in a problem-solving context. The capstone relates theoretical knowledge and skills to practical problems, while students work collaboratively in real world situations to research and communicate results to a variety of audiences.

Each capstone works as a single, problem-solving team under the leadership of an instructor. Capstones meet weekly, and much of the work may be done outside of class in interviewing stakeholders, analyzing data, visiting sites, and so on. Experts may be brought in to brief the seminar on particular aspects of the problem under discussion. At the end of the term, the research projects are presented to the client, students, ES faculty and interested members of the community.

You can view most of the past capstone presentations on our YouTube channel.

Current/Future capstones


Spring 2018 [Tentative and subject to change]

Title

Instructor

Intended client

Protecting Nature Through Responsible Finance - New Strategies for Revitalizing Salmon Fisheries in the Pacific Northwest

Jim Tolisano

Innovations in Conservation (ICONS), Rainforest Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Society, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business

Clean Energy and Innovation

Derek Sylvan

United States Department of Energy

The Historical Ecology of Jerusalem

Eric Sanderson

Wildlife Conservation Society


Fall 2017

Title

Instructor

Intended client

Sustainability Planning: Developing a waste management strategy for a suburban nature preserve 

Kizzy Charles-Guzman

TBD

Developing Solar Projects Abross the U.S.

Brendan Noakes

Solar Seek will provide a number of different co-developers

Urban Ocean Conservation: A NYC Case Study

Ayana Johnson

TBD


Spring 2017

Title

Instructor

Intended client

Clean Energy and Innovation: Batteries, Technology, and Public Policy

Derek Sylvan

United States Department of Energy

Leveraging Eco-tourism for Ocean Conservation

Ayana Johnson

United Nations, Tourism Institutions, Philanthropic Foundations

Protecting Nature Through Responsible Finance

Jim Tolisano

Innovations in Conservation (ICONS), Rainforest Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Society, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business

Past capstones


Fall 2016

Title

Instructor

Intended client

Developing Commercial Solar Projects across the U.S.

Brendan Noakes

Solar Landscape, General Electric

Trash and the City: Solid Waste Management in NYC

Kizzy Charles-Guzman

BagItNYC

Visionmaker.nyc

Eric Sanderson

Wildlife Conservation Society


Spring 2016

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Developing a Conservation Finance Strategy for the Western Indian Ocean Coastal Challenge (WIOCC)

Jim Tolisano

Innovations in Conservation (ICONS), Rainforest Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Society, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business

Clean Power Plan for New York State

William Rom

EPA

Social Resiliency in Coastal Cities

Maryam Hariri

Habitat III


Fall 2015

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Developing Solar Projects Across the U.S.

Brendan Noakes

Sybac Solar

BagItNYC Fall 2015 Observational Survey

Kizzy Charles-Guzman

BagItNYC

The Future of Welikia: Making visions of the ecological city

Eric Sanderson

Wildlife Conservation Society


Spring 2015

 

Title

 

 

Instructor

 

 

Intended Client

 

Developing Solar Projects Across the U.S.

Brendan Noakes

Safari Energy

Building New Conservation Markets Through Sustainable Financing and Investments- A Case Study From Vietnam

Jim Tolisano

Wildlife Conservation Society

Social Resiliency in Coastal Cities

Maryam Hariri

TBD


Fall 2014

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Expanding Green Roofs on University Campuses: A Guide

Gwen Schantz
& Ben Flanner

The Brooklyn Grange

PlaNYC 2015

Kizzy Charles-Guzman

The Nature Conservancy

Welikia: the Historical and Contemporary Ecology of New York City

Eric Sanderson

Wildlife Conservation Society


Spring 2014

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Creating Incentives for Conservation Practice on Private Lands - The Adirondack Lands Connectivity & Ecosystem Services Project (ALCES)

Jim Tolisano

Wildlife Conservation Society

Social Resiliency in Coastal Cities

Maryam Hariri

TBD

Welikia: the Historical and Contemporary Ecology of New York City

Eric Sanderson

Wildlife Conservation Society


Fall 2013

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Election 2013: Developing an Environmental Agenda for the City of New York

Kizzy Charles-Guzman

NYC Administration

The 2050 City: Self- Sustaining Infrastructure and the Urban Future

Gregory Kiss

The 2050 City Project

Developing Effective Citizen Science Efforts to Monitor Water-Air Quality Connections

M. Elias Dueker

NYC Environmental NGO


Spring 2013

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Can Natural Defenses Be Used to Protect People Against Extreme Events?

Jane Carter Ingram

Wildlife Conservation Society

Greening NYCHA Public Housing in
Bedford-Stuyvesant

Melissa Lee

Coalition for Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant

Building New Markets for Private Landowners in New York

James Tolisano

Kinship Conservation Fellows


Fall 2012

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Welikia: The Historical and Contemporary Ecology of Greater New York

Eric Sanderson

The Welikia Project

Appraising Green Infrastructure Opportunities

Gwen Schantz
& Ben Flanner

The Brooklyn Grange

Sustainability Performance Reporting by NYC NGOs--Assessing the Challenge

Kizzy Charles-Guzman

NYC Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability


Spring 2012

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Beyond Waste: Supporting Community Efforts to Reduce Waste

Sara Pesek

Lower East Side Ecology Center

Animal Agriculture & Climate Change: Global Policies, Finance & Civil Society

Mia MacDonald

Humane Society International and Brighter Green (watch on YouTube

Welikia: The Historical and Contemporary Ecologyof Greater New York

Eric Sanderson

The Welikia Project


Fall 2011

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Building New Markets for Private Landowners in New York

Jim Tolisano

Kinship Conservation Fellows

Greener & Greater: Building New York's Clean Tech Cluster

Micah Kotch

NYC ACRE

Environmental Policy & Sustainability in NYC

Kizzy Charles-Guzman

NYC Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability


Spring 2011

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Greening of NYC Transportation

Noah Budnick

Transportation Alternatives

Welikia: Beyond Mannahatta - The Historical Ecology of NYC

Eric Sanderson

The Mannahatta Project

Animal Product Based Diets &
Climate Change

Mia MacDonald

NYC Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability


Fall 2010

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Communicating Science: Green Infrastructure Use in Addressing Stormwater Challenges

Sara Pesek

Environmental Protection Agency

Environmental Policy and Sustainability in NYC

Kizzy Charles-Guzman

NYC Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability

Navigating the Murky Waters of the Gowanus Canal

Margaret Mittelbach

The Gowanus Canal Conservancy


Spring 2010

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Greening of NYC Transportation

Colin Beavan

Transportation Alternatives

Greening of NYU

Jeremy Friedman

NYU Sustainability Task Force


Fall 2009

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

PlaNYC 3.0

Kizzy Charles-Guzman

NYC Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability

Navigating the Murky Waters of the Gowanus Canal

Margaret Mittelbach

The Gowanus Canal Conservancy


Spring 2009

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

Greening of Higher Education

Chris Schlottmann

NYU Sustainability Task Force


Fall 2008

Title

Instructor

Intended Client

PlaNYC 3.0

Kizzy Charles-Guzman

NYC Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability


Innovations in Conservation (ICONS), Rainforest Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Society, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business


Innovations in Conservation (ICONS), Rainforest Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Society, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business


Innovations in Conservation (ICONS), Rainforest Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Society, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business