Vol. XXXIX, No. 12 --- December 2002

CFMS Newsletter

Table of Contents
President's Message
All American Club Award Program
Rockhound Of The Year Nominations
CFMS Names 2003 Scholarship Honorees
Field Trips To Introduce CA Mining
Know The Rules For Holidays
Poinsettia Plant A Victim
Earth Science Seminars Expanding
Endowment Fund Form
Zzyzx SOLD OUT  

Articles for 2003 CFMS Newsletter:
Mail to:
    Marion Roberts
    1505 Plumas Avenue
    Modesto, CA 95351
Tel: (209) 538-0197

e-mail: mvroberts@bigvalley.net

Please note: articles for the January 2003 Newsletter are due on or before December 5, 2002

Presidents Message

By Jo Anna Ritchey, CFMS President
CFMS President

     This is my last President's Message as my term of office is almost over. It has been an honor to be your president. I have gotten to know some more wonderful people. It is an experience I will always remember. Thank you for letting me have this privilege.

     A parting thought: Consider communication. We need people to write in a bulletin about what they are doing, either the CFMS Bulletin or your local club bulletin. If you are spending time doing work on a committee, don't you want others to know what you are doing or have done? Shouldn't members of your club (either local or state level) hear about your accomplishments? One of the hardest things for me to do is to start writing. It is much easier if I have something to say. I am sure it is the same for many others. Realize that when you take an office and do the work, you now have something to say. So, take the time and write it. Remember that all the members of your club do not come to every meeting and must depend upon what you write in the bulletin for their information. Also consider that sometimes several one column messages spread over several months are more interesting than a two page message that is not read.


All American Club Award Program

By Dot and Robert Beachler

    Established in 1967 by the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies and the seven regional federations, the All American Club Award is meant to:

  • Encourage local clubs members to share their expertise and enthusiasm for the hobby within their respective regions.
  • Provide a model for organizing an annual historical account for the posterity of each. club, and.
  • Offer an opportunity for national recognition of exceptional clubs.

    Just as the award is focused on quality effort that enables members to grow and clubs to flourish, it is also focus on quality that the All American Club Award judges seek in evaluating applications for regional and national honors. Completeness of the report is important, and quality is valued over quantity. Reports must be received by the club's respective regional chairperson by February 28, 2003.

    This is not a competition of one club against others. This is an evaluation of quality based on a standard of excellence. Gold, Silver and Bronze awards are granted for achievement of points in the appropriate scoring range. Only the top regional and national awards are determined on a high point basis. To allow more equality, separate top awards will be given for large clubs (100 or more members), small clubs (up to 99 members) and organized junior divisions (5 or more members).

Report Form Instructions

    Each report is to be submitted as a single document limited to a maximum of 100 sheets (one- or two-sided) including text and graphics. A loose-leaf notebook is a suitable binder.

    The document should have six section dividers numbered I through 6, with the report form in Section 1, and the supporting information for each of the report sections following the appropriate section divider. There are no restrictions on number of pages in any section.

    When filling out the report form, mark all appropriate blanks and enter numbers or other information where requested. Assemble requested supporting materials and lists following the appropriate section divider, and then insert photos or other graphics following the typed information.

    You will be completing the year's report in the early part of the following year. Remember that all requested information is for the prior year.

  • Your Regional All American Club Chairmen
  • Dorothy and Robert Beachler
  • 89 Buckskin Lane
  • Rolling Hills Estates CA 90274-4253
  • (310) 325-3139
  • E-mail: rrbeachler@cox.net

Christmas Tree

Rockhound Of The Year Nominations

By Barbara Matz

     The Carmichael Gem & Mineral Club would like to honor one of their founding members, BOB HAMILTON. Bob is one of those "ambassadors of rockhounds" that every club should have. He is the first one to welcome guests show them around and greet them each subsequent month. Bob is a consummate collector of all sorts of things and is always ready to share his knowledge and experience. We are very pleased to nominate Bob Hamilton as our Rockhound of the Year.
Submitted by Debbie Bunn, CGMS Secretary.

     Fossils For Fun would like to nominate HUGH & FLORENCE BRADY as their Rockhouds of the Year. Hugh and Florence are fairly new members but they jumped in almost immediately to become involved in our club. Florence served as Secretary one year and when our secretary for the next year became ill, she continued to fill that role. Hugh is very involved with field trips. He attends almost every one and has led some too. He is especially noted for his knowledge of where to find Roseville petrified wood. Their "rock kitty" Sierra also can be seen on most of the field trips! Both Hugh and Florence help with hosting our meetings and are always ready to help; whatever the task. We are very lucky to have them in Fossils For Fun.
Submitted by Debbie Bunn, FFF President.

     The Amador County Gem & Mineral Society nominates MARILYN CUMMINS as their 2002 Rockhound of the Year. Marilyn is a charter member of the Society and has been deeply involved in its functions ever since its second meeting. She has held nearly every position including President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer, Director-at-Large, Scholarship Chair, County Fair Committee, Hostess, Telephone Committee, and Publicity. Of particular note, she has been Federation or Alternate Director and attended CFMS meetings for almost ten years, served as Historian/ Librarian for 14 years, and was Editor/Publisher for 23 years! In 1996 she was inducted into the CFMS Editors' Hall of Fame. Marilyn has spent untold hours working on behalf of the club. She was a driving force when the club put on "Gold Dust Days" with Unice Drake. Over the years she gave demonstrations, placed displays in local schools and worked tirelessly for the club's booth each year at the "Pow Wow."
Submitted by Cecil Helms, Amador County Gem and Mineral Society.

     With these three nominations, we had a total of 17 clubs participating in the member recognition program this year. That's just over 12% of CFMS clubs! I'd like to see twice as many nominations in 2003. My report at the CFMS meeting included a copy of the submittal form, and you can print a copy from the CFMS web site. You can also send your nomination as a letter or email. And remember, you can now nominate a Junior Rockhound of the Year in addition to the usual adult nominees.

    Send your nominations to:
    Barbara Matz
    P.O. Box 7086
    Petaluma, CA 94955-7086
    Or: barbmatz@yahoo.com


    CFMS Names 2003 Scholarship Honorees

    By Beverly Moreau, CFMS Scholarship Chair

         The CFMS Scholarship Committee, at their meeting in Visalia on September 1, named two Scholarship Honorees for the year 2003.

         Jim Brace Thompson was recognized for his work as CFMS Junior Activities Chair, developing educational programs for the benefit of young people. In the process, he has been very effective in encouraging adults to become involved in these activities, and makes a practice of recognizing many of them for their participation not only in their own clubs, but in the community. Jim's articles in the CFMS Newsletter have offered a wealth of information and recommended reading for Junior and Pebble Pup leaders. His leadership role has demonstrated his devotion to, and enthusiasm for, the task of educating young folks-the rockhounds of the future-in geology and earth sciences, and the gem and mineral hobby. Jim is a member of the Ventura Gem & Mineral Society.

         Sugar White has become a household name within the micromounting community. Her beautiful slide presentations on mineral localities have been shown nationwide. Each year she photographs the specimens to be auctioned at the Pacific Micromount Conference in Redlands, California, and was recognized several years ago by the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society at their show for her outstanding mineral photography. She worked on two books about Mojave Desert mines-the Mohawk and the Blue Bell. These were published and sold as projects by the San Bernardino County Museum, where she also volunteers her time to identifying and preparing specimens for the Museum collection. Sugar always has the time and patience to assist a new or less experienced micromounter with questions of mineral identification and goes out of her way to promote this aspect of mineralogy. Sugar is a member of the Southern California Micromineralogists as well as the Northern California Mineralogical Association.

         Each of the Honorees will select a college or university from an approved list, and then will assist in selecting an undergraduate student majoring in the Earth Sciences or Lapidary Arts to receive a $2,000 scholarship from CFMS. Both Honorees and their students will be invited to attend the Awards Banquet at the combined AFMS.CFMS Show and Convention in Ventura on June 7, 2003.


    Field Trip To Introduce California's Mining Heritage

    By Jim Brace-Thompson, Junior Activities Chair

         We're surrounded by evidence of our mining heritage, from the gypsum in our walls to the brass knob on the door, gold ring on your finger, and the clay in our flowerpots. We Californians are further surrounded by the mines and quarries that yield this mineral wealth. A great activity for pebble pups is a field trip to active and historic mining operations to teach appreciation for the uses of minerals in everyday life and the ultimate origins of everyday things like toothpaste, laundry detergent, or the copper in pennies. Such a field trip also teaches kids California history and the role mining has played in that history. Here's just a tiny sampling of the many opportunities out there:

    • Sand quarries in the dunes near Monterey, once much more widespread than today, have yielded silica sand for producing high quality optical glass.
    • Gypsum mines near Ocotillo and Plaster City provide the basic ingredient for-you guessed it!-plaster and wall boards.
    • Diatomite quarries at Lompoc and Lake Britton supply filtering material for swimming pools in the form of trillions of intricately patterned micro fossils that have proven to have abundant practical uses.
    • The Borax Visitor Center in Boron welcomes bus loads of kids with interesting displays of borate minerals and their many uses, geology and mining activities, and an informational video in a room with a spectacular view of the one-by-two-mile active open-pit mine; plus, each kid gets a free piece of ulexite (TV stone) and informational coloring book.
    • Tourmaline mines and claims near San Diego sponsor group tours for a fee and allow prospecting in the mine dumps and/or sell bags of rough rock to sift through for gems.

         A whole host of gold mines, some still in operation, put kids in direct touch with an important aspect of California history (to name but a few of the many options, there's Marshall's Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma that spawned California's gold rush with James Marshall's discovery of a gold nugget at Sutter's Mill in 1848; Hangtown's Gold Bug Park in Placerville; the Hidden Treasure Gold Mine in Columbia; the Original Sixteen to One Mine in Alleghany that offers tours into the heart of a working gold mine; etc.).

         Equal to gold in historic value for building the early California economy were silver mines, such as Calico Ghost Town, described as "Southern California's Greatest Silver Camp" and nestled in the colorful Calico Mountains, with equally colorful legends of mining and Wild West lore.

         Check around your local area for potential tours and operating quarries and mines and/or historic mining camps and museums near you. Help educate pebble pups on California's mining history and the importance of rocks and mining to everyday life while-as always-having fun!

    Know The Rules For Holidays

    The Department of Defense Safety Officials have some safety tips. There are two important things to keep in mind during the holidays:

    • Don't let baby mistake the light-up nose on your Rudolph decoration for her "Baby's 1st Christmas" pacifier,
    • and go easy on the rum if you share the eggnog with your cat.

    Christmas trees are central to many families' holiday celebrations and yet can be among the most dangerous. Keep these tips in mind when selecting and decorating yours:

    • Think fresh! Dry trees are an extreme fire hazard. Only a few needles should fall when you shake a fresh tree, and needles should bend but not break.
    • Keep your tree outside in a bucket of water until you're ready to decorate.
    • Before bringing it inside, cut a two-inch diagonal slice off the bottom and keep water in the stand. A diagonal cut allows your tree to "drink" more.
    • Keep your tree out of traffic areas and at least three feet from heat sources and fireplaces.
    • It's easy to assume that your lighted decorations are OK this year because they worked when you put them away last year. Not so, Inspect them carefully before use and be especially alert for worn or cracked wires.
    • Make sure all light sets have an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) label.
    • Also avoid overloading outlets and extension cords.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta suggest the following safe-handling tips for your holiday eats. Additional information can be found on the Internet at www.cdc.gov.

    • Wash hands before and after preparing food, especially after handling raw meat and poultry.
    • Keep raw meats and poultry separate from other foods.
    • Clean and disinfect cutting boards and kitchen surfaces after preparing food, and use different plates and utensils for cooked food from those used for the raw foods.
    • Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods right away after coming home from the store.
    • Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave oven, not on the counter top.
    • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Don't leave foods out at room temperature for more than two hours.
    • Identify a designated driver early or arrange for taxis when you gather with family, friends and coworkers to celebrate the holidays.
    • If you're the party host, serve plenty of food and nonalcoholic beverages.
    • Of the 41,967 traffic fatalities in 1997, 39 percent were alcohol related, according to the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

    Other holiday safety tidbits gleaned from various sources are:

    • Ensure smoke detectors work and have a fire extinguisher handy. Consider giving these lifesaving devices as holiday gifts to friends and family members.
    • Don't burn wrapping paper in your fireplace. The colored inks can produce toxic fumes.
    • Being alone this time of year can be depressing. Don't let someone you know spend the holidays alone.
    • Being alone this time of year can be depressing, but don't become a victim by letting the wrong person know you will be home alone.
    • Choose age-appropriate gifts for children. Adhere to warning labels and age restrictions on pack-ages.

         The Consumer Product Safety Commission has oodles of information on its Internet site, www.cpsc.gov, and lists product recalls as well.

    Poinsettia Plant A Victim

    By Chuck McKie CFMS Safety Chairman 2002

         The Euphorbia pulcherrima, the poinsettia plant.

         You would have to eat a lot of this plant to get as much as a belly ache. If this comes as a revelation to you, don't be too surprised. A poll sponsored by the Society of American Hodsts found that a full 66 percent of the American public mistakenly believed the poinsettia to be poisonous.

         Wherrrre's the proof!!!??? As a public service for you Doubting Thomases, here we go.

         The report implicating the poinsettia as being a poisonous plant was made in 1919. The plant was never positively identified. Also, Ohio State University did scientific studies some years ago that proved the plant to be non-toxic.

         In addition to that, other professional groups have also cleared the plant of its toxic label, and POISINDEX (TM), the computerized information system that the majority of poison-control centers use as their database, states that a 50-pound child would have to eat the equivalent of 500-600 leaves to exceed the experimental doses that found no toxicity.

         If that's not enough proof that the poinsettia is nothing more than a misunderstood plant, in 1975, the Consumer Product Safety Commission denied a petition requesting warning labels be put on poinsettia plants due to lack of evidence that the plant was in fact toxic. On the other hand, and in the interest of equal time, the American Medical Association's Handbook of Poisonous Plants does state that the plant may produce nausea and vomiting, but no other effects are produced.

         Let's face it, you are not supposed to eat any household plant, but let's not deny ourselves one of nature's more beautiful symbols of Christmas simply due to the mistaken notion that it is poisonous.

         Source: the Fort Sam Houston, Texas, News Leader.

    Earth Science Seminars Expanding

    By Cal Clason E.S.C. Chair

         In our ongoing endeavor to better serve more members of CFMS, the Earth Sciences Committee submitted to, and received approval of the Executive Committee to engage in negotiations to hold another annual Seminar. The present, tentative plans are to conduct it in the Big Pine, California area, probably in August of 2003.

         At present both Zzyzx and Camp Paradise almost preclude participation by our school aged members because of facility availability - April and September. Our plan is to orient this event toward ages 8 - 18 and conduct the classes with this in mind. They will possibly include, but not be limited to - soft stone sculpture, lapidary, wire artistry including ming trees, bead stringing, baroque jewelry, rock painting, introduction to geology and paleontology and collecting expeditions to accessible sights.

         Although we have this orientation, we will require that an adult accompany the participants; and will have some classes available to them. Meals and lodging will be provided and dry camping for RV's on site. We will keep the cost as low as possible and as projected will probably be in the $175.00 per person range.

         With the approval of the Executive Committee, the Earth Sciences Committee can proceed to establish some definite perimeters, and costs, and will keep the membership up dated as it becomes available.