Vol. XXXIX, No. 10 --- November 2003
Well, the way I see it . . .
It's meeting time again, and it's an important one at that. Really too important to miss. We need you (Directors and Committee Members) present for your input and votes. All Directors should be making. plans to attend. If you cannot, please inform your alternate of your ideas or concerns so they can come on your behalf,
There will be committee meetings starting on Friday and some on Saturday and Sunday as well. Be sure to attend the Cracker Barrel get-together Friday evening. It's the gathering of the old bunch and the meeting of the new, a time to exchange ideas and meet others who share your interests. Not a place to say you don't know anyone, because this is a place where we're all friends with similar interest in a diverse hobby.
Early Saturday morning is registration for all Directors, Officers and Chairpeople of all the committees. A good organization doesn't just happen, it takes a lot of planning and action by its members. We need you there! Your input does count. I'm looking forward to the Saturday evening banquet at the new location with a new menu with a little different choice of food. Well, it will be a great time with the program of installation of the new 2004 Officers for next year. I look forward to this changing of the guard, so to speak, for a couple of reasons. Of course, one, I will get a little break and with the new officers we get a new surge of energy in all our functions - new people, new ideas. It's, "Yeah, you're right, why didn't I think of that", sort of thing.
I guess we need a "lube job" and "tune up" on a regular basis to keep the machine running in good spirits and on the right road. By the way, I'm still looking to see all those Club Directors to stand up at this next meeting to tell us about their plans to host a CFMS Gem Show. Sure would be nice to see a long line of Directors at the microphone on that item.
Oh yes, from this Turkey to your turkey, have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Are you planning to enter the Editor's Contest for 2004? You must submit 2 copies of each of 2 months of your 2003 bulletins; two issues should be for the month of April, the others for a month of your choice- (4 copies total). New editors are exempt from this rule - they may submit 2 months of their own choice (2 copies of each month). Send entries to Anna Christiansen, 2004 B.A.C. For further details and entry forms, see the October Newsletter. Deadline for all entries - December 9, 2003
Good News/Bad News:
The Good news is that the Federation has been able to obtain a renewal insurance policy from Chubb Insurance, covering each of the member societies, for the policy period 10-16-03 through 10-16-04. The bad news is that the cost of coverage is: a) higher than last year and b) the policy does not automatically provide liability coverage for certain events (such as gem shows) without an additional fee (ranging from approximately $80.00 to over $400.00, depending on several factors).
As I've mentioned before, it's almost impossible to obtain quotes from other carriers (although we've tried very diligently); in the past five years alone, claims filed by clubs within our Federation have cost the insurance companies almost $250,000.00 in losses - not a "track record" that would motivate "other" insurance companies to give us lower rates than we are currently paying.
I will be mailing invoices to each society that has purchased optional premises liability and/or property coverages through Chubb Insurance, as well as invoices to those societies who have returned the completed Renewal Questionnaire and for whom gem show liability insurance is needed. The "per member" cost of insurance for Comprehensive General Liability Insurance (provided by the Chubb policy) will be included in the amount determined by the Federation's Board of Directors at the November meeting for payment by each society in January as part of the annual dues payment.
I will provide a more thorough explanation of the insurance program at the November Directors meeting in Fresno. Hope to see you there!
P.S. It's now more important than ever that your club address Insurance-related activities well in advance of the scheduled date(s). Last-minute requests for certificates of insurance and additional insured endorsements may not be processed in time for your event.
THE WOODLAND HILLS ROCK CHIPPERS are pleased to honor David Dills as our Rockhound of the Year. In the few years since David became a Rock Chipper, he has taken on numerous jobs and many of them concurrently! He has been our Federation Director, Secretary, Custodian, Display Chair, Field Trip Chair, Club Librarian, and member of our Shop Committee. Yes, around the Rock Chippers, many of us think of David as one of our marvelous `natural resources'! We are honored and blessed to have David as a member and are happy to submit David Dills as our 2003 Rockhound of the Year.
THE MONROVIA ROCKHOUNDS would love to honor Ray and Jo Anna Ritchey -- the world hasn't seen such a dynamic duo since Batman & Robin! I do not know where to begin when asked what makes Ray and Jo Anna such oustanding rockhounds. They are involved in all aspects of our club as well as other rock clubs, the CFMS, the Mineralogical Society, and rock education for the public. Jo Anna has held most of our club offices and just finished her term as President. She was Show chairman and headed up this year's record breaking 44th Annual Gem & Mineral Show. Last year she was CFMS President and is always ready to head up a committee or volunteer where there is a need. You will find her and Ray on a field trip whenever they can make it. Their backyard looks like some kind of lunar landscape with row upon rows of stored rocks in wire bins. They host our grab bag stuffing parties and supply most of the rocks as well as donate rocks to schools. Ray spends most of his time working on items for our Treasure Wheel and making egg carton rock collections for our shows and local youth. His
enthusiasm for this hobby is what makes him such a great collector, mentor, speaker, leader and demonstrator. After spending time with Ray, you will want to go out and start
your own collection. Ray has many varied life experiences in his resume and presents programs related to his hobby to interested groups. Ray and Jo Anna are always ready to take a new rockhound under their wings and get them started in this great hobby. The Ritcheys are truly the `salts of the earth' (or should I say Halides?) and the Monrovia
Rockhounds are proud to have them as longtime members.
THE GEM CARVERS GUILD OF AMERICA has nominated Alice A. Davis as the
Rockhound of the year for 2003. Alice has been an active member for close to thirty years, has served as President, was Bulletin
Editor for several years, and is presently Secretary, having held this position for many years. Within the Guild, Alice is an accomplished lapidary and an expert carver. Her interests have always included promoting carving as a method of relaxation, pride and pleasure.
THE VENTURA GEM & MINERAL SOCIETY wishes to honor Nancy and Jim BraceThompson with the Education Through Sharing award. Jim is currently serving as Youth Coordinator for the California Federation and also the American Federation. He has many plans for encouraging young people to be more active in the Earth Sciences. Jim and Nancy are very active in the dub, which has improved attendance. With Jim and Nancy as Show Chairpersons, our early spring show was a fantastic success. Nancy also arranges for excellent speakers and other interesting and educational programs for our meetings. Both Nancy and Jim are very deserving of recognition.
SHADOW MOUNTAIN GEM & MINERAL SOCIETY of Palm Springs would like to honor one of our long-time members, Mary Flagel, as Rockhound of the Year. Mary joined our club in 1964. She has held nearly every position in our club - President, Vice President, Committee Chairman, Business Manager, Director, Hospitality Chairman, Historian, and has been our club treasurer for 22 years, She is also a lifetime member of our club. She greets new members and visitors and makes them feel welcome, and she is never too busy to help members prepare competitive show cases for the Indio Date Festival - or whatever help they need. She helps advise members on cutting and polishing material. She is a faceter and will help with those problems also. She has competed in the open division of Gems & Minerals at the Indio Date Festival for many years. She has won many blue ribbons and trophies over the years. She competes in mineral, lapidary and faceting, and has also served as clerk for the judges for many years.
RENO GEM & MINERAL SOCIETY would like to nominate Ernie Kastenbein as the Rockhound of the Year. Ernie has been an active leader in our club since he joined in March of 1983. He has held many elected and appointed positions, including special committees. In addition to those positions, Ernie has spearheaded and participated in many other club activities. Under his guidance, the club has participated in demonstrations and exhibits at a local mall,
Sierra Arts Foundation events, parades, Community Club Awards Program, Adopt a Park programs, Great Basin Adventure Park
activities and events. Ernie presents special programs on geology, rocks, gems, and space shuttle tiles at our local schools. He has led mini field trips, contributed articles to our bulletin, The Conglomorate, taught lapidary classes, hosted our open house night and been responsible for the club slabbing saws. When the shop or club needs maintenance, Ernie is right there helping out. He exhibits regularly at our Jackpot of Gems show, at our General Meetings, and at the Washoe County Library. He is the first person many new members turn to. We are honored to have Ernie in our midst and would like his accomplishments noted as "Rockhound of the Year".
I would like to apologize for the long delay in getting a few of these to press. I have spent my summer finding and moving into a new home, and neglecting many other things in the process. If you have submitted a nomination that is not listed here, please contact me and I'll get it going right away. New mailing information is preseted below, or you can always send me e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A gentle reminder to all clubs:
Although summer is past and fall is here, don't fall down on preparations to enter your club in the All American Club Award program.
Entry forms are available through the CFMS website (cfmsinc.org) or by snail mail from me (310) 325-3139.
Submission deadline is February 28, 2004
Mineral Information Institute
Earlier this year, in the AFMS Newsletter, AFMS Past President Steve Weinberger alerted us to the Mineral Information Institute (or MII, for short). Teachers and youth activity leaders interested in obtaining materials for their earth science classrooms and programs should be aware of this organization because it offers a wide variety of materials, much of it free. (In 2002, Mil provided 52,710 education packets throughout the United States.)
The Mineral Information Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth about the social and economic benefits of minerals and other natural resources and how they can be mined and used in an environmentally responsible manner. Judging from the members of its board, it's primarily an arm of the mining industry, seeking to educate the public about the necessity and benefits of mining. As they say on the opening page of their web site, "Everything we have and everything we use comes from our natural resources. The purpose of Mil's educational programs is to help you teach your students about the importance of our natural resources - how we use them every day and usually never bother to think about where they came from."
Mil works in a variety of grade levels and subjects: the basic rock groups, mineral identification, mining and the environment, conservation and recycling, minerals used in everyday life, energy resources, the chemistry behind minerals and living things, a Periodic Table to chemical elements, lists of mineral resources in each of our 50 states, mineral photographs, and more. Their resources take the forms of worksheets and activity sheets, maps, posters, and kits.
The amount and quality of materials you can obtain for absolutely no cost is amazing! A huge amount is packed onto their web site, and kids can either work directly from the website, or you can download files onto disk or print onto paper for distribution.
There are fees for some materials such as large color posters, kits, and special projects, but the fees are minimal, especially compared with what you would expect to pay for similar material from a commercial source. MII is essentially selling the materials at cost. For instance, you can buy a whole Gold Panning Kit that, in their words, "contains everything but the stream" for just $11.95 each. This includes a 12" thermoplastic gold pan, sand containing gold, an instruction book, hand lens, magnet, eyedropper, display vial to hold your gold, and a booklet entitled "Secrets of Gold Panning."
In addition to their own materials, the MII's web site contains great links to other educational web sites, such as those of the American Geological Institute, mining museums across the U.S., the State Geological Surveys of all 50 states, mining schools, U.S. government resources, andespecially of interest for those of us in the CFMS-a web site on the California Gold Rush.
Contact information for the institute is:
Mineral Information Institute
I encourage you to get on the computer and check it out. It looks like the Mineral Information Institute is one organization that knows how to educate while-as alwayshaving fun!
Winter is coming and we need to take heed of the dangers this entail, because I want you all to be hale and hearty for the holiday season ahead of us and for you to be healthy and safe for our field trips next year. Here are some tips from the American Red Cross.
Inspect Fireplaces -
Watch Your Wood Stoves.
Follow the same safety rules for wood stoves as you would for space heaters. Bum only wood, and be sure the wood stove is placed on an approved stove board to protect the floor from heat and hot coals. Be sure to check with your local fire department and check the local codes before having your wood stove installed.
Be Cautious With Portable and Space Heaters.
Cook with Care.
Prepare a Winter Storm Plan.
After decades of dinosaur reconstructions, scientists have come to the conclusion that the noses are in the wrong place. Typically, the nostrils of dinosaurs have been placed towards the back of the nasal opening in the skull and up, a practice which is thought to have started when it was believed that sauropods (Brontosaurus-like dinosaurs) lived in water and would have had the nostrils as far up on the head as possible so the animal wouldn't have to stick its head out of water that far to breathe. After studying living creatures' nasal passages, the revised picture is that dinosaur nostrils were toward the front of the head, near the mouth.
from AFMS Newsletter, 10/03
A fossil bill "The Paleontological Resource Preservation Act" continues to move through Congress. The Senate version S-546 was passed by unanimous consent (with only a voice vote, no actual vote count). The Act was changed somewhat from its original introduced version with some elimination of parts that were objectionable to the ALAA and amateur collectors. However, some of the objectionable language remains and new problems have been added. It will undoubtably have a negative impact on amateur hobbyists nationwide. The Senate bill passed was referred to the U.S. Houise of Representatives and sent to its Committee on Resources for consideration. The U.S. House of Rep. already has a companion bill, HR-2416 introduced a few months ago.
From our vantage point, it would seem likely that a fossil bill of some kind will pass both houses and probably be signed into law by the President Therefore, we believe all interested hobbyists need to get a copy of the proposed legislation, review it, and write letters to their Members of the House of Representative to let them know your feelings. If you don't tell them how you feel, someone else will and that someone may not agree with your views.
The American Lands Access Association (ALAA) is most concerned by the penalty provisions of the Senate Passed Bill, and the "Rewards Forfeiture" sections. There are Savings Provisions that prevent the Act from being applied to rock collecting and invertibrate fossil collecting, but the actual language could be improved in this area. Commercial fossil collecting will be prohibited. Also, in our view, the historical role that amateur collectors have played in the advancement of the Science of Paleontology will be severely curtailed. Only qualified professional paleotologists will be allowed to collect vertibrate fossils regardless of their scientific significance. Overall we believe this is a better bill than its predecessors but it still needs more change to lessen the impact on amateur collecting.
Copies of the passed Senate Bill and proposed Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives are available by calling your U.S. Representatives Office and can be found on the intemet at (thomas.loc.gov) using the Bill numbers S-546 and HR-2416.
Your letters and comments to your Congressional Representative have helped change this bill from the original "Baucus" Bill introduced in 1991 and can continue to help the final language to better recognize the contributions that amateurs make to the Science of Paleontology.
Pearl, Coral, Amber and Jet are the four organic gems. Although they contain calcium carbonate, a mineral substance, pearls are the product of certain mullusks whose secretions allay the discomfort of an irritationcaused by disease, a parasite, or a foreign particle. The result is the "Queen of Gems" formed inside the protective mantle that surrounds the soft parts of the animal's body, within the shell.
Coral is the accumulated skeletal material of tiny marine animals called polyps, which live in branching colonies. Extracting calcium carbonate from the water, they deposit it in their tissues and build their framework of hollow tubes, which remain after their death.
Whereas pearl and coral are of animal origin, Amber and Jet are derived from plants. Amber is the fossil resin of ancient coniferous trees. These trees flourished during the Oligocene Epoch of the Tertiary Period - nearly 40 million years ago, and were species of pine (Pines Succinifer). Most properly speaking, amber is a fossil resin containing Succinic acid. Hundreds of species of insects and other invertibrates of the Oligocene Age are found beautifully preserved in amber, caught in the sticky sap as it dripped down the bark of trees.
Jet is a compact black variety of lignite coal. Lignite is the lowest rank of coal, having been least changed. The best quality of Jet is velvety black. All coal has a plant ancestry, having formed from the remains of ancient vegetation. During many centuries vegetation thrived and died. Progressive changes of heat and pressure carried these plants through peat, then to lignite, which we know as jet. Jet was most popular during the Victorian Era and was mainly used as mourning jewelry.
The above information was taken from
This is a list of cabochons the CFMS owns. The original group was given by club members to the CFMS for exhibit at the American Federation's 50th Anniversary in Jackson, MS in 1997. Since then the collection has grown to its present state. It was shown recently at the CFMS/AFMS Combined Show and Convention in Ventura, CA on June 5-8, 2003
Amygdlooidal Basalt, Rose Bar, Yuba River, CA
Lepidolite, Pala, CA
Sagenite, Nipoma, CA (slab)
Thulite, Oolitic Jasper, Exeter, Tulare Co. CA
Ulexite, Boron, CA
Barbara Goss Pettit, Petrosky Stone, MI
If you would like to contribute a stone to this Historical Collection, please contact
Shirley Leeson, CFMS Historian,