From Your Editor
All American Report
CFMS Bulletin Aids
CFMS Jury of Awards
Field Trips - North
Field Trips - South
Notes From John
SlideS & Video Library
Scholarship - CFMS
This Can Happen to You
AFMS/NFMS Show & Convention
Shhh…be vewy, vewy quiet….
I am sitting at the 2009 CFMS Show in San Jose, writing this message while hiding from paparazzi that have plagued my every move for the last 3 days! The madmen (Jim and Bud), have left me alone for a short time, but I never know when they might find me out and begin shooting again…I have to keep my head down.
Besides the crazed shutterbugs, the show has been fantastic! Displays are incredible, and I'm very impressed with competition entries. There are great craftsmen out there!! I'm proud to be associated with such talented people! I'm really impressed with one case in particular: Bob Rush put in a beautiful case of giant cabs with metal work that just knocked my socks off! This was not a competition case, but it won an award anyway, the President’s Award! It was a thrill to be able to give an award just because I loved it! At this point, I have not given Bob the award, but I am looking forward to meeting him and learning more about the material in the case! I will tackle him when he comes to take his case down…more on that later…
There are TONS of kids here! I was so surprised at how many Boy and Girl Scouts there are here! I didn’t know there were this many Scouts in all of California, let alone in this one area! If you want to get the Scouts to come to your show, find out what they did here, because you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Scout! (Don’t try this at home.) There is a wonderful diversity of vendors, too! They have everything! I'm really impressed with the variety; i t’s great to see this kind of diversity at one of our shows. Good job, Santa Clara Valley Gem and Mineral Society!
As for the food, the Garlic French Fries are killer good! I can’t stand too close to anyone now, but those things rock! (Pun intended) If you couldn’t make the show this year, be sure to make the show next year in La Habra. The club there is really gung-ho about putting on a great show, so start planning now! Uh-oh, I’ve been spotted! I have to move or they’ll begin shooting again (with their cameras of course). Until next month,
P.S. I met Mr. Rush and he was happy with his prize, beautiful work!
As you can see, we have a lot of news to report in follow up to one fantastic CFMS Show & Convention sponsored by the Santa Clara Valley G&MS. Much good news and a lot of good reading this month! Thank you all for your submissions, and thank you to the good folks of the Santa Clara Valley club for a job well done!
As last reported, the All American Program had 3 entries for year 2008. This is better than last year, but there is still room for more clubs. The judging results and awards are as follows:
All of the clubs showed very good work by all members. Congratulations for a job well done!
Changes to Pages 1, 3, and 43 of the Operating Regulations were approved by the CFMS Directors on April 18, 2009, at the Directors' Meeting during our annual Show & Convention in San Jose. These changes were made to bring our operating regulations into conformity with the AFMS Scholarship Operating Regulations. Those changes are attached to this issue of the CFMS Newsletter. Also attached are changes to Page 11-12a to the Rules Committee, which were adopted on June 10, 2006, in Angels Camp. These changes were never distributed. Please update your Operating Regulations to include these pages.
- Ruth & Theresa
Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 CFMS Bulletin Contest. The winners are:
On behalf of the new Webmasters Contest Committee, I'm pleased to report the winners for the new Webmasters Contest within the California Federation:
My thanks to all who participated, and our congratulations to all the winners!
As CFMS 2nd Vice President, I chair the CFMS Jury of Awards for the AFMS Scholarship Foundation. To accomplish that duty, I need your help! What is the Jury of Awards of the AFMS Scholarship Foundation, you ask? As reported in Feb., since 1964 this Foundation has (in either a Master’s or Ph.D. program). Six regional federations participate. Each chooses an honoree (an individual or a couple) who, in turn, chooses a university and participates in choosing two geoscience graduate students who receive $2,000 each year for two years, or a total of $4,000 for each student. We have a long list of distinguished honorees, both from within the ranks of the CFMS and from academia. For instance, Golden Bears and CFMS Past-Presidents Jeane and Bob Stultz were recently honored with the 2009 award.
I’m seeking nominees for our 2010 award. The goal is to have nominees determined at or shortly after the conclusion of our annual November Directors’ Meeting in Visalia, but please don’t wait until then! I’m sure any number of worthy names come quickly to mind, so please share your thoughts with me as soon as you can.
To make a nomination, send me the name/s of your nominee/s along with a brief backgrounder explaining why you believe them worthy of this award. You should consider service that has been long and sustained and that ripples beyond the regional level. I’ll take your nominations whatever way works best for you. Call me (805-659-3577), mail me (7319 Eisenhower St., Ventura, CA 93003), or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Here’s thanking you in advance for your nominees!
Jennifer Haley, on behalf of the Napa Valley Rock & Gem Club is pleased to recognize Jerry Whitaker (39-year member) as our Rockhound of the Year. Jerry generously shares his mining, lapidary and jewelry skills with members new and long-term. He also speaks at other clubs. He is a wealth of wondrous stories about dredging for gold and being present for the yellow opal discovery. As well as the famous digging for orbicular jasper stories. He shares his favorite sitting rock on the edge of the hill for picnics while on rock hunts. Jerry has been Vice President, Field Trip Chairman and Board Member positions over the years. For all, we sincerely thank you, Jerry!
The Long Beach Mineral & Gem Society nominates William Hayes as our Education Through Sharing Award Recipient. 68-year-old William Hayes is, hands down, the number-one go-to-guy at the LBMGS workshop. His exuberant humor and enthusiasm, coupled with an extensive knowledge in the lapidary arts and techniques, earns Bill top honors as our LBMGS Rockhound of the Year. Not only the single-most knowledgeable stone worker in our organization, he also qualifies, most would agree, as the club's gifted guru. His thorough, extensive lapidary talents, developed over a span of years beginning in the 1960s, is graciously passed on to anyone who indicates even the hint of an interest. One is hard-pressed to find anyone in LBMGS who has not acquired skills under Bill's tutelage, or who is better loved.
On behalf of the Rockatomics Gem & Mineral Society, Vice President Gordon Ralph happily recommends Gary Levitt as our outstanding Rockhound of the Year. Gary has used his leadership to organize field trips for rock hunters in various rock clubs. He is currently a member of three different clubs and helps these clubs share their activities. He is happy to share his experience with the newbies in the club and frequently makes arrangements for our club programs. As if this isn’t enough, Gary is also in charge of planning of our tailgate show. Rockatomics salutes Gary Levitt as our Rockhound of the Year.
Every rockhound that has collected on BLM or Forest Service land has come upon claim markers and wondered “what should I do now?” Are they old or new? Is the claim active? May I/should I enter? May I collect? Well we got the answers at the “What Rockhounds Need to Know About Claims” seminar given by Dr Gregg Wilkerson from the Bakersfield BLM District Office. This seminar was hosted by the Contra Costa M&GS on Saturday, March 21, 2009 in Pittsburg, CA. We had a good turn out of forty five rockhounds from northern California that attended this very informative seminar. The cost of the seminar was $5.00 which includes coffee and sweet goods, and a lunch of hot dogs with all of the trimmings, chips and a beverage. Eleven CCM&GS members attended and a Big Thank You to those that helped with set-up, clean-up and in the kitchen.
Gregg Wilkerson is a geologist in the Bakersfield Field Office. He performs geologic and hydrologic research and investigations for resource management as Program Team Leader and BLM Certified Mineral Examiner. His duties involve mineral appraisals, land exchanges, conveyances, mineral sales and leases, wilderness withdrawals, mining claim occupancy trespass, surface use determinations, CERCLA removal or remediation, water quality remediation, and hazardous abandoned mine closures. Gregg is technical advisor to the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History in and has mapped and described fossil deposits throughout California. He also leads the BLM Geologic Field Trips throughout California in association with the Buena Vista Museum.
Gregg gave broad, detailed coverage of claim processes and procedures. What we learned:
So what’s next? Gregg has already been contacted by some southern California societies to present a similar seminar. Hopefully, one can be schedule in the near future. Next we need to get more info about club claims. There are proposals in Congress for major revisions to the Mining Act that could eliminate the claim process as soon as 2010. We need to act now. I would like to hear from all societies who have or had a society claim: Who has one? Contact info for the person responsible for the claim? What has been your experience? This needs to be done sooner than later. If your society has or had a claim, please e-mail or send me this information. Within the year (the sooner, the better) we need to have a seminar/meeting with societies that have a claim and those societies that want or might want to have a claim. We will also identify suitable sites and identify insurance and liability issues.
Hi Hounders! WOW! What a turnout! I didn't know so many of you were interested in fossils. 90 people signed in for this trip to the Miocene marine fossil beds outside of Bakersfield. They came from one end of California to the other and a few from Nevada. After orientation, sign-in and precaution speeches, we broke off to begin our uphill hike to the fossil trenches on two hillsides. The day was partly cloudy and mild--a great day for digging and sifting.
In spite of a 6-foot-long Northern Pacific rattlesnake basking in the sun while coiled in one of the trenches, everyone I saw was having fun and finding bones and teeth from a wide variety of extinct mako sharks and 6-gilled cow shark, including a very large tooth from a Big-Tooth Mako at least 3 inches in length. I swore I heard the theme from "JAWS" echoing through the hills. Many more people found teeth from the Hook-Tooth Mako (found now only in this one area of the world). Other teeth I saw were from seals, porpoises, and rays. Some finds I couldn't identify. Among the bones found were whale and fish vertebrae, ribs, clavicles, and a nice 2-inch finger bone in excellent shape from the flipper of a whale or sea lion. Yes, a very productive day.
Thankfully, this isn't government land with its fossil regulations but real estate land still open, for now to recreation, collecting and livestock grazing. The downside is this area is slated for homes, mini malls and gas stations. Thus, will close one of the richest Miocene marine fossil beds in the world. A sign of the times. Following are what some of our participants had to say about the day's adventure…
From Bob: Wow! What a great turnout. I took my grandsons and they had a blast. Their names are Nathan and Timmy and they found a rattlesnake along with a lot of bone and teeth. They didn't mind all the digging and with help from Scott and Family, Shep, and a couple of wonderful ladies, they found lots of teeth and learned where and how to dig proper. My boys loved it so much they want to join the club and go hounding with me. Thanks to all of you for a very special day.
From Leo: Thank you very much, Shep, for hosting the dig at Ant Hill. Carol and I had a great time and hope to go back again, perhaps with our kids. We found shark teeth and some bones that were very interesting. Attached is a picture of what I am pretty sure are vertebrae. They were all in a close line of concretions. At the end of the line was a larger concretion that may be a head/skull. It was exciting to find it though I am not sure what it really is. If it is a skull it seems a bit small given the size of the vertebrae. What do you think? I am reluctant to chip any thing off of it and would welcome any suggestions you have. Also, do you have any suggestions on how best to preserve the bones to keep them from shattering or falling apart over time? Great Thanks!
From rocknspector: This trip turned out great. There was plenty of room for everybody and fossils, too. The weather was great and wild flowers were an added attraction. It was nice to be with a big group to see that the sharks teeth were plentiful for each to find some. Plus, the guy next to me pulled out one of the largest mako shark teeth I have ever seen. I missed getting a picture of it, but have posted my pictures here for others to see and even add theirs to the album too.
From Kim Noyes: Everybody! Check out my blog of the Ant Hill trip: http://eclecticarcania.blogspot.com/2009/03/march-2009-ant-hill-cfms-field-trip.html
The day started out beautifully as 18 vehicles of all types containing 45 rockhounders met in Ludlow for the April 25 field trip to Lavic Siding to hunt for some of the Mojave’s most stunning jasper. The spring weather was perfect, except for the wind. Everyone met in Ludlow, and after orientation, waiver sign-ins, and samples being examined, we caravanned toward Pisgah Crater on old Route 66 to pick up the railroad maintenance road to head back east toward Lavic Road and the jasper fields. As we neared the collecting area, we headed down a sandy wash, and that’s when the excitement started. We had two trucks stuck in the sand! We were so close, we decided to go rockhounding and come back to get the vehicles unstuck.
Everyone worked together and we carpooled anyone without 4x4 drive with the more able trucks. We had a great time! The wind died down around the area, and we were able to enjoy our hunting. We collected a few hours and found nice jaspers, with plenty to go around in all forms! We found them in brecciated, ribbon, flow patterns veined with chalcedony in blacks, blues and whites and coated with druzies. The jasper was found in every shade of the rainbow and most was multi-hued, from tumble-sized pieces to small watermelons. We found them as float on hilltops and ravines. If we spent all month doing this, we couldn't have collected all we saw. Also found were smaller opal pieces of creams and pinks, as well as dendritic agates and some pale Mojave blues.
After we got the group back together, we headed back to the stuck vehicles. A few of the guys got together and towed the trucks back to the road. Afterwards, many left to head home, but others continued on for other material the Cady Mountain area has to offer. Some headed for agate seams along Broadwell Dry Lake or along Power Line Road for other jaspers, agates and calcite rhombs of all sizes. All-in-all, it was a great day with little incident, no snakes, lots of shared companionship, and only a couple trucks stuck in sand! Now on to May's Great Onyx Hunt! Best wishes and better agates!
From Joyce Warhank: What a rejuvenating day I just spent in the desert out by Ludlow, California! There is a volcanic crater that has created some spectacular scenery. The harsh conditions and quiet solitude completely took me out of my chaotic daily life. I went out there with my friend Adam Dean and his fiancée Teresa Felix and a group of Rockhounds. Not knowing any of the other people added even more to my day. It gave me a sense of humanity, because of the camaraderie and common purpose. We even had some excitement when some of the vehicles got stuck in the sand. It made me proud of my friend and some of the other men as they rescued the trapped vehicles. What heroes, made out of the same stuff as the Captains of the plane and ship in recent news. Thank you for a great day!
Here's the latest on the upcoming tourmaline hunt. All 50 spots are filled, so submissions from here on will be on a standby list. First-submitted/first-served.
Saturday, June 6, 10am, Oceanview Mine. All CFMS members will meet by the gate at 10am to sign waivers and match reservations with sign-in sheets. Please keep together. Directions to the mine are on their web site: www.digforgems.com. This trip includes a short mine tour and special raffle for Federation members of this group to include 5 faceted tourmalines and 1 butterfly tourmaline set in silver provided by the mine owners. We will abide by all mine rules since this is a private mine. Mine times are 10:30 am - 3 pm. Cost (cash only) is $60 per person 12 and older, under 12, $50 per child.
Sunday, June 7, 10am, Himalaya Mine. All Federation members please keep together as the above sign-in procedures will be followed. Directions to the mine are on their web site www.highdesertgemsandminerals.com. This trip is discounted to $40 per adult, $20 per child 12-15 and under 12 free. MC, VISA or cash.
All payments are to be made to the mines at time of arrival. Again, sign-in names will be matched against the reservation list. Please let me know if you are doing both mines or only one (which). Also, will each individual in your party be screening on their own or sharing screening with other party members? This does not affect cost but does affect availability.
Where To Stay: it seems most will be staying at the Lake Henshaw Resort (details on the Himalaya web site). Cabin reservations are required but RVs & tents are first-come, first-served. Others will be staying at resorts, hotels or commuting. It has come to my attention that the Pala Resort rates skyrocket for June.
I must get reservations or change confirmations by May 10. Remember, these are both private mines and businesses, and we will adhere by their rules. We are merely coordinating this field trip to obtain whatever advantages we can as CFMS members, but the mines set the rules and regulations.
Finally, while the following is not an officially CFMS sponsored trip, it is nonetheless a special trip well worth making the effort to attend. Here are details, as reported by Ray Ramirez. Lone Pine Gem & Mineral Society's 13th annual day-trip to Cero Gordo mine will take place on Saturday, June 27. We will meet 8:00 am at the Lone Pine Chevron station south of town. Everyone attending will sign in and pay a $10 fee that will go toward the mine owners' restoration of Cerro Gordo ghost town. The mine is open to collecting only one day each year, so this is a special opportunity for all CFMS members and their guests. Cerro Gordo was primarily a silver mine in the 1870s and a zinc mine around 1911. The mine is at an elevation of 8,000 feet, so plan accordingly. The site has a small museum to explore. The old American Hotel is under restoration, and the town has many other small buildings and mill site to look at though they won't be open. Collecting will be in old tailings and we will look primarily for smithsonite and associated copper and lead minerals. Cerro Gordo is noted for over 49 minerals. High-clearance vehicles are recommended, with low gearing for the last 15 miles of the trip, which takes about 45 minutes from Lone Pine. This road is steep but well graded. Tools to bring: small hand rake, spray bottle, small shovel, rock pick or hammer, collecting bag or bucket, sturdy boots, sunscreen, hat, and plenty of drinking water. I (Ray Ramirez) will be the contact for our club and can contacted via e-mail (email@example.com) or phone (760-872-0624) for any questions. There are a few campgrounds in and around Lone Pine as well as many hotels and motels.
And one last note from Field Trips - South. Due to the summer heat, no trips are planned for July or August. Watch the August newsletter for trips to resume in September!
- Adam & Shep
The 2009 Annual CFMS Show & Convention is over, and what a show it was! I had heard all the great things about June Harris and what she and her fellow Santa Clara society members do with and for kids during their annual show, but I have to admit that I was totally blown away to see their efforts in action. Whenever I wasn’t tied up in meetings, I don't think I saw a single moment throughout the three days of the show when there wasn't a group of school kids or kids in scouting uniforms filing through the gate and heading toward the exhibit hall. June's organization of educational booths and packets, each tailored for specific groups, be they Webelos, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc., was nothing short of phenomenal. Kudos, June, to you and members of your committee!
Finally, during the show, I talked with members of the CFMS Juniors Activities committee, and soon, that “menu” I’ve been promising of kids show ideas will be appearing on the CFMS web site. That menu has been significantly enhanced by what we all saw in San Jose!
The massive lands package commonly referred to as the Omnibus Public Lands Bill was reintroduced in Congress, passed both houses, and signed into law by the President on March 30. Among many other things, it converts more than 2 million acres into wilderness, including BLM-administered lands in California (34,000 acres in the eastern Sierra now designated as Granite Mountain Wilderness, 23,000 acres added to the White Mountain Wilderness, 26 miles of the Amargosa River designated as wild and scenic, 84,000 acres in Riverside County, etc.). A new “protected areas” database has been recently released; for info about it, see: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2201 This has been called “the most significant withdraw of public land law in at least 15 years.” We’ll be keeping tabs and assessing fallout from this massive government package that bundled together 170 different bills. Also, the battle is not over. Note that Sens. Boxer and Feinstein are promoting more legislation that would affect more California public lands, such as a proposed Mojave Desert Wilderness bill that would designate still more wilderness in San Bernardino, Imperial, and Riverside counties.
Despite his earlier vote in favor of the Omnibus Lands Bill, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has introduced a new, more rockhound-friendly bill in the Senate that, if passed, would revoke authority given to the Forest Service in 2004 to institute new fees and increase existing fees at campgrounds, trailheads, and other public areas. The bill is S868, The Fee Repeal Act & Expanded Access Act of 2009, and has currently been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Baucus is joined in his crusade by bill co-sponsors Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Jon Tester (D-MT). To find out more about the bill, go to this web site:http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-868 Though this bill will not preserve or allow us to get access to rock collecting areas that have been withdrawn, it will make it less expensive to visit areas that we can still access for our hobby. Please help get the word out if you can and make your opinion on this known to your respective Senators and Congressmen. Thank you for your time and consideration.
The Omnibus Public Lands Bill included the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (PRPA), which the Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists (SVP) has been pushing for 18 years. There have been many rumors and uncertainties about what is in this bill and how it will affect amateurs collecting on public lands. The following is from a statement by the SVP Government Affairs Committee: The “…Act codifies the existing practice of requiring that vertebrate fossils and other rare and scientifically significant fossils be collected only by qualified researchers who obtain a permit. Permittees must agree to deposit the fossils in public institutions, which will ensure their future availability to researchers and the public. The PRPA strengthens penalties and acts as a deterrent for illegal collecting activity. The PRPA greatly benefits amateur paleontologists. For instance, the BLM and Forest Service have been allowing casual collecting of common plant and invertebrate fossils for many years, but without specific statutory authority from Congress. This activity could have been taken away at any time. However, the PRPA ensures amateurs can continue to pursue their hobby on BLM and Forest Service lands. The Savings Provision specifies that, ‘nothing contained in the Act shall apply to, or require a permit for, casual collecting of a rock, mineral or invertebrate or plant fossil that is not protected under this Act.’ Over the years there has been an abundance of misinformation regarding the PRPA. Please note that the PRPA DOES NOT: 1. Affect Private lands or Indian lands in any way. 2. Prosecute anyone for misidentifying a fossil unless that misidentification is made in association with a knowing criminal violation of the PRPA. 3. Interfere with rock collecting. 4. Restrict access to those who do not have a Ph.D. 5. Interfere with mining on federal land. 6. Create restrictions for public lands access.” That, anyway, is what the SVP (the promoters of the bill) are saying. So far as I can tell, petrified wood, plant, and invertebrate fossils are exempt for amateur commercial collection. We’ll keep you posted with updates as the bill gets implemented and specific regulations start taking affect.
We finally have great news to report in efforts to preserve access to our public lands! CFMS Public Lands Advisory-North Committee Chair, Norvie Enns has been selected to represent the public-at-large on the BLM’s Northeast California Advisory Council (RAC). The following announcement was posted to the BLM web site: Mr. Enns “has served 7 years on a subgroup of the Northeast California-Sierra Front BLM RACs, helping to develop the management plan for the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area. He is a member of the Reno Gem & Mineral Society and the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies, where he has served 17 years on the public lands access committee. In addition to the public at large representation, he would bring to the RAC knowledge of gemology and mineralogy, commonly called rock hounding, a popular pursuit in northeast California and northwest Nevada.” Congratulations, Norvie!
In March I put a challenge out to all clubs and individuals to consider creating or purchasing a CD/VHS/DVD to support our CFMS Library. I would like to thank Richard Pankey for keeping the CFMS Library in mind on one of his outings. He donated a CD-ROM on California Gold Mines. It contains 300 scanned black-and-white photographs from the DGM library collection. The photographs, which span over 100 years, depict California Gold Mines, Mining Techniques and Mining Equipment as well as a California historic Gold Mines Map. This CD is compatible with Windows 3.1, 95, or NT. To order “California Gold Mines,” please use CD-12.
I've received great ideas if you are considering creating a DVD/VHS. Yuma R&MS suggests programs on “Gemstones: Their History, Where They Are Found & Characteristics.” El Dorado County M&GS suggests programs on “Quartzsite & Tucson” and “Camp Paradise & ZZYZX.”
Since January 2009 we have had 23 requests from participating clubs for programs. The CFMS Library is a great source of programs for monthly meetings or lapidary classes. We have over 150 VHS, 30 DVD’S and 12 CD-ROM.
I have been reviewing some of the programs and am more than willing to assist Program Directors on finding the right program for your presentation. I ask for requests 30 days in advance of your program to issuer delivery. However, we are here for the program directors/clubs and are more than willing to accommodate rush deliveries when possible. The best way to reach me for quick delivery is by phone (530-327-7927). Or write me at 13586 Andover Magalia, CA 95954.
We had 24 cases in competition at the 2009 CFMS Show & Convention, and we're pleased to report the following trophies awarded:
We also acknowledge all who entered but didn't win a trophy. Your displays were excellent, and we hope you'll consider the judges' comments and re-enter them in future competition.
There was not a lot of competition in any one Division or Class, except in Education. This shows great diversity of disciplines gaining excellence. Several competitors in Novice and Advanced scored very well and will compete in Masters very soon. Overall, we were pleased with how the competition went, except that we didn't have enough Clerks to go around. We made do, but we need to see more Clerks next year. Some, hopefully, will become Learning Judges. We want to thank all Judges and Clerks for their efforts and say, "Job well done!"
We hope to see all these cases at the Combined CFMS/AFMS show at La Habra next year (if not at Billings, MT, in July!). All who scored a 90+ as a Master automatically will be an AFMS direct entry. Anyone who scored in the Novice and Advanced will have to re-enter the CFMS as a Master, and hopefully if they score 90+, they'll fly up to the AFMS competition to be judged a second time. Anyone who scored 90+ as a Master since our 2000 show, is eligible to enter AFMS Direct, unless you won an AFMS Trophy at Roswell, New Mexico in 2007.
Application forms for CFMS/AFMS competitive exhibits will be put out in late August (after the AFMS show in Billings, Montana, is completed). We will see that both the CFMS Newsletter and web site have these forms. Contact Dee at either email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, with questions about competitive exhibits, and he’ll walk you through it. We're very proud of the Santa Clara Valley society, the CFMS, and all its members for the excellent show and competition.
- Dee & Tom
On behalf of the CFMS Scholarship Committee, I am proud to introduce this year's Honorees and Students. It takes a thoughtful club to nominate a special person whom they feel has made great contributions toward furthering the purposes and goals of CFMS. These special people are called the Honorees. These Honorees take part in selecting a college or university of their choice in the field of the Earth Sciences and Jewelry/Lapidary Arts.
June Harris was nominated by Santa Clara Valley GMS - June is known for her great work with Junior rockhounds. For the last two years she has created programs in which 2,000 juniors attended. June selected student Kimi Matsushima, University of the Pacific, Stockton, who is majoring in geology with a 3.92 grade point average.
Preston Bingham was nominated by Sequoia GMS. He has held just about every job a club offers and is considered "the glue" that holds their club together. Preston selected University of San Diego in Lapidary/Jewelry Arts. At this time, the committee is still working with the university in exploring a student.
Rock Currier of Jewel Tunnel Imports was nominated by Mineralogical Society of Southern California. Without his efforts to recover specimens and lapidary material from remote areas of the world, our hobby would have missed out on some great treasures, adventure stories, and incredible exhibits at our shows. Rock selected student Shayda Nilojoo, Cal State University, Fullerton, who came highly recommend by the Department of Geological Sciences. Her professor thinks she has discovered two new uranium minerals!
This year, unlike others, we were able to give two Diedrick Scholarships to students at Stanford University. We'd particularly like to congratulate Contra Costa Mineral & Gem for their excellent hard work and donations helping make this possible. Student Nate Levine is studying Geomorphology of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Tibetan Plateau, a relationship between uplift and erosion. With a grade point average of 3.95, he wants to go into Geological Engineering. Student Valentina Fontiveros is studying the structure of Surprise Valley in NE California using seismic reflection methods, the reflection between faults and geothermal system. She is a graduate in Geological & Environmental Sciences and Geophysics.
In sharing these many accomplishments with the clubs, Honorees and students this year, my wish is that all of you will take this information back to your members and even write in your bulletins about the value of this CFMS program and continue to support this scholarship fund on a yearly basis.
A reminder: the IRS asks small tax-exempt organizations to file their annual electronic informational return by May 15. While that deadline may be here and gone by the time you read this, there are generally no penalties assessed for late filings, so if you haven't filed already, you should do so right away.
In the May 6 issue of the online IRS Newswire, the IRS noted this is the second year of the new requirement for tax-exempt organizations whose gross annual receipts are normally $25,000 or less to file Form 990-N, also known as e-Postcards. The May 15 deadline applies to all small organizations whose tax year ends December 31. Organizations whose tax year is different from the calendar year must file the e-Postcard by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of their tax year. The IRS notes that organizations failing to file for 3 consecutive years automatically lose tax-exempt status. The e-Postcard must be filed online; there is no paper option. More information and a link to the e-Postcard can be found on IRS.gov.
CFMS just completed its annual show and meeting hosted by the Santa Clara Valley G&MS. It was a great show. And there was something else there this year: a meeting of the American Land Access Association. Typically ALAA holds one meeting a year, always in conjunction with the AFMS Show and Meeting. So this is something new for ALAA. The meeting followed the Directors’ meeting and lasted about an hour and a half. We had good attendance and a lot of interest. 28 people attended including Vice President Shirley Leeson, Directors Bill Burns, Ruth Bailey and Dee Holland, web masters John and Suzy Martin and me. About half in the group were ALAA members; the other half wanted to be.
The main purpose of the meeting was to create interest in ALAA and recruit new/more individual and societal members. The objective was to introduce ALAA – What we are, what we do and how we do it. The ALAA slogan: “Protecting the Public Lands for the Public,” pretty much says what we do. The purpose of the Association is to promote and ensure the rights of amateur fossil and mineral collecting, recreational prospecting and mining, and the use of public and private lands for educational and recreational purposes; and to carry the voice of all amateur collectors and hobbyists to our elected officials, government regulators and public land managers. Involving people is what we do and how we do it. ALAA promotes legislation, responds to legislative proposals, participates in the legislative process and participates in the land management process. To accomplish these goals we attend meetings, get to know officials and get involved, and write letters and e-mails.
Shirley Leeson gave us the background and history of ALAA. In 1991, the President of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies appointed a select committee to recommend ways to make the Federation more effectively responsive to the political challenges of increasing regulation and decreasing access to public lands that State and Federal Land Management agencies were imposing on amateur fossil and mineral collectors. The committee recommended that the AFMS form a separate 501(c)(4) organization whose primary purpose would be to promote the amateur collectors' interests in present and proposed policies, rules, regulations and legislation with State and Federal land managers, elected officials and legislators. In compliance with that recommendation, the AFMS directors voted to establish the American Lands Access Association (ALAA) in July 1992 at their convention in Brunswick, Ohio. The Association is a 501 (c)(4) (non-profit) organization which means that all moneys raised by the association can go toward lobbying activity.
Dee Holland talked about the Blue Ribbon Coalition and our association with it. The Blue Ribbon Coalition is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preserving responsible recreational access to public lands and waters. We want to keep your land open for use, whether you recreate on a mountain bike, snowmobile, motorcycle, personal watercraft, ATV, four-wheeler, horse, or your hiking boots. Today, the Blue Ribbon Coalition is a respected national recreation group that represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. ALAA joined the BRC in 2006. The BRC has an outstanding system to monitor legislative and regulatory activity and an e-mail alert system to notify its members and call them to action.
Our webmasters John and Suzy Martin talked about the ALAA web site and plans for the future. The web site is extremely important because it can provide instant information and respond to rapid changes with the legislative or regulatory process. Our web site provides an easy way to let the public and interested people know about us and what we are doing.
We concluded the meeting by inviting individuals and societies to become members of ALAA, get involved, and participate in our efforts. The easiest way to become a member is to get an application off the web site or out of the AFMS Newsletter. Several people had questions about the affect of society membership on a society’s tax exempt status. Mike Kokinos, the CFMS Tax Advisor, told me that the subject of lobbying is very complex. Being a member of ALAA would be so insignificant it would not affect charitable exemptions. The law does not prohibit membership in ALAA by a charitable organization. Mike is going to research and will write an article addressing this.
I am personally inviting every society, in every Federation to join The American Land Access Association. The yearly dues for a society are only $50.00. I invite them to not only join but to get involved and participate in the process to keep our public lands open to the public. I am also inviting all individuals who believe and support the purpose and objectives of ALAA to join as an individual member and become involved and active. Individual membership is $25.00 per year. For more information about ALAA go to our web site www.amlands.org
This was the first meeting of ALAA at a Regional Federation meeting. I encourage ALAA directors and interested members in other federations to hold a meeting to introduce and promote ALAA during their federation meeting. Contact me with questions and for details for holding a meeting of ALAA.
With your help, ideas interest and participation ALAA will have the strength and the voice to accomplish our purpose of “Protecting the Public Lands for the Public.”
Finally, a couple of weeks ago I received the following article written by a rockhound from Georgia. He first contacted me in early February. We have exchanged e-mails, had telephone conversations and he has provided me with other information regarding collecting in Georgia National Forests and the charges against him and his fiancé. I have begun collecting rockhounding/collecting regulations and information from BLM and FS offices around the country. So far much of the information is sketchy and vague. Written regulation and pamphlets most often don't exist. What I have found out is that although the laws allows for collecting on BLM and FS land, each district can establish their own management plan based on their interpretation of the law and the ranger/enforcement officer enforces the management plan based upon their interpretation. And these vary widely! So we have undocumented, inconsistent regulations enforced by people based upon their ideas and agendas, so THIS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.
On November 1, 2008 my fiancé Dori and I were criminally charged with collecting staurolites on U.S. Forest Service land. Local collectors have been going to this location to collect staurolites for over 30 years. Our friends Tonya and Barry informed us of the location in Blue Ridge. We visited this area four times in summer and fall 2008. The staurolites we found on the surface were mostly poor quality. However, just a few inches under the surface using a scraper we found much better quality ones. We used hand tools including a scraper and a small pick. I feel we were very careful not to damage the site. We did not dig more than 6 or 7 inches and completely filled in our holes and raked the dirt to ensure the site looked undisturbed.
On November 1, 2008, "Officer T" of the USFS approached us. We did not attempt to hide ourselves because we had no idea we were doing anything wrong. He stated he had set up a video camera at the site and had been watching us. This was very alarming to us. I assured him if he had approached us that first time and explained that the Forest Service did not wish us to collect here we would have politely left and never returned. He will attest to the fact that we were cooperative. He even complimented us stating we were “not like most of the individuals he deals with”.
Officer T approached us and asked us what we were looking for. We told him we were looking for staurolites. He did not know what staurolites were but informed us we needed a mining permit to dig for any type of mineral. He told us any staurolites we find are government property. Next he confiscated our scraping tools, knapsack and bucket. He separated us and read me my Miranda rights. At this point he asked me if I would allow federal agents to search my home in Rome for any other federal property. When I said no, my interview was over. Evidently he tried to obtain a search warrant but was unsuccessful. Officer T repeatedly inquired as to whether we sold rocks. I told him I have never sold minerals and staurolites have only intrinsic value. In the past there have been locations in Blue Ridge (Hackney Farm) that have allowed individuals to collect a bucket of them for $5.00.
On January 11, 2009, Officer T gave us a courtesy call. He stated we are being charged criminally with 261.9(a) destroying a natural feature or property of the United States ($250 fine) and 261.9(b) removing a natural feature or property of the United States ($250 fine). These are criminal misdemeanor offenses and can result in a criminal record. I strongly feel the section we are being charged under is both vague and does not address the important point that we were collecting minerals. Mineral collecting is generally allowed on most U.S. Forest Service lands including public domain lands and acquired lands. Unfortunately, each individual Forest Service can now make the rules (on acquired lands) dictating the rules for rockhounding and Georgia has one of the most restrictive policies. Under this charge it appears we are vandals or even worse thieves. I told Officer T I was considering going to court. 5 days later when I received my ticket it had doubled to $500 for each offense for a total of $2000.
In conclusion, I feel strongly we took utmost care to treat this land with care. We spent at least 15-20 minutes each time to leave the ground looking undisturbed. I feel the National Forest Service in Georgia is treating mineral collectors like criminals. Mineral collecting has in the past been considered a wholesome and educational activity. In other states the USFS has been much more responsive to working with mineral collectors and even encourages collecting. I am saddened that the National Forest Service in Georgia is now considering it a criminal offense. Thank-you for the time you spend considering this matter.
ALAA (American Lands Access Association), the lobbying wing (501C-4) recognized by the AFMS, invites you to attend their business meeting in Billings, MT, during the AFMS/NFMS show and convention, July 30 - August 2. The meeting will be 3-5:00 PM, Sat., Aug. 2, in the Cottonwood Room, Holiday Inn Grand. Featured speaker will be Greg Mumm of Blue Ribbon Coalition, the National Organization that is fighting to keep roads open on Federal Lands. Also attending will be our Canadian friends who are experiencing similar collecting problems in their Provinces.
Please plan to attend. Your voice and thoughts are needed! You need not be a member of ALAA to attend, but we hope you will go away a member.
NOTE: There will a "Cracker Barrel" (hosted by Billings G&MC) on Fri., July 31, in the Missouri Room, Holiday Inn Grand, where a discussion on collecting on both side of the Canadian and American border will be discussed with our Canadian friends. Please plan to attend.
The Billings Gem & Mineral club would like to personally invite you to the national AFMS/NFMS Show and Convention this July in Billings, Montana. We have planned many special events and programs to make your stay in Montana something you will always remember. Come spend your vacation in our state and visit Dinosaur County, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Dig sapphires in western Montana, amethyst scepters at Crystal Park, or join us in the many field trips after the show. The convention center is fully air conditioned for your comfort during your meetings and stay at the show. We have dealers from 13 different states with an unbelievable variety of material, something for everyone.
Our goal is to have 185-200 exhibits from around the U.S., so spread the word and/or invite someone you know who has something special. We already have a moon rock from NASA, an Ice Age cave bear, a T. rex skull, the famous Food Table, Yogo sapphires, rubies, a 27-ounce gold nugget, and world-class Fairburn, Teepee Canyon, Montana, Laguna, and Argentine agates. Also, fabulous carvings by our featured master carver, Robert Sohli, and fluorescent exhibits. So dig out that special exhibit you have, clean off the dust and bring it to share with others.
Over the past few years, there has been a decline in the number of competitive exhibits at regional and national shows. I would like to ask each of you in each of your regional federations to reach out and ask each club to sponsor a competitive exhibit. If every club in the U.S. sponsored, cultivated, worked with one person, helping them perfect a skill, image what we would have in several years! I don’t see the club doing the exhibit; rather, I see several elders or experts in the club taking a member under their wing and helping them to understand the rules and guiding them through the process to help build confidence. When they have those tools, they will be off-and-running!
So pack your bags, grab some trade items and your exhibit, and head for the North Country! Here are the details: July 30–Aug. 2, 2009. 10am–6pm, Thurs.–Sat.; 10am–5pm, Sunday. Tickets $5 each (2-day pass, $8; 4-day pass, $15; children under 12 free with adult). Dealers, demonstrations, educational displays, silent and live gem and rock auctions, and a full week of field trips after the show for Bear Canyon Black & White Fortification Agate, Montana Agate, petrified wood, agatized coral, jaspers, fossil fig leaves and pine cones, Pierre Shale ammonites, and more! For details and further info, check the AFMS web site (www.amfed.org; click on “AFMS/NFMS Convention & Show”), or email me (Doug True) at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at (406) 670-0506.