Senior theses

The Senior Thesis Series presents papers prepared for the course Senior Thesis in Natural Resources Management. Only those theses that are of exceptional quality are reprinted in this special publication series. Students are required to submit a project proposal for approval before proceeding to the thesis. The original theses are edited for posting on the SNRE publications web site.


Current issue


Senior Thesis 2011-02:"Micro-hardiness Agriculture Zones in the North Star Borough, Alaska: Past and Future Scenarios

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Author: Ellen W. Hatch

Agriculture in the Arctic is often limited by the low receipt  of heat energy, often measured in growing degree days. With the advent of increasingly powerful climate modeling, projection and downscaling techniques, it is becoming possible to examine future climates in high resolution. Recent availability in Alaska has prompted interest in examining the distribution of current and the potential future of local agriculture. The goal of this study was to utilize Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning (SNAP) projections to examine this in the Fairbanks North Star Borough of Alaska.


Past issues


Senior Thesis 2011-01:"Assessing Food Security in Fairbanks, Alaska"

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Author: Charles David Caster

Since the arrival of non-Native peoples to Alaska, the state has heavily relied on importing most food. Food security concerns have been raised related to supply disruptions, cost, and health. This thesis was designed as a pilot study and intended to provide information on local vegetable and fruit production in the Tanana Valley through a survey of commercial vegetable and fruit producers.

The survey provided insight into characteristics of producers, production, and marketing practices. Increasing crop production in the Tanana Valley is possible, but measuring current production may require a more complex measuring system that is more consistent with producer practices. Alaska faces many challenges if it is to transition from an un-integrated food system to a more comprehensive food system that generates value to local communities.


Senior Thesis ST 2008-01: "Alaska's State-Funded Agricultural Projects and Policy - Have They Been a Success?"

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Author: Darcy Denton Davies

In the 1970s and 1980s the state of Alaska invested millions of dollars to develop a large-scale agricultural industry. The Delta Barley Project and the Point MacKenzie Dairy Project were created to show that large-scale agriculture was possible in Alaska. This study looks at the major events and policy decisions that occurred and determines how the outcome of the demonstration projects was affected. The author conducted an extensive literature review, focusing on state documents; she also interviewed key people involved in these projects. The projects did not accomplish their original goals for a number of economic and political reasons. The positive aspects of development are that Alaska now has more land in private ownership, more infrastructure to support the industry, and a thriving agricultural community at Delta Junction.


Senior Thesis ST-2007-01: "Producing Fresh Herbs for Fairbanks Restaurants"

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Author: Jacquelyn Denise Goss

This thesis examines the market for fresh herbs at Fairbanks restaurants. Jacquelyn Denise Goss interviewed thirteen chefs to determine what herbs they purchase for the restaurant kitchens and what other products they would be willing to buy locally. The student concluded that many chefs are willing to sacrifice time and money to purchase quality fresh herbs.


ST-06-04: "Native Plant Materials for Economic Development in Southeast Alaska"

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Author: Jason Downing

Secondary forest products (wood products other than wood pulp and saw log production) may provide employment and income boosts to Alaska’s economy. This report highlights potential uses, ecological requirements, propagation, and management related to the marketable attributes of forest products.


ST-06-03: "Preliminary Investigation Into the Use of a Dehumidifying Kiln for Drying Wild Herbal Teas in Southeast Alaska"

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Author: Daniel Joseph Slakey

Daniel Slakey investigated the use of a dehumidifying dry kiln for drying wild herbal teas in Southeast Alaska, examining kiln design, moisture content data, and preliminary drying schedules. Wild herbs harvested in Haines and sold as Alaska herbal teas were the major focus of this research.


ST-06-01: "Throw All Experiments to the Winds"

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Author: Rochelle Lee Pigors

Rochelle Lee Pigors compiled a succinct, comprehensive history of the Agricultural Experiment Station in Fairbanks, Alaska, from 1905 to 1915, examining the station’s influence on agriculture in the Tanana Valley. While Congress dismissed agriculture as secondary to mining and fishing, some Alaskans took up the gauntlet and established an agricultural college, renewing people’s hopes for agriculture and saving the Fairbanks station from fading into history.


ST-05-01: "Production and Transportation Considerations in the Export of Peonies from Fairbanks, Alaska"

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Author: Marie Klingman

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