Our small but mighty group of volunteers kicked off the New Year with a seven-day trip to the Mojave Desert. There, they pooled their knowledge to collect observations and research materials, while also exploring the natural beauty of the desert. Get inspired by their insights!—Compiled by Kay Kim, Blueprint Earth Volunteer Coordinator

Elysha Dunn, Geology Major at California State University, Northridge

Intrepid explorer Elysha Dunn.

Intrepid explorer Elysha Dunn.

What inspired you to study the environment? As a geologist, I am fascinated with the way our earth works. To be in an environment and envision the processes that had to take place to form what we see around us is like watching a time-lapse video in your head. I was always collecting rocks, catching lizards, and exploring as a kid. To know that am pursuing a career in which I get to be like a kid and constantly learn and discover is truly fulfilling.

Why did you choose to work with Blueprint Earth? I am lucky to be a part of the awesome geology department at CSU Northridge. Our wonderful staff sends out emails to students about opportunities in the STEM fields. I read about Blueprint Earth and was eager to participate. An organization that has an interest and fascination with our planet and its many environments was something I felt like I needed to be part of.

What is the biggest problem facing the environment today? I think most people just don’t realize how important it is to take care of where we live. We take many resources and luxuries for granted. In California, most people know that we are in a crisis over water and we hopefully try to conserve, but what we do with our garbage and how we take care of our natural wonders are important, too. We need to leave behind something that future generations will get to enjoy and ensure that we as a species don’t destroy the ability of other organisms to exist here as well.

Favorite animal? I am a huge animal lover, so it's a tough call to pick a favorite. It’s a tie between snakes, sharks, and crocs.

What are some words of environmental wisdom you would like to share? Just go out and explore the world. You can’t truly appreciate the beauty of our planet if you don’t go out and see it for yourself. 


Amanda Matthews, B.S., Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, University of California, Los Angeles

Environmental advocate Amanda Matthews.

Environmental advocate Amanda Matthews.

What inspires you to study the environment? The environment is our home and it is important to understand and respect it, which is what allows us to live and thrive. Also, it is beautiful and interesting from the largest scales to the smallest.

Why did you choose to work with Blueprint Earth? I believe in the purpose and people of this organization. 

What is the biggest problem facing the environment today? Problems for the environment rely on how quickly and responsibly our technology develops. Can we figure out how to function comfortably in our environment without destroying it?   

Favorite animal? Ducks.

What are some words of environmental wisdom you would like to share? When we pollute the environment we are also polluting ourselves. 


Justin Pardo, Geology Major at California State University, Northridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Ambitious geologist Justin Pardo.

Ambitious geologist Justin Pardo.

What inspires you to study the environment? All of my previous fieldwork with the disciplines of geography and geology has led me to have a deeper adoration of the environment. The rocks are a storybook of our Earth's history, and it is my life's ambition to learn, understand, and preserve our Earth. It is our home and is incredibly fragile. I want to be able to say I did my part in preserving the Earth for future generations.

Why did you choose to work with Blueprint Earth? Blueprint Earth's mission matches mine. Additionally, I want to broaden my knowledge of other science disciplines to see how they work together.

What is the biggest problem facing the environment today? Anthropogenic sources are the greatest threat to the environment today.

Favorite animal? The domestic house cat.

What are some words of environmental wisdom you would like to share? One small step can lead to great change.


Erica Loza, Geology Major at California State University, Northridge

Nature admirer Erica Loza.

Nature admirer Erica Loza.

What inspires you to study the environment? Hiking and traveling have inspired me to study the environment. After a long run, and in resting on a bench somewhere. I always get curious of how everything works.

Why did you choose to work with Blueprint Earth? I decided to work with Blueprint Earth because I have a great interest in what they stand for and for what they do. 

What is the biggest problem facing the environment today? Today, I believe the methane gas leak in Porter Ranch, California, is the greatest environmental problem.

Favorite animal? The elephant.

What are some words of environmental wisdom you would like to share? Human interactions with nature have consequences. Nature always wins.

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