Vol. XXXVII, No. 2 --- February 2000
This month I will conclude the thoughts which began in the previous message. Last month I discussed communication as being an area of concern. The other area of concern discussed in my installation message is the club field trip.
Field trips have long been considered an important activity of our clubs. Many younger members join to have the opportunity to visit collecting areas and have a good time in the field. Sometimes there is no substitute for getting out there and experiencing nature first hand. Future field trips must out of necessity include a field safety component which includes the leader being responsible for enforcing safety rules in the field. Clubs need to get serious about putting their policies in writing and not being afraid to enforce them even if it means telling someone to leave after fair warning goes unheeded. All of us marvel at how seldom someone actually gets hurt despite seeing every rule in the book broken. But even one injury is one injury too many particularly if it could have been prevented.
Our Safety Chairman, Chuck McKie, has decided to dive head first into developing a CFMS Safety Manual which will include a section on field trip safety. The AFMS Safety Manual was posted to our website but can hardly be considered a model for a modern manual. It is a candidate for a total re-write, but that is someone else's project. Chuck will need assistance from you in accomplishing this task. The expertise of all of us is needed in producing a manual which will provide guidelines to our clubs and their membership.
In the western United States we will continue to deal with the issue of land closures and restrictions on how we use the public lands. Because our collecting activities are defined as "casual use" we actually face fewer threats to continued land use than the prospecting clubs which refer to their members as small miners. Believe it or not, the person who dry washes for a weekend on a small club claim in the desert can be subject to the same rules and regulations imposed on a multi-million dollar mining operation. What is the best strategy for the present and probably for the future? Let's continue to work positively with the agencies which are charged with enforcing the rules. Bear in mind that the general public has no idea what we do on our field trips and neither do the regulators; it is up to us to show them. Continue to educate the public and present positive images in our communities and above all in the field.
Jim Strain and Isabella Burns are to be applauded for the efforts undertaken to assure continued access to some of our prime collecting areas. Jim recently brought about agreements with the BLM to have the establishment of a Historical Rock Collecting Area at the Hauser Beds. A few years back Isabella succeeded in having sections of the Cady Mountains reopened to collectors. This could be just the beginning of what open dialogue and cooperation with the regulatory agencies can accomplish in retaining access to and use of our public lands. We owe both of them and those who have worked with them a debt of gratitude!
California In Conjunction with
The CFMS Gold & Gem Show
August 4, 5, and 6, 2000
You are cordially invited to participate in the year 2000 Faceters' Symposium to be held at the Riverside, California Convention Center on August 4, 5, and 6, 2000. At this three-day event there will be speaker programs presented by knowledgeable faceters, demonstrations of faceting, displays of faceted gemstones, and faceting equipment. There will also be competitions available at the Novice, Advanced, and Masters levels. On Sunday morning, the Symposium will be devoted to a question and answer session. This will be the chance to ask and discuss topics of faceting with the experts. Sunday afternoon leaves the attendees free time to see the rest of the CFMS Show.
The admission fee to the Faceters' Symposium is $70.00 per person. This is for full registration for the three days. Included are Gold & Gem Show admission, all Faceters' Symposium meetings, Symposium speaker presentations, handouts, the Friday Hospitality Hour, and the Saturday Awards Luncheon.
For more information about attending the Symposium or entering in one of the Competitions, please contact:
Glenn Klein, Chairman
AT SODA SPRINGS
Izzie and Bill Bums
Ray and Florence Meisenheimer
Cal and Dee Clason
The 15th Earth Science Studies at ZZYZX is April 9 to 16, 2000. Attendance is limited and is filling fast. Send in your application early to assure a room.
Workshops include bead stringing, soft stone carving, cabochon making, silver smithing, wire wrap and study of microfossils. There will be some field trips for sight seeing and for collecting. Each evening there is an interesting program.
Facilities are rustic but adequate. You will bring your own bedding and personal needs. There is ample room for RV's and you may be more comfortable if you bring it.
Well balanced meals are provided also food and water is sent out on the field trips.
If you use a cane or walker please make note of it on your application.
The fee for all of this--a week of instruction, good meals and good fellowship is only $220.00 per person.
The number of attendees is limited, so send in your application early. For a copy of the ZZYZX application form (Click Here).
Special Congress Representing Involved Bulletin Editors (SCRIBE), the international organization of bulletin editors of amateur gem, mineral, and earth science societies, invites all editors to share ideas, techniques, successes, problems, and concerns with your fellow bulletin editors at its annual workshop and symposium in Quartzsite, Arizona.
Editors are invited to bring copies oftheir bulletin; original articles, poetry, or puzzles; and write-ups of information or ideas helpful to club editors (50 copies of each item please) to share with one another.
Saturday, January 29, 2000 (8:30 MST), Senior Citizen's Center, Moon Mountain Road, Quartzsite.
Last fall, Thalia Goldsworthy of the Woodland Hills Rock Chippers asked me for some recipes for crystalmaking. Here are a few I've pulled from my library. If you have any additional suggestions, please send them to me.
The basic supplies for crystal growing are small jars, boiling water, sticks and a bit of string, and minerals that are easy to dissolve. Minerals may be purchased from grocery and drug stores and include everything from common table salt and sugar to Epsom salts, alum, borax, saltpeter, and photographic fixer.
The first step is to prepare a "saturated solution" by adding your mineral of choice to boiling hot water. Continue stirring in your mineral until no more can be dissolved. Next, pour the saturated solution into heat-proof glass jars. You can then either let the jars simply sit, or you might suspend a string into the solution from a stick or pencil for crystals to grow around. The main thing needed at this point: patience! It may take 2-4 weeks for the solution to evaporate, but as it does so, crystals will form, and your pebble pups can watch them grow. A few drops of food coloring add color to your crystals, and growing sugar crystals makes for a sweet project that you pebble pups can taste afterwards.
Janice VanCleave's Earth Science for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments that Really Work (John Wiley & Sons, 1991) has instructions for making cubic crystals from table salt and crystal needles from Epsom salts, as well as a nifty way of making stalagmites and stalactites by suspending string with washers on each end between two containers of saturated solutions. Alan Anderson, Gwen Diehn, and Terry Krautwurst's Geology Crafts for Kids: 50 Nifty Projects to Explore the Marvels of Planet Earth (Sterling Publishing Co., 1996) tells how to make rock candy and how to grow a variety of crystals under various circumstances (for instance, pouring your saturated solution over pebbles versus the traditional hanging-string technique, or growing crystals in a warm, sunny spot versus in a refrigerator). William & Mary Esler's Teaching Elementary Science, Sixth Edition (Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1993) provides guided questions on using crystal growing as a means for teaching children about geological processes.
Finally, you can purchase commercial crystal-growing kits at places like The Nature Company or educational supply shops that cater to schools. Ward's scientific supply house sells crystal-growing kits, although they're a bit pricey. Call their 800 number (1-800-962-2660) or check out their web site (www.wardsci.com) to request their Geology catalog. Another supply house is Nasco. Call 1-800-558-9595 to request their catalog, Science: Understanding Through Hands-On Science. Whether going home-grown or commercial, there's just one thing to remember: as always, have fun!
Rockhounds are gathering from all over the world during January and February to Arizona for the quartzite and Tucson rock and gem shows. What a wonderful arena to locate special rocks to work on in the coming year. Special events are similar to special people in our clubs, they help keep our clubs going year to year. I look forward to meeting your club's special people this year.
Fossils for Fun presents JOY HUTCHINS for her years of service to the club and for her years of tireless effort toward the promoting of the rockhound hobby. Joy has been a member for more years than she might want us to reveal. She has the distinction of almost perfect attendance at our educational meetings year after year. Joy has held every office Fossils for Fun has except Bulletin Editor. And she has done that for other local rockbound clubs. She continues to serve as our donations table chairperson, and just about anything else we ask of her. For many years Joy has put in displays at the Rio Linda library about fossils and rockhounding. She has also given talks at the local schools. Recently, our club found itself, with only a three day notice, without a meeting place. Joy immediately volunteered her house. And that's not the first time over the years that she's done this. Joy is the type of club member we'd like to clone. Fossils For Fun salutes her and invites the rest of you to acknowledge her value.
The Carmichael Gem & Mineral Society presents JOHN SHOEMAKER for his contributions toward the education of both new and experienced rockhounds. John is well known in the Sacramento area and has frequently demonstrated sphere making and flint knapping at the local shows. This past year he was involved in demonstrating these skills at two of our local children's museums. John has been featured in Rock and Gem magazine as one of the "Craftsman of the month" article. He described how to combine an obsidian knife blade with a tumbled petrified wood handle to make a beautiful knife. John is also well known for his love of gadgetry. He makes many rockhound "machine things". He also has quite a workshop with the "latest technology". He is always inviting people to come over and try out some new piece of machinery. Besides sharing his lapidary skills, John is an intrepid field trip leader. Every year he leads a trip to the Black Rock Desert. He also leads or assists with many other field trips through out the year. He is always willing to share his knowledge of where to find the good stuffand what to do with it after you get it home. He is truly a "gem of a rockhound".
The Pasadena Lapidary Society presents GEORGE and MONA SNYDER as their Rockhound of the Year 2000. George and Mona joined the society in the middle 50's and have been fully involved with club activities until recently. George has been President twice, Show Chair three times, Field Trip leader numerous times and Scout Master for a local scout troop for a number of years. Mona has been his right hand and staunch supporter throughout the years. Not content to become a coach potato, George, for the fifth year will head up the sterling silver workshop group for the CFMS Earth Science Studies scheduled for the week of April 9-16, 2000 at Zzyzx.
from Diablo Diggins, 1999
via Chips, 10/99
How I wonder where you are?
In this sapphire stone you dwell,
But you are hiding very well;
I've rounded off the crystal faces,
Knowing you park in certain places,
I've searched for you on every side,
Trying to find just where you hide;
I keep grinding because the fact is
I must locate the crystal axis;
My sanding wheels are worn from toil,
And I rub with olive oil;
I hold you under a bright spotlight,
And there's a dot that is so bright;
With infinite patience I keep at the task,
Cooperation is all I ask;
Soon you are spreading your silky beams,
And I have the goal of rockhounds' dreams;
Twinkle, twinkle, six-rayed star,
My, how beautiful you are,
You can be sure I'm unsympathetic
To anyone who calls you synthetic.
Howdy, my name is Steve Ivie and I am the incoming Field Trip South for the CFMS for 2000. I would like to start off by thanking my friend and fellow club member and rockhound, Steve Blocksage for the job he did this past year. Steve has a lot of great ideas and shares my passion for the hobby. I am very pleased to be in such good company, having already made acquaintances with many of the people serving in CFMS positions. I have looked up to them as role models because of their experience, talent, dedication and ability to share of themselves to help others. Many of you may know me from field trips, shows or other functions and if not, I hope we get the chance during this year to share our hobby with one another. I have been called a rock-o-holic and it is true, this hobby can definitely take over a good part of your life. I have been collecting for about 9 years and have enjoyed every bit of it. I always collect with my friend Steve Picard, as he is as crazy about rocks as 1 am. People who know us just call us the Steve's.
During this year we will try to make a couple of trips, address some safety issues on field trips, talk about collecting and share some ideas. The first trip to be held by field trip south is the fantastic opportunity Steve Blocksage arranged for us at Stone Canyon. (it was cancelled due to rain last year). The trip will be held in May at the Ranch's request because it is after the rains (if we get any) and before the summer heat. They do not want a repeat of the last trip and have to say no because of Mother Nature. I will be in contact with the ranch this month and have a tentative date by next month's article with the info also being posted on the CFMS website. I am going to try to time my yearly trip to Quartzite to fall on Field Trip North's Hauser Beds trip. It would be another chance to meet a number of the members and also get some great material. One of the best Iris Agates I have collected was from the Hauser Bed area. I would love to hear from people about ideas they have on collecting areas, concerns or suggestions about field trips, etc.
I have read the articles from this past year and a great many areas of safety have been touched on in them. I will only toss forward a few of my own today. First, the buddy system. It works great for diving but has many benefits in rockhounding too. Second, the habit of leaving detailed info with loved ones on when, where and what you will be collecting. I will share one of my stupidest and luckiest moments in rockhounding to demonstrate both. When I first started out in the hobby I knew less than today. I found some time off, and I didn't want to tell my wife I was going out collecting. She would get upset over the hobby that was taking over my life, so I snuck out. No one knew I was going out to collect and I went alone. I went to a mine dump with deep cuts carved by erosion, many over 6 ft deep. I was walking one of the cuts and spotted the largest piece I had ever seen protruding from the wall of the cut. I pulled and tugged on the piece and when it let loose, I saw the wall coming down with it on me. I dove to one side and was buried over my waist in the dump with a severely bruised knee. I thought I had broken my leg and was hidden from sight in the cut and miles from the closest structure, half a mile from a road and lucky to be alive. I dug myself out (and the piece) and after accessing my wounds, slowly made it back to my truck. Had I been buried completely, broken my leg or any of many other possibilities, I could have died. If I had left maps of where I would be, there would be help coming. If I had a partner there, he probably wouldn't have let me do something so foolish to begin with. And if logic had gotten foggy, the possibility of us both being buried, trapped or injured would be less likely, and there would be a greater possibility that one of us could go for help. Whether it is in the desert or close to home, always leave a map of where you will be, and when and if plans change let them know, and always try to collect with a friend or friends.
My contact information is:
Culver City Rock & Mineral Club,
via The Nugget, 1/2000
You know you're a rockhound when you've been lost in the desert for three days, the only water you have left is in your spray bottle, your truck is so overloaded you're not sure if it'll make it through the wash ahead, and you've never been happier in your life.
Field Trips - North
(Please make sure that your Field Trip Leader/Chairperson gets a copy of this article and share it with the rest of your organization.)
What I enjoy most about being a rockhound are the field trips. My wife, Betty, and I, with our 2 dogs, going off in our trailer to the desert, the mountains, or the ocean beaches. Spending time with other rockhounds collecting rocks and the camaraderie of happy hours, campfires, and pot luck dinners. Getting out to enjoy nature. I enjoy going on field trips and I enjoy leading field trips. A basic philosophy for me for a field trip is “the more the merrier”. I have been leading field trips for about 10 years. My trips are open to everyone who is a considerate rockhound and who abides by the AFMS Code of Ethics.
In the January CFMS Newsletter Beverly Moreau reported on the addition of the Field Trip page to the CFMS Web Site. The purpose of the Field Trip page is to announce field trips that the sponsoring society is willing and able to share with others. Don Ogden, our Web Master, is currently finalizing details for the layout and content. The next step is to get field trips to announce on the new web page. Steve Ivie, Field Trips-South, and I will be coordinate the submission for our respective parts of the state. I am not sure exactly where the dividing line is, so if you are unsure you may send your field trip information to me. (Our addresses are in the back of the CFMS Newsletter.) The best and fastest way to submit the field trip information is by email. If email is not available then mail us the field trip announcement. The field trip announcement must include the date of the trip, location, material to be collected, and field trip contact. I strongly suggest an email contact, whether it is the leader or some other person who will help out.
Because of space restrictions, we will not be posting the field trip announcement fliers on the web page, just pertinent information and the name, telephone number and email address of the person to contact for more information and to sign up for the trip.
Now we need field trips to post on our new Field Trip web page. As you are planning field trips for this coming year, consider sharing them with other rockhounds if the locale is appropriate. Your club does not have to share all of your field trips, but it would be great to share some.
Once the Field Trip Page is online, and you see a trip you would like to attend, contact the leader for details and to let them know you will attend. Never just show up.
I am very pleased and excited that we will soon have this new way to announce and share field trips. It will provide us with the opportunity for more trips, to learn about new and different collecting sites and have a greater variety of locations. It is also a great way to make new rockhound friends around the state.
Program Aids Chair
A round of applause for Marion: The former CFMS Program Aids Chairman, Marion Fowler, who held the position since (at least) March 1993, has decided to retire this year. Thank you, Marion, for a job well done!
Who's the new chairman? I'm President and Bulletin Editor for the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society. Write, call, or e-mail me for program ideas, with annual program reports, and needed corrections. Phone number: (858) 586-1637. I look forward to hearing from all ofyou, at one time or another.
Thank you for your reports. Those of you who sent reports to Marion, thank you, she will be forwarding them to me. I plan to incorporate your best ideas in this column.
OK, you laggards: For those of you who are still dragging your heels, get out
Can't find the form? Make your own! List the month, program or speaker, where you found them, attendance, and what your club thought of the program. Note the especially good programs or speakers that could be added to Podium People or to the Slide & Video Library Catalog.
Added incentive and outright bribery: I have about 30 pieces of faceting-grade irradiated blue topaz preforms or rough, suitable for door prizes. Want a piece? Just turn in your report, and write "I want the topaz!" on the bottom. You may already be a winner...
Need a copy of Podium People? Make sure your club's program chairman has a copy of this handy reference. Send your request and a check for $2 to CFMS Executive Secretary/Treasurer Renata Beaver. See page 2 for her address, etc.
What if Podium People isn't helpful? Maybe you can do what El Cajon Valley Gem and Mineral Society's Carolyn Boland has done:
There may be many excellent speakers within a oneor two-hour drive of your club, willing to talk for free, but you may not know about them.
How to start a local Podium People: Here's how Carolyn did it. She acquired the names and addresses of the local clubs from the San Diego County Council of Mineral and Gem Societies. Then, she mailed out letters to the Program Chairmen of those clubs, requesting a list of the speakers, slide shows, and videos used by the club in the last few years.
Potential format for local Podium People:
Name: Joe Rockbound
[Note: Sample entry, all info entirely fictional.]
And the results? Carolyn is starting to receive the names of other local rock club members with special skills, college professors, museum staff, amateur fossil hunters, flintknappers, and-much more. Just think, you could do the same, and the results are much more fun than a chain letter. Cooperation from other clubs will be forthcoming, if you promise to share the list.
You are so very important to your Society as the one who puts out the information on what is going on in your Society or Club, and the Federation. As your Bulletin Aids Chairman for 2000 I'd like to know if you have any questions or comments about what items need to be in your newsletter?
Thinking of my years as bulletin editor, in the beginning I felt including just the news of our society was enough as well as some hints and humor. As time went on I did see that the CFMS news was important. Then the AFMS news needs some space, too.
We have had a very good AFMS paper these last few years with Bill Luke as editor. The new editor will continue the tradition, we believe.
If you only put in the listing of the coming AFMS Show you have fulfilled the requirement for that part of the contest rules. Now there are interesting articles and other items as well, so it can be much easier to fill out your bulletin, and meet that requirement as well.
Please know that I would like to hear from you all. As I said with questions or comments, I am open to whatever you have to say. Let me hear from you, either US Postal Service or e-mail.
Bulletin Aids Chairman