Martin Reyes received his bachelor's in civil engineering at California State University, Northridge, and a master's in environmental engineering at California State University, Fullerton. He works as a civil engineer in training for the County of Los Angeles, where he is involved in transportation planning to help implement roadway improvement and complete street and active transportation projects across the county. Martin also recently began preliminary designs for a four-home LEED Platinum residential development in Studio City, Los Angeles. And he still makes time to volunteer for Blueprint Earth!
Here, Martin Reyes shares some thoughts about his time out in the Mojave Desert by giving us this fun fill-in-the-blanks edition of "Field Notes."
I learned about Blueprint and thought "You're cataloging the environment to do what?! Re-build it?! That's awesome!"
When we went into the desert, at first I was amazed by the beauty of the desert. I had never been in such a remote area until my trip with Blueprint Earth, and once the trip was over I found myself wanting to wake up and go back out to hike the Mojave. The site is beautifully immersive and it makes you forget about the world you leave behind.
I had packed gloves to strengthen my grip on the rocky environment, but something I could have really used was bug spray, because by day No.3 I had bees literally following me around the entire day!
We had to carry quadrats everywhere we went, which were basically 3-foot x 3-foot plastic assemblies invented for the explicit purpose of making your life difficult during hikes.
One of the things I did first was learn how to properly record data during the surveying.
Something I had never done before was catch canyon mice, and I was excited that we were able to actually catch (and release) a bunch.
One of my favorite things about the volunteers I worked with was the knowledge that everyone brought from their respective backgrounds. Their interests and educations provided me with a lot of insight for the research we were doing out there.
I learned about tons of plants native to the Mojave and even got to learn about the geologic features unique to the area.
I was surprised when I saw the variety of land features the Mojave had to offer. Definitely nothing like the barren landscapes I had been expecting.
At the end of each day, we would cook dinner and discuss that day's adventures.
At night, I was exhausted but I always looked forward to being back at the Desert Studies Center, walking out onto the salt flats just to see the stars.
It was inspiring to spend the trip with people so passionate about their work.
Overall, each day in the desert brought new plants, new animals, and new knowledge.
This broadened my experience by exposing me to the work done by professionals that help to implement public works projects.
I really want people to understand how innovative Blueprint Earth's mission is—being able to recreate an environment in any setting is game-changing!
My goal at work is to apply the knowledge I acquired from my research trip to every project moving forward. Being familiar with other fields of work makes me an even better engineer.
Next, I hope to get back out into the Mojave for another research trip in the fall.
When I tell others about Blueprint, I usually say I had an amazing experience and I cannot wait for another trip with the Blueprint team.