Vol. XXXVIII, No. 7 --- July 2002
Right now I (along with most other people) am preparing for the CFMS Show in Placerville. The Agenda for the Director's Meeting is done, the reservations for my motel room are made along with reservations for the Awards Banquet and Editor's Breakfast. Have you made your reservations? I am hoping that I will remember everything before I leave home. Most of all, I am looking forward to meeting all the Director's and other CFMS Members and friends at the Show. Really, I do believe that people are the most important part of the hobby.
After the Show in Placerville I will then be going to the AFMS Show in Port Townsend, Washington. The weather should be cooler than it will be here in Monrovia. I expect to have a wonderful time going to shows. Shows are exciting.
Summertime is also the time to visit a museum either while you are home or when you are traveling. This is the opportunity to make an individual or club field trip to either a major museum like the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History that now has a very large, wonderful sculpture of rutile quartz, or of course, you could go to a smaller museum like the Bower's Museum in Santa Ana that currently has a traveling exhibit of very large gem stones (including a meditation piece made from a one ton quartz boulder with rutile). I know that other areas have museum exhibits that need checking out. In fact, why don't you check out a museum in whatever area you are visiting? Should be fun.
May 10. 2002 Senator Boxer introduced a Senate Bill as an addition to another Senate Bill which would include 2.5 million acres of new wilderness area and more than 400 new wild and scenic river miles. Included in the wilderness acres is the North Cady Mountains, which we had an MOU with the BLM to use for our educational recreation of collecting, studying and enhancing rocks. The Alvoris Mountains, the bowling alley, and several other sections are to be added to the Death Valley National Park. Now Representative Hilda Solis of East LA and Representative Mike Thompson will introduce companion Bills in the House of Representatives,
Today Senator Feinstein had one of her spokespersons give me a call to discuss this problem. I was not home and he has not returned my call. Sen. Boxer sent her spokesperson to see me May 10 and she introduced her Bill that day; so you can see how important my input was. There was a party in San Diego the night of the tenth and one of 200 people on the Golden Gate Bridge overlooking the San Francisco Bay on May 11. Obviously Senator Boxer was too busy to consider my suggestions. Her spokesperson did not know that you cannot collect rocks, plants, flowers, etc. from a National Park or preserve.
So guys and gals if we want to keep our collecting areas open, we must each and every one write to our senators and representatives. There is no authentical reason for more wilderness areas or an extension of our national parks. This is environmental greed not need.
Another disappointment! For the First time since the California Mojave Desert Advisory Council was formed as required by the Desert Protection Act of 1994, we, the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies did not have any one appointed to this Council. I will try to get that improved next year.
One nomination was inadvertently omitted from last month's report (I apologize), and several more arrived recently, so I have a long list of honorees this month! These CFMS honorees will also be submitted to the AFMS for publication in their newsletter.
The Long Beach Mineral & Gem Society proudly presents MONA COMPTON as their Rockhound of the Year for 2002. Her interest in mineral collecting and the lapidary arts encouraged her to travel not only to club field trips in Southern California but also to many states in the USA and to Europe and Asia. In the club she has held several positions including treasurer, recording secretary and show chairman. For many years she demonstrated beading and wire wrapping at club workshops and shows, including CFMS shows, and has always been willing to help other clubs with their workshops and shows. Submitted by Dorothy Beachler, Federation Director.
South Bay Lapidary, Gem and Mineral Society would like to honor BILL ROBARDS as their 2002 Club Rockhound of the Year. Bill has been very active in the club for many years. He has been field trip chairperson for over 15 years; leading members to many interesting places and helping them discover the joys of rockhounding. For many years, he has held 3 positions simultaneously for the annual Gem and Mineral show. He runs the Wheel of Fortune, and provides all the bags, chains, and rocks, gratis. He takes charge of the rough rocks, donating many. For many years, Bill was in charge of Transportation and rented the needed trucks. He provided much of the labor needed to move the club materials. Bill has provided a centrally located home, complete with refreshments for workshops, show meetings, and other meetings as needed. When a donation of machinery is made to the club, he always helps to get the machine in salable condition, cleaning it, storing it, and selling it, giving the proceeds to the club as per the donor's request. Many new or potential members have benefited from Bill's knowledge and expertise, aiding them to become involved in our hobby. He helps people learn to make jewelry and also provides a source of cheap used machinery to get old and new members further "hooked. "Once they become that involved, they generally stay in the club. Our hats off to Bill Robards!!!!! Submitted by Omer Goeden, Federation Director
The Conejo Gem & Mineral Club would like to recognize DON ASHER for all the years of service he has given to the club. Don is a Charter Member of this club and has served as an officer or chairman every year since the club was organized. He has served as President, 1st Vice President - Programs, 2nd Vice President - Fieldtrips, 3rd Vice President - Membership, 4th Vice President, Editor, Show Chairman, and Ways and Means Chairman. He has been a dedicated and active member for 30 years. Submitted by Jeane Stultz, Federation Director.
The Lake County Rockhounds (formerly the Lake County Diamond and Mineral Society) nominates FAYE LEMKE for 2002 Rockhound of the Year. Faye was one of the original members of our group, 48 years ago when she got her first tumbler, and as her lapidary and mineralogical skills improved, her service to the club increased. She has held every office, setting the standard for field trips and meeting programs. She has held the post of Field Trip Director for ten years. She has shared her knowledge and worked tirelessly in the field of mineralogy, pausing only to have three children, eleven grandchildren, and 13 (almost 14) great-grandchildren.
And somehow she has found time to keep her rock shop open for forty years, and to teach painting to adults and children. We're very proud of her! Submitted by unanimous vote of the members of the Lake County Rockhounds.
Fresno Gem & Mineral Society has selected long time rockhounds GLENN AND ESTHER SHAFER as our Rockhounds of the Year 2002. Glenn and Esther are, as in so many other societies, two of the unsung heroes of our society. They are always ready to help and get things done, which need doing, to keep the society going in the direction it needs to go. They go out of their way to help others in our society and share their knowledge and experience. In the attitude they portray everyday, they are the even keel when things get stormy so in that way they are beneficial to us all. All societies should have members like them, as they are always ready to work, and are very dependable. They go on rock trips and spenda lot of time at Quartzite buying materials we need for our yearly show. Submitted by Jerry Wells, Federation Director.
Thanks to all the clubs who have participated in this program thus far this year --I hope to hear from a lot more clubs during the rest of
the year. Please send nominations via regular
mail to Barbara Matz, P.O. Box 7086, Petaluma, CA 94955-708 or e-mail
Several years ago, I was attending a CFMS Show where awards were presented. What was so amazing about this was the number of recipients who were Middle and High School students. After visiting the June 1-2 show in Glendora, I understood why.
The weekend following the Memorial Day holiday is the traditional time for the Glendora Gems show in support of the Public School program that educates youngsters in Earth Sciences, lapidary, metal work and related subjects. This is not a large show, but it is a very popular one that is well attended by both buyers and sellers. It is put on primarily by the youth (90 percent of the membership), with help from their adult "Boosters".
On the stage there were cases showing the works of individual students and also collaboration between two or more. Many of these cases were remarkably professional in presentation and skill. These students deserve recognition and the ability to continue these studies up to and beyond graduation.
Many students became enamored with sphere making. I have never seen so many in one area, and of such a variety of materials. The sphere machine(s) must have been going full bore the entire year. There was voting on the cases and awards were handed out to the many winners-and winners they were. These youngsters are our future; we must support them in any way we can. They are our future geologists, lapidaries, rockhounds, and earth science educators.
There are dealers who have other show choices that elect to remain loyal to this specific show. That is obvious by the requests for more table space. One high volume dealer, no matter where he sells, advised me that in 2003 there would be two other shows in competition with the Glendora Show, but he will not yield-even for the well supported and located CFMS Show. That is how highly this show and its purpose is regarded.
There was a wonderful camaraderie between most of the dealers, with easy referrals between each other for materials known to be at other tables. That worked very well.
Now, about the Glendora School District Program: Anyone involved in education knows how much emphasis today is directed toward academic subjects only. Most of us realize that leaves out in the lurch those students who prefer to work outside of books. This program was unique as it was offered in both Middle and High school. It no longer is. The Middle school program has been eliminated with scant notice. Now with new administration, the High School program may be in jeopardy.
This program is totally self sufficient, self funded by events such as this annual two-day sale. Students have also had other fundraisers, some of which are no longer allowed, such as the candy sale. They have to date raised $45,000 of the needed $50,000. The monetary goal is in sight. Let's hope the administration votes to continue the program well into the future.
The two questions I'm most frequently asked by Junior and Pebble Pup leaders are what kinds of educational activities I recommend and where one can get tools and supplies for such activities. You'll find a lot of ready resources in your own back yard: most clubs have a rock pile or members who gladly share materials from field trips for pebble pup lapidary projects and rock-identification lessons. And don't overlook your own kitchen, where you'll find salt and sugar for crystal growing projects and vinegar to show kids how to identify limestone and other carbonates.
However, once you've exhausted the possibilities of your kitchen cupboard and want to graduate to more sophisticated projects, you'll find a number of educational kits and products available from a variety of commercial sources. A few of the better-known companies include:
If you contact any of them, ask specifically for their geology or earth sciences catalog. This isn't meant as a commercial endorsement, and in fact, I caution you about the prices you'll find in those catalogs. A drawback in turning to commercial supply houses like these is the price tag. Apparently, their biggest customers are science teachers and schools, and they must think schools have deep pockets. (My wife who works for our local school district wants them to know this is far from the case!)
However, they'll send you the catalogs for free, and I've found them to be a fantastic source of not just supplies but also ideas. In fact, for a Juniors leader seeking ideas for projects, thumbing through these catalogs is like finding yourself in a candy shop! For instance, there's a "Find -a Mineral" lab activity that challenges kids mineral identification abilities by mixing small chips of 12 common minerals with sand and other rocks-an idea you can easily replicate on your own using free samples pulled from your own club rock pile. A similar "Finda-Fossil" activity mixes small fossils with gravel to fine-tune kids ability to spot and identify a wide assortment of common invertebrate fossils. Do you have a fossil collector in your club with specimens to spare and share?
So whether you're looking for products to buy or inspiration for activities you might put together on your own, you'll find both in these mail-order catalogs. They give you everything you need to obtain tools and ideas to not only educate, but-as always-have fun!
CFMS Safety Chairman 2002
We have another summer coming up with our planned excursions into the great outdoors and so we should be thinking about safety again- or better yet, still. I know most of you know what I will cover so I apologize for boring you. You must remember we may be old well informed and safety practicing rockhounds but fortunately we do have many new young rockhounds joining us regularly. And many new comers after they join a club hear "You are our Field Trip Leader" and no one tells them how to do it. Therefore this is aimed at these newcomers to keep them as safe as we old timers have learned to be.
Before the Field Trip (F/T) Leader goes on an f/t he should make all his tools safe to use. Mushroom heads ground off their chisels, wooden handles tightened to their business ends, his vehicle put into good mechanical condition with proper air in the tires, oil and water checked and his current valid driver's license in his possession. Extra oil, water, and transmission fluid should be taken along also. I like to have spare fan belts, and brake fluid. A good map and directions to the f/t site is also required.
As responsible parents should stress to their children that they should practice safe ways of doing things, so too, ALL field trip chairmen MUST stress to their field trip participants that they MUST practice safety in all their rock or other material collecting activities.
At the start of all collecting (or even sight-seeing) activities, a field trip chairman must hold a gathering of all participants - not merely the drivers - and should begin by instructing everyone of the route of travel and the eventual destination. If he tells them (as we up here in the North Bay Field Trips organization always do) to make note of the vehicle leading them so in the event a passing vehicle cuts into the convoy, he will know which car to follow and at the same time to note the following vehicle and if that vehicle fails to follow he should stop, then the car ahead of him will stop and so on and so on. In that way no one will miss the f/t and the safety aspect of this detail is that no one should have to speed trying to catch up. He must inform every one of the local hazards or dangerous items at the collecting site. That pets and small children should be controlled is another thing that should be stressed. Pets and small children don't know not to run up to a person swinging a sledgehammer or throwing rocks about. If they wander away, they could become lost. He should do this before leaving the rendezvous area because when they arrive at the field trip area they have a tendency to disperse very quickly. Never-the-less, upon arrival at the field trip site, the field trip leader should call for another gathering and as he tells them of the best areas to collect, he should point out the local dangers and the things to look out for such as snakes, mine shafts, poison oak or ivy, caution about a dry river bed suddenly turning into a roaring torrent after a storm far up in the hills, the dangers of being up-hill or down-hill when others are in the same area.
The f/t leader should stress the use of safety glasses or goggles, the use of heavy gloves during hard rock mining. It is too late at this point to say they should wear steel-toed shoes but hopefully the flt announcement had included that item. I see so many people wearing only tennis shoes or low quarter shoes when digging large rocks out of banks when a falling rock could badly damage a foot or even break a bone there in.
While the group is collecting the f/t leader should spend the major portion of his time in seeing that they are getting good material as well as monitoring their safety practices. If someone is observed doing anything in a dangerous manner, he MUST insist that they stop. If they are digging a hole into a bank, they must be stopped and instructed to dig off the over-laying material so that there is no danger of a cave-in. He should monitor them so that they don't throw things down a slope when others are below them. If they are using chisels with mushroomed heads, they MUST be told NOT to use them. He should make certain that if someone is using a sledgehammer, that the observers are using eye protection also.
Bookbinder, artist, lapidary, historian, and always a raconteur.
From the Bulletin of the Mineralogical Society of Southern California, June, 2002
John Sinkankas was born in Paterson, NJ. His lifelong interest in minerals began there at the age of seven when he visited the Newstreet Quarries. He finished college to be a teacher, instead he joined the Navy. Twenty-five years later he retired as a Navy Captain in San Diego.
However, he is best remembered for his literary career. Immediately upon retiring he joined the staff of the Lapidary Journal (1961-1963) where he published 14 articles relating to gems and gem cutting. He also worked with Dr. Gustav Arhennius as research assistant in Mineralogy at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he was involved in the study of lunar samples.
Through the encouragement of his wife, Marge, he decided to devote full time to his own books and articles. He published 15 books and 130 papers in over 12 various gem and mineral hobby and professional journals.
His first book, "Gem Cutting- A Lapidary's Manual" appeared in 1955. This successful book had three editions. (1955,1962,1984) Other well received books include, "Gemstones of North America, Vol. 1, (1959), Vol.ll (1976); "Gemstones and Minerals, How and Where to FindThem"(1961)"Mineralogy for Amateurs" (1964)
"Mineralogy: a First Course"(1966) "Van Nostrand's Standard Catalogue of Gems"(1968), Prospecting for Gemstones and Minerals"(1970), "The Studio Handbook of Minerals"(revision of a book by Hellmuth Bsegel"(1971), "Gemstone and Mineral Data Book:"(1972), "Emerald and the Other Beryls"(1981).
Some of his outstanding lapidary pieces are in the Smithsonian, including a 7,000 carat faceted egg of rock crystal and a 4,500 faceted egg of pale smoky quartz, also a step-cut golden beryl of over 2,000 carats. He also has large gems in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. To do these stones he had to develop his own special large-sized faceting machine.
He was a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America since 1967, honorary Fellow of the Gemological Association All-Japan, and held membership in the Mineralogical Association of Canada; he had honorary membership in the Rochester Academy of Sciences, San Diego Mineral & Gem Society, the Cosmos Club, Washington D.C., and The Mineralogical Society of Southern California. He was a Graduate Gemologist and was given the Distinguished Associate Reward in 1982.
Also in 1982 for: "his remarkable contributions to areas of endeavor for which he had no formal preparation, for bringing national recognition to and credit upon his alma mater, for truly exemplifying the pioneering spirit held so highly at William Paterson College, and for numerous other achievements" the Board of that College presented to John Sinkankas the Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Sinkankasite was named in his honor in 1984, in 1988 he received the first individual Carnegie Mineralogical Award.
John Sinkankas was also interested in book collecting and bookbinding. He commented,"One of the most important contributions Marge and I have made to the earth sciences in the United States is to provide a source of materials via our Pari Lithon Books company; which we run as a pair without outside help, The business, now eleven years old, contributes by making available all sorts of publications from reprints to multi-volume work." The books are largely mineralogical and geological classics. His world classic library of 13,000 items now resides at the Gemological Institute of America. His "Gemology, An Annotated Bibliography" documented a lifetime of work and offered insight into his tremendous love of books.
He is survived by his wife, Marge, of 62 years, and four children-two boys and two girls.
Agnes Hall passed away on May 25, 2002 at the Roundsville Rehab Center, Oakland, California. She was in the Summit Hospital for three weeks before she was transferred to the Rehab Center. She had suffered with pain in her shoulder and back for many months. In the hospital x-rays showed a blood clot in her lung.
Agnes was an avid mineral collector and field tripper. She and her husband, Colin, traveled to many places in search of minerals. She showed California Minerals and Colin showed Personally Collected Minerals in many shows.
For many years, she was AFMS Scholarship Chairman. She was a CFMS Scholarship Honoree.
Agnes was a member of the East Bay Mineral Society until it disbanded in 1999 when she joined the Santa Clara Valley Gem and Mineral Society. Agnes was Bulletin Editor and Treasurer for East Bay Mineral Society for many years.
We will miss her Big Smile and Cheerful Attitude.