In the second installment of our series #IamACE, we’d like to introduce you to ACE corps member Daniel Reyes. Daniel is a crew corps member based out of our Flagstaff, Arizona branch. We caught up with Daniel, hard at work at our Yarnell project in southern Arizona.
[ACE] Can you tell me about your background? Where did you grow up?
[DR] I grew up in Central Valley California, and I went to school at Humboldt University in Northern California. I studied environmental management and protection with an emphasis in natural resources planning. I just graduated in December.
What motivated you to get into conservation?
There’s a local preserve by a land trust near my house and the use of land always fascinated me. I didn’t go out into nature much as a kid–my family didn’t do much hiking or camping or anything. But when I got the chance to get out and be exposed to it, I realized I wanted to work in nature.
How did you find ACE?
In the summer of 2014 I was wondering what to do between semesters of college. I looked around online and found a 450 hour position with ACE. It coincided perfectly with my summer break. I liked it so much that I wanted to come back!
Can you tell me about one highlight and one challenge of your time with ACE?
My highlight would be the people. We all come from so many different backgrounds but we all have the same mindset of working hard in the field of conservation. A challenge from my last term with ACE was the heat–working in extreme temperatures in the Grand Canyon. This project we’re on right now in Yarnell is more mentally challenging. We have to use the materials that are around us to build staircases for the trail. It requires a lot of planning.
What do you think sets ACE apart from other organizations?
I think the difference I notice working for ACE is the people it attracts. The corps members in ACE seem a lot more prepared, motivated, and willing to do this type of work.
Tell me about your goals for the future when you’re done with ACE.
I’d like to work for the city or the county. I love hard manual labor and getting outside. I’m not totally sure what I’d like to do, but I think ACE has been helpful in preparing me for my future. ACE provides you with experience in the field, helps you form an applicable skill set, and you have to work together with many other people which helps you develop your teamwork skills.