Vol. XXXVIII, No. 5 --- May 2001

CFMS Newsletter

Table of Contents

President's Message
Stone Canyon Field Trip
Attention All Committee Chairs
Education thru Sharing
Miles Smith in Memoriam
CFMS Scholarship Follow-Up
CFMS Endowment Fund
Reminder - Federation Insurance Chair
What's in a Lead Pencil?
How to Build a Club Website
2001Earth Science Studies - Camp Paradise
Safety Part 1 - Barbecue Safety
Benefits of CFMS Membership
What is Our Hobby About
Are You Saving Canceled Stamps?
Secrets of Mineral Identification
A Note from Your Editor
Coming to Your Federation Program Library
Seminar Junior Activities Report - The Rock Lady
Safety Part 2 - Be a Life Saver
Happy Hours, Potlucks, Campfires
Obsidian Bonanza Activities


By Bob Stultz, CFMS President
CFMS President

    We have good news for the California Federation this month! A bid has been received and accepted by your Executive Board for the 2003 CFMS/AFMS Show and Convention. This will be hosted by the Del-Air Rockhounds Club from the San Fernando Valley, and they will be using the Ventura County Fairgrounds for this event. I know there are other clubs who have been thinking of hosting a Federation Show, and I hope they will consider looking at the 2004 Show and beyond.

    On March 17, the Reno Gem & Mineral Society hosted an Exhibitors workshop, where there were approximately 40 people in attendance. There was a lot of interest shown by those attending the Workshop, with many questions asked and a great deal of open discussion between the speakers and the guests. Thank you very much, "Over The Hill Gang". It was a job well done.

    Don't forget, we have another workshop coming up on May 26. This will be on "How to Build a Club Website", hosted by the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club. Information and a registration form were in the April Newsletter. I hope many of you will be able to attend.

    To bring you up to date on what is happening regarding our meeting location in Visalia, we are having a problem with the management of the Holiday Inn. We will meet there this November, and then we should take a look at what we are going to do in future years. The new management has required a $500 deposit, which we have never had to provide before. Also, we will not be able to bring refreshments in for the Friday night social and Saturday morning meeting. After the banquet, we will not be able to bring our own refreshments to the reception for the newly installed President and officers if we use the Walnut Room. This will have to be held in our hotel rooms, as it used to be done. The only thing they haven't taken away from us at this point is the camping privileges.

    Are there any clubs between Modesto and Bakersfield who would be willing to look at other locations that might be available? If you would bring the information to the Friday night Cracker Barrel at Paso Robles, we can discuss the possibilities and choices we may have.

    Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers in our societies and clubs.

Saturday, June 23, 2001

By Steve Ivie,
CFMS Field Trip South Chair

    We have been working to set up a trip into Stone Canyon again this year to coincide with the CFMS show in Paso Robles. This last week I received confirmation that we can hold the trip. The trip will be a one-day event during the Paso Robles show, on Saturday the 23rd. The trip is co-sponsored by the Santa Lucia Rockhounds and the CFMS. Paid attendance to the show is a pre-requisite for attending the field trip. The cost for the show is $4.00 Adults, $3.00 under 18 & over 55, and free under 12 and scouts in uniform. To attend the field trip, you must also belong to a CFMS member club or come as a guest of a CFMS member club. The material is the same as last year - some of the best Brecciated Jasper around! The material is very colorful and takes a glasslike polish. The rancher is asking the same fee as last year, which is $25.00 minimum, and that gets you 50 lbs. of the material. Any additional material is at a cost of .50 cents per pound. You must bring CASH, as the rancher does not want checks. The rancher is planning to take a bulldozer to the location we dug last year and bring up fresh material between now and the trip.

    We will be meeting at the Fairgrounds in Paso Robles, located at 2198 Riverside Ave. We will be assembling in the parking lot across from the show at 7:30 a.m. I will probably be there by 7:00am. You will need to sign a waiver. We will leave the fairgrounds PROMPTLY at 8:00am to caravan to Parkfield. We will have tickets to the show available to those who have not yet attended the show. I want to stress a few things prior to the trip to make sure everyone is prepared.

    Last year there were over 200 people who attended this field trip, and as we lined up to drive in the morning of the show, I had some people in the back of the line of 100 cars actually leave. I can only suppose they thought that being at the back, they would have no chance to get any good material. Also, people were getting upset as to who was going to get in first and where they were in line. Everyone who attended the field trip got as much as they wanted, and it was all top quality. It is a very good possibility that this trip, too, will have a lot of attendance, even being called so late. The main thing is, even if you're the last person in line, it is going to be great and you'll get the same quality material that the first person gets. Ralph Bishop pulled one of the best pieces of the day out last year after 95% of the people had left. Be patient, be courteous, (That's why we were invited back this year-we were so well behaved that the rancher was impressed by us), BE SAFE, and get great material. We will be working in close quarters so safety is a must. If you ignore safety, you will be asked to leave. This is also rattlesnake season and this is rattlesnake country. You must stay in the collecting area. People will not be allowed to wander off. Also, we expect that the area will be under extreme fire danger.

    The Santa Lucia Rockhounds will be supplying a couple of canopies for shade, and water for people to drink. If you plan on coming, safety glasses or goggles, gloves, hat, long pants and sunscreen are mandatory. I recommended a long sleeve shirt last year because this material is like razors when broken, and when it is hit with a hammer, the shards can become airborne and cut quite easily. But it will be very hot, so it is your choice. Bring a hammer, chisel, shovel, and buckets for your material. Bring plenty of fluids and a lunch.

    High profile vehicles ARE needed, although it is not necessary that they be 4-wheel drive. This is a working cattle ranch, which means no animals are allowed. We recommend that children do not attend unless they are members of the club and are planning to collect material. All people who attend the trip will be charged the $25.00 fee by the rancher.

    Please!! This is a classic location that very few people have been allowed into in the last 30 years. We are being allowed back because of our good behavior last year. Let's show them again how orderly we can be, and this kind of trip can keep happening.

    In the next few days, I will be posting this trip on the CFMS website (http://www.cfmsinc.org), so by the time you get this you should check the site for any further details. If you plan on going, please drop me an Email @ sivie@gte.net Thanks.

All Committee Chairs

By Pat La Rue

    The deadline for items to be included in the Directors' packets for Paso Robles is May 15. Why so early, you ask? I plan to leave for the AFMS Convention &' Show in Arlington, Texas during the early part of June and won't be returning until just before we hold our CFMS Convention &' Show.

    All items for the packets must be duplicated and ready to stuff in the envelopes before I leave. If you are unable to get items requiring duplication to me by that time, you can bring them to the Show. I recommend 100 copies for distribution to the directors in attendance.

    If you have not yet returned your Officer Change form, it is still not too late. These will be accepted right up to the time I prepare the final master copy of the Roster for the printer. But time is growing short. Your club will still be listed in the Roster. However, only your club name and address will be published. Thanks for your help.


By Colleen McGann, Chair

    One more month before the CFMS show in Paso Robles, and time for my half year report. So far I have received more nominations than I had this time last year, and I am excited. My message to the rest of the Clubs is to keep looking around at the folks who lead your field trips or teach lapidary in your shops, or just simply give a lot of their time to your club. Nominate these worthy members to receive this CFMS acknowledgement of their willingness to share their love of rocks and gems with fellow mem-bers and with their communities.

    The Fresno Gem & Mineral Society presents Al Madden. Al first joined the Society in 1957. Since then he has been Federation Director at least six years, President of the Club twice, Secretary twice, Treasurer once, editor for a year and a half, and editor again this year. In addition to these tasks, he has lectured to many school classes and cub scout groups about rocks. This year will make his 6th year in charge of the group that sells and cuts geodes at our concession at the Big Fresno Fair.
Submitted by Newman Gill.

    Lake Elsinore Gem & Mineral Society presents Leon (Buzz) Keeton. Though he has been a Club member for only 4 years, Buzz has been a past Director of the Club. His generosity is legendary within the Club, especially to children through the Club's school programs, and to the Club's annual silent auction. Buzz has been battling tremendous odds concerning his health, but is still willing to help, especially with children. If attitude is everything, Buzz is a very wealthy man.
Submitted by John P. Frey, Federation Director.

Miles Smith, in Memoriam

Notice provided by Carolyn Weinberger,
Editor of Eastern Federation Newsletter and AFMS Newsletter.

    Miles Smith, editor's editor and Past President of SCRIBE, passed away on March 28, 2001. Miles suffered a heart attack about two weeks earlier and subsequently had bypass surgery. Complications following surgery included a blood infection and complete renal failure.

    Miles was a past president of the Capital City Gem & Mineral Club (Frankfort Kentucky), long time and current editor for the club newsletter, The Kentucky Agate, and so much more. He served as Eastern Federation Regional Vice President, judged newsletter for several federations, was a strong supporter for new editors, and a grand, all-around guy.

    Miles was known and loved by many here in the California Federation. Contributions in his memory may be made to the AFMS Scholarship Foundation (through your regional Federation chairperson), the Eastern Federation Fund ("EFMLS") and mailed to Carl Miller, 8300 old Cavalry Dr., Mechanicsburg, VA 23111), SCRIBE, or to the charity of your choice.

    Notes of condolence can be mailed to Ann Smith, 341 Senate Dr., Frankfort, KY 40601


Bural LaRue,
CFMS Scholarship Chair

    It's always heartwarming to hear about what is happening in the careers of students we have sponsored through our Scholarship program. Here is a fine example.

    The following letter was received by Bural LaRue, current CFMS Scholarship Chair:

Dear Bural:

             We Done Good !

    In 1995 I was selected as one of the honorees for the CFMS Scholarship Fund. I selected the University of California, Riverside as my institution of choice, and the Head of the Geology Department selected Victoria Bruce as the student to receive the scholarship. I was very impressed with the young lady, and when she joined me at the CFMS Banquet at San Jose, everyone else seemed impressed as well.

As you can see from the enclosed flier, her career has flourished with the publication of her book, "NO APPARENT DANGER". Victoria had a journalistic background before college, and the journalism and her knowledge of geology are both apparent in this book and in an article on the same subject in National Geographic Adventure Magazine of April, 2001.

I was proud to be selected by the Scholarship Committee, and the pride was extended when I met Victoria Bruce. Her career in the geology field since graduation justifies the presentation of scholarships by the CFMS.

      Richard M. Knox

    Some quotes from the flier about Vicky's book:

"A riveting true story of an amazing rescue from a volcanic disaster in the Andes rife with tragedy, heroism, and controversy."

"On January 14, 1993, a team of scientists descended into the crater of Galeras, a restless volcano in Southern Colombia. Several hours later, Galeras erupted, killing nine people instantly. Two geologists, Marta Calvache and Patty Mothes, raced into the rumbling inferno to save, among others, expedition leader Stanley Williams. For Calvache and her fellow scientists, this was the second Colombian volcanic disaster in less than a decade. No Apparent Danger links the events surrounding those two eruptions-beginning at Nevado del Ruiz-where 23,000 people were killed in 1985-to tell a story of adventure and survival in which clashing cultures and scientific arrogance contributed to unnecessary loss of life. Dramatic and powerfully written, it is an unforgettable narrative about the deadly results of human folly."

"This is the finest sort of journalism-ferociously well researched and impossible to put down. Every human tragedy should be treated with such thoroughness and respect."


By Ray and Florence Meisenheimer, Chairs
CFMS Endowment Fund

    I still have a quantity of faceting material for sale. This material was donated to CFMS to provide funds for the Endowment Fund. Donations to honor an outstanding club member, or memorial donations are welcome. I will have a sales table at the CFMS Show in Paso Robles in June.

    Donations are needed. Table space is rather limited; therefore I will not be able to handle a lot of rough material. Polished pieces, minerals, fossils, jewelry, etc. are needed.

    Contact Ray - (805) 643-3155
    Ray and Florence Meisenheimer, Chairs
    CFMS Endowment Fund

A Reminder from your Federation Insurance Chair

By Fred Ott,
Insurance Chairperson

    It's very important to mail or fax requests for Certificates of Insurance and/or Additional Insured Endorsements to me as soon as you know these insurance documents will be required for an upcoming event (such as a show, field trip, meeting or workshop)-even if such events are several months "down the road". The Federation's insurance agent/broker has asked that you submit such requests at least three weeks in advance of the date(s) of the event.

    Also, please help me serve your club better by doing the following:

  1. Use only the most recently distributed request forms (which were mailed to each club's Federation representative last August). If you need new forms, just let me know.
  2. Please complete the requests in full. It slows down the process of getting the documents to you if the information requested is incomplete.
  3. Please type or legibly hand-write each form, especially if they are faxed to me.
  4. Please confirm with the Certificate Holder (the person who is requesting the documents from you) exactly what they need.

    Often-times, only a "Certificate of Insurance" is requested, only to find out later that an "Additional Insured Endorsement" or "special wording" were needed.

Thanks for your help.
- Fred Ott, Insurance Chairperson

What's in a lead pencil?

From Breccia, March 2001

    Graphite! The lead in soft pencils is mostly graphite; in harder pencils, it's graphite mixed with clay.

    Apparently people have always confused graphite with lead. One name for graphite is black lead, and another is plumbago (plumbum is Latin for lead).

    Graphite, a mineral that occurs naturally, is a soft slippery form of carbon; lead is a gray, heavy metal that must be refined from ore.

    Whatever the difference between these two unrelated materials, the term lead pencil is seemingly here to stay.

     (Reference: Earth Science World American Geological Institute)


By Brad Smith

    A brief reminder about the Club Website Workshop being held on May 26 in Culver City. Deadline for registration is May 10. The registration form was in the April issue.

The form can also be downloaded from the "Forms" section of the CFMS website. Click here for a form.

    The workshop, entitled "How to Build a Club Website", will be hosted by the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club. Topics will include benefits, content, costs, coding, and hosting of a website. Details will include authoring, testing, and where to find tutorials, image libraries and other resources on the Net.

    The session will be from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium complex in Culver City, California, located just east of the 405 Freeway at Culver Blvd. and Overland Ave. A workshop fee of $10.00 will cover continental breakfast, lunch, course handouts, and software.

    Over thirty registrations have already been received for the Workshop.

For more information and for reservations, contact
Brad Smith at 310-472-6490
or <brad@greenheart.com>
Mother Nature keeps her shell collection all over the World's beaches for kids to find.
    From Rockhound Rambling March 2001


By Cal Clason and Ray Meisenheimer
Earth Science Studies

    CFMS will again be sponsoring a week long Earth Science Seminar at Camp Paradise, September 9-16, 2001. Workshops offered are wire wrap, faceting, casting, stone carving, cabbing, bead stringing, silversmithing, glass bead construction, and perhaps others.

    Camp Paradise is located about 45 miles northeast of Marysville on Highway E-21. (Not in the city of Paradise, California.) A map to the area will be provided.

    The facility is a church owned camp, with rustic dormitory rooms and double rooms, with bathrooms inside the building. There is ample room for RV parking among the tall pines. Shower facilities are nearby.

    Camp is beautifully located in the mountains at about 3800 feet elevation. Roads into the camp are paved, with no difficult hills.

    Three wholesome meals are served daily, and food is also provided for field trips.

    This is a church owned camp. No alcohol is permitted. Pets must be restrained, and the fact that you have your pet with you must be reported to camp manager Jim Barton as soon as you arrive.

    There will be field trips for sightseeing, collecting, and gold panning.

    The fee for this busy week long learning experience is $220.00 per person. There is a form in the hardcopy newsletter for joining in this exciting new adventure.


By Chuck McKie,
CFMS Safety Chair, 2001

    It's about the time of year when we begin to set up our barbecue units and cook outdoors. This could be bad if you don't practice safety.

    First of all, when you light the fire and it does not start, or isn't burning hot enough to suit you, don't (DON'T) pour more lighter fluid on the fire from a can or bottle. If there is a spark, the fluid could ignite and flash back into your container, which could explode. I'd hate to see you coming around with your face all scarred up from burns, (if you survive.)

    Your cutting board is another dangerous item. If you cut up raw meat on the board and fail to clean up the board, and then place your cooked meat upon it, "cross contamina-tion" could occur and you may get very sick. It is much safer to place your cooked meat on a clean plate.

    Then come your condiments. You have an all-afternoon cookout (maybe at a ball game or perhaps at a rockhound outing). Then you spread mayonnaise on your buns with a knife. But mayonnaise and other like items are affected by heat quickly, and you can easily get food poisoning from the con-taminated knife. It is much safer to use a dis-pensing bottle. The same thing goes for salads. If you mix the salad dressing into the salad, it can spoil very shortly. Keep the dressing in a squeeze bottle until you are ready to eat.

<chuckmckie@aol.com> (707) 425-9030
(See Part 2 - Be A Life Saver)


By by Jo Anna Ritchey,
Chair Publicity/Public Relations Committee

    In his February column in the Federation Newsletter, President Bob offered the services of CFMS officers to talk about the California Federation at affiliate club meetings located in their area. After visiting three local clubs in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, it became apparent that a column on the benefits of CFMS membership might be informative to new club members and a refresher to some not-so-new members.

    The stated purpose of the California Federation is "to do together what we can not do in small groups." The singular and most important service that CFMS does for its affiliate clubs is to secure and maintain insurance coverage for the activities which we undertake. To do this individually would be prohibitive. But indeed, there are many more things that CFMS and its affiliate clubs do together because, as a group, we can get better results.

    Following is a partial list, in no particular order of significance:

  1. We establish and maintain avenues of communication through a monthly newsletter and a website.
  2. We maintain and promote an active field trip program through the focused efforts of several regional groups.
  3. We promote an annual California Federation rock, mineral and gem show and convention; and we publicize affiliate club shows to advertise our interests, educate ourselves and the public, and generate revenue to sustain our clubs.
  4. We establish and maintain educational programs in the following areas:
    1. Earth science seminars;
    2. Guided junior activities;
    3. Museum and traveling exhibit;
    4. Safety seminars;
    5. Video and slides library;
    6. Competitive exhibit seminars;
    7. Newsletter editor seminars;
    8. Public relations seminars;
    9. Club program aids information;
    10. Website establishment and internet use seminars.
  5. We fund and operate an active scholarship program.
  6. We maintain a public land use policies review committee to educate ourselves and to inform government policy makers of our interests in public land use.
  7. We sponsor an active tax advisor and legal assistance program to help affiliate clubs comply with State and Federal requirements.

    Annually, as an organization, we review our programs and long-range goals, and through the budget adoption process, we focus our resources and efforts. As President Bob stated in the February Newsletter, the CFMS officers are willing to come to meetings and talk with club members to explore ways in which we can do a better job working together than we can do individually.

    We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please contact our Committee as follows:

Teresa Masters, Secretary
CFMS Publicity/Public Relations Committee
1644 Corte Verano
Oceanside, CA 92056-2038

    Lighten the workload by working together


By By Marge Collins,
AFMS Program Competition Coordinator

    This is not an idle or rhetorical question. Yes, all 'rockhounds' are interested in one or more areas of the Earth Sciences. But beyond that, aren't all members of gem & mineral clubs interested in the sharing and camaraderie that is the essence of any 'club'? "Sure," you say, "so what?!"

    If sharing is a primary reason for your involvement in our hobby, you may already demonstrate or make presentations for school or civic groups, Club meetings and Shows. But have you considered making a slide program, video or a more technologically advanced presentation that captures your interest and enthusiasm? As long as 'rock' Clubs have been active in this country, such presentations have been an essential part of Club activities. And they are the best way (after a live presentation) to inspire newcomers, and even longtime members, to gain a better understanding of something they have not yet explored. Yet today, few such presentations are being made and Clubs often end up having to watch 20 or even 30-year-old programs from their Regional Library.

    You and your fellow Club members can pool resources to produce an excellent presentation. All it takes is someone to spearhead the project and someone with the technical resources. Such resources are widely available today. Many of us have family members or friends who are able to take slides, video or digital images and pull them together into a presentation that can be shown not only to your Club and those in the surrounding area. It can also go on to be shown across the country. Yes, across the country and win cash awards and national recognition! If such considerations are not important for you, consider the impact your presentation can have on hundreds if not thousands of viewers in the next 20+ years. Just knowing that many viewers are enjoying your presentation is a great reward. Besides, the cash awards can significantly defray the costs involved in such a presentation.

    So first of all, decide on a topic, then make an outline or plan so you will know what visuals are needed, and then draft a script. Have someone else read that script back to you, and you are well on your way. If the expense of rolls and rolls of film are a concern, consider buying them by mail order (but be sure they are Kodak compatible - not movie film from which prints and slides can be made!). Plan to submit your presentation for Regional Program Competition (where that is possible) and, ultimately, in AFMS Program Competition. The 'rules'/guidelines and Score Sheet can offer a way to evaluate your presentation before it is officially submitted. ('Rules/guidelines were most recently published in the December 2000 AFMS Newsletter, or contact your Regional Program Librarian or AFMS Coordinator at (616) 695-4313, or by e-mail at margaret@qtm.net) In years to come you will experience the immense satisfaction that comes with a job well done and the 'rewards' of sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm with others - helping our hobby to survive well into the 21st Century.

    A postscript -

    EXHIBITORS: Do you realize that you already have much of the preparation for a slide program completed? Please consider adding a new dimension to your display by having slides made, write up a script based on your research, and viola!, your presentation has the possibility of a very long and active life.

Are You Saving Canceled Stamps?

By Debbie Bunn,
Fossils for Fun

    This is a reminder for all CMS Clubs that are saving canceled stamps to donate to the Easter Seals Foundation, whose programs benefit crippled children.

    With the CFMS Show coming up in June, here is an opportunity to get them to the right place, without paying for postage. Please bring your canceled stamps (packaged, with the name of your club attached) and give them to Debbie Bunn, Fossils for Fun. She will see that they are delivered back to Sacramento and donated to the Foundation. Many thanks for your support


From The Pegmatite April 2001
(Excerpted from article by Jana Haege in Cobb-L-Stones 9/99,
via The Glacial Drifter 03/00)

    One of the great thrills of having advanced knowledge of the mineral kingdom is being called upon by other less skilled and knowledgeable folks to help them identify their specimens. While this is usually a pleasant experience, quite frequently because of the poor quality of the specimen or the lack of information as to its origin, one must be creative when hypothesizing its identity. This article will assist you, the aspiring mineral expert, in obtaining your status as omnipotent. Yes, by using my simple, self-taught technique, your advice will soon be sought after by huge throngs of rockhound disciples who will be astounded by your vast knowledge and insight. Soon you wil even be able to tell folks which fork to use first at dinner, and even the correct spark plug gap for a 1976 Chevette.

    The first step in identifying minerals is to know the proper scientific name for the specimen at hand. For instance, any rock that is rough, ugly, useless and extremely weathered is known as leaverite.

    Keeping in mind that there are more than 3000 species of minerals, not to mention all the different types of rock, we sometimes have to proceed to Step 2. You should always render an answer, correct or not, in a reasonably short period of time. While remembering that any word ending in "ite" will do, a short, generic glossary of names committed to memory will help avoid the indiscretion of allowing yourself to be stumped.

    To give an example of how you would use these names, let us say, for instance, that you are brought a beautiful chunk of gneiss and the following conversation occurs: "What is this?" "It is gneiss." "Yes, I think it is very nice, but what is it?" "See the banding and these bends where it was folded? It is gneiss." "Yes, I agree, but what is it?" It is "swirlite."' "Oh yes, now that you mention it, it looks exactly like swirlite. Thank you." Other names you should bear to memory, for just such occasions, are listed in the glossary below.

Ambivalite -
use this to describe any specimen whose exact identity eludes you.
Astrologite -
use this term to identify those odd chunks of non-magnetic objects which are presented to you as meteorites. ("No, that's not a meteorite, that's astrologite." "Really? Wow, gee thanks!"
Barberite -
an easy to remember term for those really hairy minerals when you can't remember how to pronounce boulangerite.
Casserolite -
any rock that looks like a food item.
Garageite -
a specimen that was clearly collected years ago and is covered with dust.
Infrequentite -
describe anything you haven't seen before as this rare mineral and instruct the owner to keep it out of direct sunlight at all cost.
Jerkite -
this common term is used to describe specimens whose real identity is known by the owner but presented to you as something else.
Mammothite -
when you go outside to see a specimen that is too large to bring in, spread a smile of recognition across your face as soon as the trunk of the car is opened and declare, "Oh, that's mammothite! I have a ton of those in the yard at my house, no need to bring it in and test it."
Screwballite -
commonly used to describe a piece of chert found in Precambrian sediments after the owner insists, for the third time, that it looks too much like a dinosaur bone not to be one.


By Beverly Moreau

    I have received only a small number of re-sponses to my request for opinions on the question:

    To abolish (or not to abolish) the term "rock-hound"? (See April 2001 issue.) Click here.

    In order to present a fair summary of results, we need to have YOUR opinion expressed. Send me a note or e-mail. (See April 2001 issue for address.)


From AFMS Newsletter, April 2001

    The following programs have been forwarded to your Regional Federation Program Librarian and should be available for your club to borrow shortly. Look for an announcement giving details on how to borrow them soon in your Regional Federation Newsletter.


"DIAMONDS" by Jennie and Paul Smith (EFMLS).
Micro diamonds are used to tell the story-how they form, where deposits are found, crystal structure, the rainbow of colors, etc. Also, this presentation proves the fact that affordable, miniature diamonds are 'lovely to look at' and interesting, to boot. 79 slides
"PSEUDOMORPHS: Ghosts of Minerals Past" by Michael Shaw (RMFMS).
Pseudomorph means false shape and refers to the interesting mineralogical oddities that occur when one mineral replaces another - in the shape of the original mineral. If this sounds confusing, it won't be after you view this program with numerous specimens as examples and clear explanations of the processes involved in their formation. 47 slides
Oregon is noted for the wide variety of lapidary materials found within its borders. We are treated to examples in close-up view showing their unique and interesting patterns. Some field trip info and other tips are also included. 140 slides
"HOW SWEET IT IS: A Trip to the Sweetwater Lead Mine" by Sharon Waddell (MWF).
"Deep in the rolling hills of the Missouri Ozarks lies a geologic feature, the Viburnum Trend". This ore-bearing strata has produced world class specimens of galena and associated mineral. The Sweetwater is one of the many mines in this area but opportunities to visit them are rare. Specimens, a look inside the mine, and the processes by which minerals are extracted from the ore, are included.

The Rock Lady

By By Jim Brace-Thompson,
Junior Activities Chair

    As part of my effort to recognize outstanding service to youth within the CFMS and to share the wisdom that resides among us, this month I give you "The Rock Lady." Dolores Dace of the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club is The Rock Lady. Dolores has a teaching style and a suite of activities that might be called a celebration of mind, spirit, and body in that she utilizes all the senses, the arts, and the sciences in a holistic educational experience with rocks as the cornerstone, so to speak. In just 45 minutes, she can fill the minds of kids with verbal and visual comprehension as they take in such concepts as weight, measurement, comparison, contrast, texture, geography, and geology. How does she do this? Here's a small slice of Dolores's many wonderful activities•  .

    To start, throw out the "do-not-touch" signs kids too commonly encounter in museums and elsewhere. Instead, provide a tactile experience. Teach textures by touching smooth and rough rocks. Teach weight by lifting heavy and light rocks. Teach shapes by passing around square, round, and rectangular rocks. Teach size by showing large and small rocks. Teach colors by showing white rocks, green rocks, pink rocks, and rocks containing all the colors of the rainbow. And so on. In other words, engage the full senses of kids by exploring rocks in all their colors, shapes, sizes, textures-and even sounds! Sounds? Illustrate the "tink" of a small rock or the "THUD" of a big rock.

    Rocks even help you move kids to more complex cognitive skills. For instance, teach younger kids the alphabet (A is for agate, B is for barite, etc.) and teach older kids both visual and verbal arts by allowing them to pick their own specimen to take to their seats. There they can trace it, illustrate it, and write about it (its height, width, color, weight, etc.), thus learning "visual comprehension." Teach and encourage the use of descriptive words, from technical terms like "volcanic" and "sedimentary" to common adjectives like "fragile" or "smooth." Continue from description to imagination by giving kids rocks with nature's own abstract designs in them and allowing the kids to describe what emerges in the mind's eye: a flower, an animal, a happy face. Or go further, creating poems to describe the story of how a piece of petrified cottonwood came to be where it came to be. You can even teach numbers and geometry using rocks (one rock, two rocks; round rocks, square rocks; etc.)

    II could go on and on-in fact, to do justice to all of Dolores's suggested activities would require all the pages of this month's Newsletter. Fortunately, Dolores has assembled her many intriguing ideas and activities in a teacher's, parent's, and children's manual called "The Rock Lady Presents: A Natural Science Project Using 'Rocks.'" The manual includes sections devoted to preschoolers, kindergartners, and elementary school kids, along with suggestions for additional resources at the end of each section. She emphasizes flexibility, noting that "Each child and each teacher will respond in a different way, and this is to be very much encouraged. There are no set rules or suggestions-except handle with care, use and reuse, and HAVE FUN!" And the activities really work. Kids' reaction to The Rock Lady is enthusiastic: "We would like you to come back" and "We didn't have a rock lady like you in New York!"

    In addition to the manual, Dolores prepares kits. For each Culver City elementary school, she has provided 27 rocks. Teachers especially appreciate receiving a kit alongside the presentation because it allows them to come back to the kits later for reinforcement and further exploration. To make a kit for schools, turn to the rock piles of club members to assemble a wide assortment of rocks of different types. On the backs of the rocks, Dolores uses white-out to write their names and localities. The locality info is useful in teaching kids geography along with geology. The kits can go into egg cartons with lids to keep the rocks organized.

    Dolores's service to kids extends beyond her activities with the CCR&MC She has worked as preschool teacher and education aid, a tutor, Girl Scout leader, PTA member, and Olympics volunteer. In addition to classroom presentations, she's prepared public displays for the Culver City library on "sedimentary rock recordings", going on the idea that before pictures, words, and books, the earth itself made its own visual recordings that we can "read" today. Plus, she's leading an effort by her club to form a collection of children's earth science books to donate to the library.

    My thanks to Brad Smith, President of CCR&MC, for introducing me to Dolores, and thanks especially to "The Rock Lady" herself for showing us all how to serve and educate youth and-as always-have fun!


By Chuck McKie,
CFMS Safety Chair, 2001

    Perhaps you can save your own life or the life of someone close and dear to you. HOW? By cleaning out your medicine cabinet. Most of us have bottles, boxes and tubes of medicine in our cabinets which have been there for years.

    According to Capt. Elizabeth Caplener of the David Grant Medical Center, some medications change over time, losing their potency or turning into toxic compounds. If common antibiotics such as tetracycline degrade, they can cause life-threatening skin disorders.

Where to begin?

    Caplener points out that all prescription drugs have an expiration date on their labels. Over-the-counter medications have this information stamped on the package. If you can't find the expiration date, this may mean that you purchased the medication before the expiration-date law was enacted in the mid 1980s. If you can't remember what a prescription was for, you should also toss it -- even if its expiration date is still good.

    "Once an infection has cleared, any antibiotics should be discarded immediately," Caplener said. "People who self-medicate using leftover antibiotics can build resistance to the prescription and mask the symptoms of their new problem. Furthermore, any old medications given to friends or family members can cause serious allergic reactions."

    She cautions against throwing old medications in the wastebasket, where they can endanger children and pets. Instead, they should be flushed down the toilet in small quantities to ensure that no plumbing emergencies occur.

Out with the old

    The next step is to get rid of anything that's cracked, chipped, tipped or dirty. Now is the time to dispose of adhesive tape that's turned yellow and sterile gauze in tattered packages. The same goes for pills that are powdery, syrups that have separated, bottles with unreadable labels and any medicine that's changed color or developed an odor. You should also examine any tweezers and scissors in your medicine cabinet, making sure they're still in good working condition.

In with the new

    It's time to restock your cabinet. To prepare for minor mishaps and colds, consider purchasing the following supplies: acetaminophen, aspirin and non-aspirin pain reliever, activated charcoal, antibiotic cream, antacid, anti-diarrhea medication, antiseptic solution to clean cuts, bandages, gauze and adhesive tape, calamine lotion, cold and cough medications, cold pack, cotton balls and swabs, ipecac syrup and thermometer.

Keeping medications safe

    Your bathroom and kitchen are the worse places in the house to store medications. "The heat and humidity in these rooms can quickly degrade over-the-counter and prescription drugs," Caplener said. For example, nitroglycerin, used for chest pain, breaks down quickly when combined with moisture. Caplener suggests that all medications be kept in a cool, dark place, away from sunlight, heat sources and children. Although child-proof caps may make it difficult for youngsters to open containers, Caplener recommends keeping medications under lock and key if little ones are around.

Read the small print

    Make sure to read the instructions on all medications, including over-the-counter preparations. This will ensure that you take them properly. For example, if you combine certain laxatives with milk, you can dissolve the pill's coating before it gets to the lower intestines where it does its work. The result: possible stomach irritation and discomfort -- plus poor results.

How much do you know?

    Are you savvy when it comes to medications? Take this quiz and find out.

  1. Ipecac should be given to a child at the first sign of poisoning.
    False. Ipecac, a drug used to induce vomiting, can cause great damage if the poisoning is caused by corrosive or petroleum-based substances. Before administering ipecac, always call 911 or poison control center.
  2. The best place to store nitroglycerin is high in a closet away from children.
    False. People who take nitroglycerin for angina pain should have quick and easy access to it at all times. The best place for this medication is in the patient's pocket.
  3. It's dangerous to share medications.
    True. Although you may think your illness is the same as a family member's, you may be wrong. The medication may not be effective, allowing the problem to escalate.
  4. Generic over-the-counter drugs are as good as their branded counterparts.
    True. Generic drugs are generally just as effective as brand names and much less expensive.
  5. Herbal preparations are safe to take with prescription drugs.
    False. Just because they're "natural" doesn't mean herbal remedies aren't powerful. In fact, many of them have side effects and some can cause trouble when combined with mainstream medications. Tell your doctor you're taking herbal supplements when medication is prescribed for you.


    Five correct: You're well informed about medication matters.

    Three to 4 correct: It's important to exercise more caution when taking and storing medications.

    Zero to 2 correct: You should discuss medications with your doctor. Poison Prevention Medications are too often linked to accidental poisoning in young children. America's poison control centers are contacted approximately 1.3 million times annually regarding potentially toxic drugs.

"Children Act Fast ... So Do Poisons"
For more information on Poison Prevention, call the Poison Prevention Council at (301) 504-0580 or go to their Web site at www. cpsc.gov. The California Poison Control System's number is
Via "Tailwind" March 16, 2001

Oh Boy!

By By Richard Pankey,
Field Trips - North

    In addition to picking up rocks, rockhounds enjoy spending time with other rockhounds, and they love to eat. You see this at meetings. You see it at shows. And you can really see it on field trips. It is great to relax together after a fun day of collecting-bragging about the great find of the day, recalling past trips-and share in the fellowship of friends, new and old. Field trips are remembered not only for the rocks, minerals and fossils that were collected, but also for the good time shared together. You can't collect rocks all day, everyday. Most multi-day field trips include at least one potluck dinner. Sometimes more. Happy Hours are a natural prelude. And a campfire just brings the day to a great conclusion.

    On the trips that I lead we seem to have potluck dinners most evenings. Occasionally we make a meal out of particularly abundant happy hour snacks. For those of us who have been going on field trips and sharing potlucks for many years, the what's and how's are almost second nature to us. Most of the time I stay out of the way and my wife, Betty, takes care of the food and coordinating the arrangements. I help set up the tables and chairs.

    From time to time I have noticed that some people, especially new field trippers, act unsure and seem reluctant to join in the happy hour or potluck. Some of this may be shyness, or not wanting to seem pushy and go where they are not invited. Most often, though, it is that they just are unsure of what to do and what to bring. First off, all field trip attendees are welcome at all organized field trip activities. The field trip leader should make this point clear and insure that everyone knows what is going on and feels welcome.

    New rockhounds often ask, "I have never been to a potluck. What do I bring and what do I do?" A potluck dinner or lunch is a shared meal where each person/family contributes at least one main dish item such as a casserole, meat dish, vegetables, salad, or dessert. The amazing thing about a potluck is that it works. The great variety of wonderful dishes seems to arrive almost magically. And out of seemingly nothing,. a fantastic meal fills the serving table. Each person should contribute based on his or her culinary ability and resources. If you are new at potlucks, start with something simple. Observe what others bring for ideas for next time. Bring enough food and dishes considering the size of the group and the size of your family. What to bring is often a problem and a potential source of embarrassment for people traveling alone in tents or vans. Desserts (pies, cakes or cookies) are easy and keep well without refrigeration. Or you could bring a big can of fruit cocktail or a nice loaf of bread and butter. If you are unsure, just ask.

    Besides the food you bring you will need plates, eating utensils, cups or glasses, serving utensils, and tables and chairs for you and your whole family. After the meal, be sure to pick up your leftovers, dishes, hot pads and utensils, and trash -- whatever you brought. I am amazed at what is left behind. Good food is left to spoil. Nice dishes and utensils have set around for days waiting for their owners to retrieve them. We have quite a collection of potholders, serving dishes and utensils that were never picked up.

    Happy Hours are informal afternoon get-togethers to relax and share time and stories with others. While it is often held at someone's trailer, like a potluck, it is a no-host event. Bring your chair, your favorite beverage, and some snacks to share. However, not everyone needs to bring snacks to every happy hour. Just be sure you bring your share. Evening campfires are another socializing favorite. Firewood is often unavailable around the campsite so it is recommended that everyone bring firewood. Sometime after dinner people start dragging their chairs up to the fire ring. The circle may start small, but we always push back to make room for the new comers. With a large group, especially if there are new comers or people from other clubs, we enjoy self-introductions. This makes everyone feel welcome and helps to know our new rockhound friends. Don't forget to bring a story or joke to share.

    The key point here for me is that when you are with rockhounds you are with friends. Old timers should help the newcomers feel welcome and get them involved. And the newcomers should not hold back and be shy - you are among friends.

    Support and practice the AFMS Code of Ethics

Obsidian Bonanza Activities

By Richard Pankey,
Field Trips - North

    I am looking forward to a good turn out for the Obsidian Bonanza this July. The announcement and fliers for this CFMS field trip were in the February CFMS Newsletter. Hopefully, each club's field trip leader, bulletin editor or Federation director is distributing this information to his or her members. This month I want to update you on additional details and "happenings" for the trip.

    Besides our collecting trips each day while at Davis Creek/Lassen Creek, I have arranged some additional interesting activities. I invited local Forest Service representatives to join us for our potluck dinners and to give us talks on the history and geology of the area. The clean-up we conducted as part of our Wiley Well trip last year was so successful and well received, we will do it again on this trip. We will pick up trash and litter around the camp, collecting sites and along the roads and bring it back to camp. The Forest Service will haul it off at the conclusion of our trip. We will be joined by several knappers who will be demonstrating and teaching both pressure and percussion techniques. If you are already into knapping, bring along your tools and share in the fun.

    The main potluck dinner is planned for Saturday evening. However, we will have potlucks on the other evenings for all those wishing to join in. Even though we will be camping in the middle of a forest, firewood is not always available. Please bring firewood for our evening campfires.

    On both Sunday mornings we will be treated to a Pancake Breakfast put on by Marion Roberts and "The Mother Lode Crew". Marion and the boys will be up early fixing the pancakes for us but you need to bring your own plate, utensils, butter, syrup or jelly and drinks. Bring along your bacon or sausage and they will be glad to cook it for you.

    I have been asked about the plans and schedule for the days between Davis Creek and Glass Butte. We will leave the Lassen Creek Campground on Monday and go to the Fairgrounds in Lakeview, OR and spend the night. They have water and electricity and are fairly inexpensive. This is a good place to get a hot shower, dump your tanks and fill up with fresh water before we continue on. We will also have the afternoon to visit the High Desert Rock Shop and see their collection of local material.

    Tuesday morning we will drive up to the sunstone area north of Plush, where we will spend the night. The best time to collect sunstones is with morning or afternoon sun. I know of two mines/fee digs in the area, but there is a good free public collecting area, also. We will have time to collect and visit the mines. Early Wednesday afternoon we will head on up to Glass Butte and set up camp. On Thursday we will go to Hampton Butte area to collect green petrified wood. The material here is jasperized, mainly green, but colors include brown, black, red, orange and white. Thundereggs and agate can also be found around Hampton Butte. The Glass Butte collecting trips will start on Friday. In addition to the obsidian collecting sites, we will explore an old cinnabar mine that is adjacent to Glass Butte.

    Make your plans now to join us on the CFMS Obsidian Bonanza in July.

    Two weekends - July 6-8 and July 13-15 (and the days in between, if you like).