VoL XXXV, No. XI--- December 1998

CFMS Newsletter


Winding Down, or Winding Up?

by Beverly Moreau, CFMS President

Like the simile of the half full or half empty glass, we can look toward the end of 1998 from two viewpoints. In one sense, we are winding down the tasks that have been set before us, having given them our best effort throughout the year, and passing on to our successors the valuable records and information that will ensure a smooth transition.

In another sense, we are winding up (like an alarm that is being primed for action at the appointed hour), to make a running start on the new year's responsibilities.

Because nothing ever stands still nor remains static for very long, we must continue the motion from one phase to another without losing our momentum. (Remember my quoting, in January of this year, the dictionary definition of momentum? - "strength or continuity derived from an initial effort".) The initial effort can only be sustained through steady, continuous action, well directed.

As we enter 1999, we begin a new phase of activity for the Federation. Some tasks cannot be completed in the space of a year. It takes the fight combination of personnel, financial resources, timing and feasibility. So it is important that we carry forward uncompleted tasks that are designed to benefit the organization or our member clubs and societies.

One of those important tasks is the establishment of a CFMS website. In July, at the Directors' Meeting in Monterey, the Executive Committee was authorized to investigate the feasibility, cost, and advisability of taking this step. By the time you read this message, a decision will have been made by the Executive Committee and/or the CFMS Directors concerning this important issue.

Having had the opportunity to compare some of the websites currently in operation on the Internet, three essential requirements seems apparent to me:

  • We must present ourselves to the public autonomously, without riding on the coattails of any other entity. This should be done through a Unique Domain Name established solely for our organization. Our affiliation with the AFMS and the other regional Federations in no way violates this premise but, rather, enhances our image.

  • We must maintain control of whatever information is presented on our website. Stringent screening of potential articles or appeals is necessary to prevent the publishing of misinformation or soliciting misdirected action. Only after an item has been cleared for publication by cognizant individuals within our organization should it go to our internal Webmaster.

  • Information should be presented simply, in a clear, uncluttered format that is easy to access and easy to read.

Above all, we want visitors to our website to know who we are, what we are about, what we have to offer, and how we can be contacted.

In this day of high technology, we have an exciting opportunity to promote interest in our hobby, our activities, and our clubs and societies. Nothing can do this better than an effective communication tool.

If we have received authorization to go forward with this venture at Visalia, all the research and planning that have been -performed to date ("the initial effort") will provide just the momentum needed to accomplish our objective.


by Dot & Bob Beachler, CFMS Co-chairs

Rules and forms for next year's entries (based on 1998 activities) have been finalized by the AFMS committee. The present large, small and junior club categories will be maintained. As previously reported, there will be a three-page questionnaire form to be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation (lists, photos, clippings, etc.). Although there is still a 100-sheet maximun-4 sheets may be either single or double-sided with no limit on the number in any individual section.

Another major change involves awards. All clubs achieving specified scores will receive gold, silver or bronze regional award certificates, and all gold entries will be forwarded to AFMS for national judging. An AFMS first-place trophy will still be given to the top-scoring entry in each category.

Our goal is to get more clubs to enter the All American Awards Program and to allow more to achieve recognition for their accomplishments. We hope the new format will accomplish this, as it should now be much easier to prepare an entry. Give it a try! The new instructions and application form are printed elsewhere in the hardcopy issue.


In the last minute rush of Christmas shopping, a lady bought a box of 50 identical greeting cards. Without bothering to read the verse, she hastily signed and addressed all but one of them. Several days later after they had been mailed, she came across the one unsent card and looked at the message. She was horrified -- it said, "This card is just to say a little gift is on the way".

from Nugget News 12/90 via Rocky Review 12/91


by Toni & Grant Ewers, Co-Chairs

So ends this 1998 season of 35 honored members from 26 clubs. Any honorees received after October 24 will be forwarded to the 1999 Chairman: Colleen McGann. It's been a fun and pleasurable time for us to meet all the folks on paper and in person.

CORRECTION: A letter from Edith Serfs, Secretary of the Palmdale Gem & Mineral Club, states a typo in the CFMS & AFMS Newsletters. Anna Burton and Kathy Garner made 7000 critters and things for their fair, netting $2000. Sincere apologies to all.

Bill & Lois Pitt, Fossils For Fun life members (I 996). They have served in all club positions, spoken or presented papers to many schools and societies, including the American Malacological Union. Their donations of specimens are extensive, including California Academy of Sciences, British and American Museums of Natural History, Natural History Museums in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, University of Costa Rica, Harvard and more.

They have published many papers, both singly and jointly. Bill has held an honorary position as Field Associate in Geology at the California Academy of Sciences since 1976 and was a Research Associate in the Department of Geology at U.C. Davis in 1983-84. He led two expeditions to the Galapagos Islands to collect material and data on fossils for research. In 1994 Bill received the Katherine Palmer Award of the Paleontological Research Institution and in 1996 they both received the Harrell L. Strimple Award for outstanding achievement in paleontology by amateurs.

Submitted by Ellen Schultze, Fed. Director

Gloria Dunkel, life member of San Diego Mineral & Gem Society. Fossil collector and an expert in channel work - one of which usually collects the grand prize in important events. She teaches in our lapidary schools, chairs the annual banquet, active on annual shows, pot lucks, and open house. SDMGS treasurers Gloria's dedication, diverse talents and cheerful generosity.

Submitted by Bev Strohl, Fed. Director Wayne Moorhead, SDMGS President


by Teresa Masters
San Diego County Council Internet Liaison

During September, the Palomar Gem and Mineral Club was Host to a San Diego County Council sponsored Field Trip to Topaz Mountain, Utah.

This week-long trip was led by Marie and Chris Leslie, and sixteen plus persons participated. I say plus, as this trip was posted on the Internet, and we were joined by others.

One day, two carloads of Italians from Milan came into camp and onto Topaz Mountain for the Sherry colored Topaz. They were quite successful and very happy. We all were.

The cooperation begins with San Diego County Council. This is comprised of a representative from each of 13 local area clubs. To ensure that there is a good field trip at least once a month, each club takes a month and plans an outstanding field trip. This works very well, and relieves each club of having to find a trip a month.

Cooperation continues via the Internet. Marie Leslie and I both posted requests for information, and personal collecting experiences others were willing to share. We both received many responses and suggestions. Walter Mroch just recently co-authored a new book on Utah and Marie arranged to buy this from him. Walter very generously included additional copies of the maps from the book. This was really helpful. We also were directed to a dealer in Delta -Loy Crapo - who hand-drew us maps and gave us permission to dig at his claims.

Being willing to share is the most important part of cooperation. Internet is still a mystery to many people. This is unfortunate, as it is an incredible window on life. There is a fear that information shared on Internet will lead to mass invasion of areas divulged, and a request for secrecy was plead.

This is an issue we all have been affected by, one way or another. Many great locations have gone to the grave with the finder. There is a strong feeling, that if the word gets out, the area will be picked clean, and nothing will be left. Yes, there are those among us who have denuded areas .... hopefully, not too many. Most of the Rockhounds I have come to know and love, share willingly. Yes, on the next visit, the float may be gone but walk a bit, and dig a bit. You will be rewarded.

I have been collecting shared stories of field trips taken by many Internet users. There is a large file, and I add to it regularly. The personal stories are wonderful. Some of these will lead to field trips offered via CFMS and member clubs. For the coming year, I am working on Crystal Hill, Montana, with the Italians, and a no-host return to Topaz Mountain. These will appear in local newsletters as well as on the Internet.

Our collecting areas are opening up, not shutting down. Trips will be posted far enough in advance that vacations can be scheduled to accommodate them. Fear not the Internet; it can lead to the experiences of a lifetime.


THE WORLD'S LARGEST & OLDEST METEORITE has been discovered in China near the northeast city of Shenyang. The meteorite, locally called Huashita Hill, is estimated to be 4.5 to 4.6 billion years old and fell to earth 1.9 billion years ago. The meteorite mound is 600 feet long, 250 feet wide and about 300 feet deep. It weighs about 2 million tons and is covered with granite. The meteorite is older than any natural earth rock. The site is planned to be a state protected nature reserve.

from Rocky Trails via ChipN'Tumble News 10/98