Vol. XLIII, No. 2 --- February 2006

CFMS Newsletter

Table of Contents
The President's Corner
CFMS Show News
From the Desk of Heidi
All American Club
Recognition and Membership
JR Activities
CFMS Field Trip to Wiley's Well
A Note
Tax Advisor Information
Slide, Video, and CD Additions
Tucson Talk - Definitions
Rx For Attracting New Members
Best Sources

The President's Corner

By Colleen McGann, CFMS President

CFMS President

COMMUNICATIONS is the key word for February. I first want to remind all the CFMS societies that CFMS dues were due to Pat LaRue in January. You were also to include your new list of officers and your 2005 membership roster. You were to indicate which three club members were to receive the FREE copies of the CFMS and AFMS newsletters. These newsletters are our best method of communication for our rock community. Do not miss out on this opportunity of communication to know what is happening in California and around the country.

I sit here in the January rain, thinking about the events CFMS offers its club members every year. There are two Directors meetings, one with our CFMS show. There are the two Earth Science Seminars, Zzyzx and Camp Paradise, where you can learn and practice many different rock associated activities, such as field trips for rock collecting, soft or hard rock carving, beading, wire wrap art, lapidary, silver smithing and more.

These same activities, well attended at the Federation level, can occur in our clubs too. How many clubs have these activities? The activities your club offers are a draw for new members, so the more there are the better for your club. I would like to hear back from the clubs on how their activities and events bring in new members. Shared communication helps our societies to grow membership. Clubs working together add visibility within our communities. Look at how your club can increase visibility this year.

CFMS Show News

By Claude Huber

This is the first in a series of articles to inform you about the coming speakers and special exhibitors at the CFMS & CGMS Federation Show, Angels Camp Fairgrounds, 9-11 June 2006. We are excited and proud to tell you about our lineup for the show.

Special Exhibitor:

Alan Schaffert is a local physician and an amateur paleontologist with a passion for marine fossils. He found his first fossil by accident at age thirteen when he and his brothers were throwing rocks on a stony beach in Northern Michigan. One rock shattered as it landed and out popped a perfect brachiopod. It was awesome and he was hooked. Many more rocks were enthusiastically cracked that afternoon, alas, they were all duds. Far from being disappointed, this object lesson only served to whet his appetite for collecting more fossils.

Over the next 40 years, Alan has collected specimens from Michigan, Colorado, Utah, and California. He has also purchased numerous marine fossils from around the world. His interests include Cretaceous ammonites and invertebrates from some of the classic fossil deposits known as Lagerstatten. Lagerstatten are fossil deposits that exhibit extraordinary preservation and completeness of the plants and animals from a particular era.

Alan is new to exhibiting and is very pleased to share specimens from his collection. He hopes that the public will enjoy learning about them as much as he does.

The Exhibit: "Sea Dragons and Snake Stones"

While the dinosaurs ruled the land, aquatic reptiles or "Sea Dragons" ruled the oceans. Some Sea Dragons were relatively small and others reached gigantic proportions weighing up to 8 tons with a head larger than a T-Rex! These were the top predators of the ancient waters. Almost all animals were potential prey. Have you ever wondered what a Tylosaur would eat? The answer is simple, anything it wanted! Come and enjoy the mysterious and frightful world of the Plesiosaurs, Ichthyosaurs, and Mosasaurs. Full sized three dimensional casts will be on display during the show.

The great ocean going reptiles lived in a very different ocean than exists today. There were many strange and exotic creatures. The ammonites or "Snake Stones" were squid-like animals inhabiting a great variety of shells. Some had bizarre shapes and others grew up to 8 feet across! There were giant clams with giant pearls. The fish were very different species than we see today. Some of the fantastic specimens on display will be sure to capture your imagination.

From the Desk of Heidi

By Heidi Mauer

Hello, Heidi Mauer here,

For the past four years I've had the opportunity to assist Patt McDaniel in her business of providing the best coverages available at the best pricing for Non-profit Insurance to clubs & organizations. Besides Specializing in Non-profit Insurances, Patt also writes General Liability, Professional Liability, Commercial Business, Bond, Health & Life Insurance.

Before I started working for Patt, I had no idea what any of these insurances were, and had no idea about my own personal coverages. With Patt's ongoing patience I've learned a lot about insurance and even more that I ever cared to know about this subject that I have always avoided! After seeing the lengthy time to obtain the best policy for each client, I can appreciate Patt and her dedication to her clients. Truly and sincerely, my job satisfaction comes from being of assistance to Patt and her clients.

I have especially enjoyed being of assistance to all the CFMS member clubs, their Special Events & Certificate requests, and now processing the new Directors & Officers insurance program, which we are taking applications for on an ongoing basis. I also have been tracking the return of the Coverages & Responsibilities sheets, and to date there are 45 outstanding. The information on these is confidential, for our reference only and they are filed safely in our secured office. If you think you might be one of the 45 clubs, please call us (800- 400-7288) and I'll be glad to check if we have received yours!

As always, any changes to your club's property coverage or premises liability, please contact Patt McDaniel to be sure your coverages are kept current. It is my pleasure to work for Patt and each of you! Have a great year "rocking"!

All American Club

By Dot Beachler, CFMS All American Club Chair

Last month sections 1,2 and 3 of the All American entry form were briefly reviewed. As promised, this month will continue starting with section 4.

Section 4 shows member support:

  • Programs for other clubs
  • Field trips with other clubs
  • Demonstrate/display at other club shows
  • Attending club shows,Federation shows/AFMS shows
  • Support CFMS/AFMS Scholarship and Endowment Funds
  • Serve as Federation/AFMS officer, committee chair or committee member
  • Exchange bulletins with other clubs.

Section 5 covers community relations:

  • Talks or demonstrations at local schools or for local groups
  • Displays at local public sites
  • Donate materials to schools, nursing homes, etc.
  • Maintain a booth or activity at a local event

Section 6 refers to government agency/legislative relations. Did members:

  • Serve on any government agency committee
  • Comment on any government proposal
  • Write representatives regarding access to collecting from sites
  • Support other lobbying organizations [ex: ALAA]

Section 7 is overall presentation:

  • Neatness
  • Organization
  • Grammar and spelling.

Again, copies of supporting materials include: fliers, show ads, photos and letters. Check with the secretary's minutes, club members, newsletters and newspapers This information will be your club's history for this past year. How well did your club do? Is there an area that needs a little attention? Hope to see your club entered in the All American contest. Good luck.

Remember: Deadline is February 28, 2006!!!

Recognition and Membership

By Richard Pankey, First Vice President

The CFMS and AFMS have a number of programs that recognize individuals, members, and clubs and societies. Every year CFMS, and by that I mean the clubs/societies and the members, have several opportunities to recognize, thank and honor one of their members or a non-member who makes a contribution to our hobby and goals. There is the Education Through Sharing Award, CFMS Scholarship Honoree, AFMS Scholarship Honoree, Golden Bear Award for service to the Federation, Bulletin and author competition, and I am sure I am missing some others.

Unfortunately we struggle every year to get nominations for these awards. It is so easy to make a nomination: select a deserving person or couple that your club wants to honor (every club has many deserving members), write a letter of nomination with the reasons they are disserving of the award and mail it to the appropriate committee. It is that easy and you will make someone very proud and honored to be thought of as deserving by their club. Saying "thank you for your service" is so easy and it doesn't cost the club anything and the rewards are great for everyone.

The All American Club competition is recognition for the whole club. It is so easy to do, just collect articles, stories, letters, pictures, etc. and make a scrapbook. In reality this is a competition of "Brag Books." It records and documents the activities and accomplishments of your club for the year. Your club historian is (or should be) collecting much of the needed documentation already. The best time to start this project is at the beginning of the year by getting the forms and the rules from the All American Club Chairman. Plan out the information to be collected and assign photographers and reporters. Collect and file this information throughout the year. Prepare your book in December and January then submit it by the end of February. It is that easy!

A special committee evaluates and scores each book against the criteria outlined in the forms, not against each other. Certificates are awarded based on the score: 70 to 79 points, Bronze Award, 80 to 89 points, Silver Award and 90 to 100 points, Gold Award. After the CFMS judging the books are sent to AFMS for judging. AFMS awards certificates and medallions based on the same scoring system.

For some reason very few clubs participate in the All American Club competition. A couple of clubs enter regularly every year or two. These clubs have a great record of the club's activities and accomplishments. What do all the rest of the clubs have? These books are a great membership tool. When a guest or prospective member asks, "what does a your rock club do?" your All American Club "brag book" has the answers. If your clubs has been participating you already have your resource. Don't hide it away in the library or someone's bookshelf. Bring it to all of your meetings to share with the members and guests. With the interest and emphasis on membership this coming year every club should start working on their All American Club book. This will make your membership chairman happy and will make Dot Beachler, All American Club Chairman do cartwheels (extremely happy).

A few more words about member recognition. All the hard working dedicated members do what they do for the club, because they enjoy what they are doing not for medals and certificates. However, a thank you is probably well disserved and appreciated and it helps fight "burnout." And a nomination for one of the CFMS honors really says that the club recognizes their contribution. This can help with member retention. People like to be part of an organization that recognizes and appreciates its members. Have your Federation Director get the information about all the CFMS honors and review your members to decide who deserves a Big Thank You, who you should recognize and honor.

JR Activities

By Jim Brace-Thompson, Juniors Activities Chair

When it comes to educating young minds, there's an ally in your community who's hard to beat: your local librarian! Here are some ideas on how to go about working with your public library to help inform the kids in your club about various aspects of the rockhounding hobby.

Visit the library to make and maintain a list of books and magazines related to the earth sciences and lapidary arts that are available in their stacks. Give the kids in your club a copy of the list to keep as a reference to guide them toward books that will help them cultivate and build their interests, whether it be rocks, minerals, fossils, jewelry making, field tripping, etc.

Take the kids on a field trip to talk with the librarian. In addition to guiding the kids to books, magazines, maps, and other resources that are physically present within the walls of the library, the librarian might also be able to show them books available through interlibrary loan and resources they can connect to via the Internet. (Most libraries today have computers with web links to a wealth of on-line resources and databases.)

Perhaps help your club's kids become "benefactors" to the library. As a group, talk with the librarian to see what new books on geology, paleontology, mineralogy, and lapidary arts might be of value for the community as a whole. Work with the kids to come up with a fund-raising project and arrange to purchase new books from your library fund to donate to the public library. A library isn't a static collection and would likely welcome help in continuing to grow and cultivate their offerings to match the interests and needs of the community.

Talk with local librarians and tell them about your club. They may be interested in helping arrange fun activities. For instance, I've worked with several libraries that welcomed one-month installations of rockhound displays in their lobby display cases incorporating books about the hobby. This could become a fun and interesting project for your club's kids. I've also worked with two libraries that made fossils and dinosaurs a "summer theme" for their kids book collection and sponsored weekly story-time readings as well as presentations by fossil collectors from the local club and elsewhere. Librarians might be interested in helping to start a "rockhound book club" at the library for young readers to meet and share comments about hobby-related books they've read.

As I noted at the beginning of this month's column, your local librarians are likely your best allies for opening up the world of references and published resources to assist your kids and to deepen their knowledge about our hobby. So head to the library, introduce yourself as the juniors leader for your club, and open up the possibilities for helping kids learn while•  as always•  having fun!

CFMS Field Trip to Wiley's Well
November 23 - 27, 2005 (Thanksgiving Weekend)

By Bob Fitzpatrick
CFMS Field Trip Chair South

All 88 of us who signed the disclaimer plus a few who didn't had a wonderful time on this field trip. We all found lot's of great material and the weather was nice for most of the weekend.

Day One, Wednesday:
I arrived at the camping area around 12:30 p.m. and was greeted by some of our group that had arrived earlier and already had the campsite in good shape. That first night around the campfire was the start of some great evenings filled with a lot of stories, jokes and previous adventures.

Day Two, Thursday (Thanksgiving Day):
We planned on leaving around 8 a.m. and driving over to the Pebble Terrace area for a few hours and be back at camp by 1:00 to get ready for our Thanksgiving potluck dinner. The road over Opal hill was in really bad shape, but all 18 vehicles made it over and back without any problems.

After arriving at the collecting site, I explained what we were looking for and how and where to find it. We spent most of the morning walking around looking for marine life fossils, petrified wood and jasper-agate in many colors. Much of the material was laying on top of the ground, so all of us were able to find lots of nice collectibles.

When we got back to camp there was a large group getting the food ready to eat. There was so much food, turkey with all the trimmings and all kinds of tasty food to go with it. To finish off the day, we enjoyed another great time around the fire before bedtime.

Day Three, Friday:
At 8:00 a.m. we decided to drive to the town of Palo Verde so everyone could get gas and any supplies they needed and then stop by Kinney's Rock Shop before getting petrified wood. When we arrived at Kinney's Rock Shop we found out it was closed and that they gone to Mexico for the weekend. While we were there, we spent some time looking at all of his petrified wood and different types of rough rock material from all over the Southwest. He had lo's of nice stuff and several of us wanted to purchase some of his items but because he was closed, it saved us several hundred dollars. All 23 vehicles were off to the Arizona side of the Colorado River to collect petrified wood where some nice specimens found.

After a great time in Arizona we went back to California to our campsite for another nice time around the fire in the evening.

Day Four, Saturday:
Today was the day for us to dig for geodes and nodules, so at 8:00 we were off. For the next few hours all 24 vehicles were off to the back side of the Hauser Beds and from there we went to the Cinnamon Beds. We all had to work really hard at digging for the geodes, they didn't jump in our buckets. I dug up around 75 pounds, a few of them the size of softballs, I can't wait to cut them.

Back at camp some of our group had packed up and were leaving for their homes. The ones who stayed had another great time around the fire.

Day Five, Sunday:
This was an open day, everyone could do anything they wanted to do. By sundown most of our group had left to go home, another great night around the fire.

Day Six, Monday:
Almost everyone had left, so I packed up and headed for home too.

We had a few little problems on this trip, but with so many people I guess we should expect some. For the most part, we all had an enjoyable time and of course all of us "rockhounds" can't wait to go out again and bring home our treasures to show our friends. Come join us on an upcoming trip, I'll bet you'll be glad you did.

Tote That Rock, Lift That

By Mel Albright

One thing that we rockhounds do a whole bunch - pick up rocks - little rocks, bigger rocks, and big rocks. Rocks by themselves, rocks in boxes, rocks in buckets, rocks in sacks - all are ways we collect and move rocks. And heavy tool bags are lifted all too often. The classic joke picture of rockhounds is a bunch of people standing with straight legs, bent over at the waist, and touching the ground with their hands. It is too often true, unfortunately.

Another thing we rockhounds do is put those heavy tools and rocks into a vehicle - or take them out. - often by swinging things. And - the result is a lot of bad backs, sore backs, back strains, sometimes even permanently damaged backs. So, we need to learn - AND PRACTICE - the proper way to lift and lower heavy stuff (actually - light stuff, too) without hurting ourselves. To lift and move something, several steps should be followed. We'll pretend we're picking up a rock, but the rules are the same for ANYTHING we pick up - even our dirty socks.

  1. Stand with your feet apart about shoulder width, the rock between your feet, and one foot slightly in front of the other (for balance).
  2. Lower yourself by bending your knees until you can grab the rock. The rock should be close to your body. Keep your back straight and your chin tucked in.
  3. SLOWLY lift the rock by straightening up your knees pushing with your leg muscles. Keep the rock in close to your body. Do NOT twist sideways.
  4. Once standing, DO NOT TWIST your back. To move the rock sideways, turn with your feet. Keep the rock in close to your body.
  5. Once you get where you are going with the rock, reverse the steps you used to lift the rock. Remember - KEEP YOUR BACK STRAIGHT!!
  6. If the rock must go into a trunk or car or whatever, set it down on the edge keeping a straight back. Then slide it into the vehicle. Most of us will bend over at the waist and swing it in - a sure way to get a bad back!
  7. You aren't SUPERMAN OR WOMAN! If the rock or bucket or bag is too heavy for you to carry easily, do it another way! Get help. Use a skid made from a heavy cloth or a wood slat with a rope tied to the end. Roll the rock using a long handled tool to pry with. Use your ingenuity!

From AFMS Newsletter, 4/98

A Note

By Chuck McKie

I had a request for info about reprinting my articles from the City of Phoenix on safety, but my computer - not me!- lost the person's address. Anyway, others may have the same concern so here is my note:

Thank you for your interested in our articles. We have no issue with you republishing the articles as they are already in the public domain.

If you could put the following text at the end that would be great - "Reprinted by Kind Permission of Phoenix Safety - www.phoenixsafety.ie ". Please let us know if there's any way we can be of further assistance to you or your members.

Kind regards,
Sean Fennell, Director

Tax Advisor Information

By Mike Kokinos

Just received IRS notice that the fee for application for new or change of tax exemption is increasing July 1, 2006. Those applying with gross receipts less than $10,000 annually will pay a $300.00 fee instead of $150.00. Those with gross receipts of $10,000 or more annually will pay a $900.00 fee rather than $500.00.

If you are contemplating filing for a new or change in tax exemption, I highly recommend you start the process as soon as possible. Prior to filing the application you may need to update articles of incorporation and bylaws to ensure they meet current IRS requirements.

The Corporate Compliance Center continues to try and secure $150.00 from a non-profit organization for preparing the annual meeting minutes. There is no doubt that there should be minutes of the meeting and that they become part of the permanent records of a society. However, there is no logical reason to pay anyone $150.00 to prepare minutes that your Secretary completes as a part of his/her duties.

My recommendation is to put their notice in the nearest circular file (wastebasket). If you have any questions, you can email me at zeileitz@directcon.net.

Slide, Video, and CD Additions
To The CFMS Program Library

by Bill Gissler

New slides, videos and CDs, which were purchased with funds from the AFMS Endowment Funds, are now available in the CFMS slide, video and CD program library. To borrow these programs, contact your club Federation Director for an order form which was included in the 2006 Slide and Video Program Catalog distributed at the November 2005 CFMS Directors meeting. The Slide and Video Program Catalog with order forms can also be found on the CFMS web site or a hard copy can be obtained from Pat LaRue, Executive Secretary/Treasurer for $1.50, postage included.

The two 2005 Program Award winners, both by Doug Moore of the Wisconsin Gem & Mineral Society, earned the AFMS "Four Star" award in the annual program competition.

The first program "Those Fabulous Thundereggs - Part Two" is a follow up to the Part One which won the award in 2004. In the Part Two program the Oregon thundereggs are presented in greater detail. Information is provided on the different types, their location, how to identify them and how to cut them to properly reveal the cavity within. The program is available in three forms: (1) a 29 minute VHS video; (2) a 29 minute DVD video; and (3) a CD power point with narration.

The second program is entitled "Sedimentary and Vein Agates." It answers questions like: How do agates form in volcanic rocks? How can you recognize varieties that developed in sedimentary environments? And what is the general geology and specific characteristics of different varieties? To answer these and other questions, Doug presents outstanding pictures and interesting narration exploring these agates from notable locations in the U.S. and around the world. The program is available in four forms: (1) a 128 slide show with script; (2) a 46 minute VHS video; (3) a 46 minute DVD; and (4) a CD power point with narration.

Tucson Talk - Definitions

By George Campbell Ososoft Mineral

  • Keystone: 1/2 the price marked. The real retail price. Wholesale is less in most cases, as long as you buy in flat quantities.
  • Double Keystone: 1/4 the price marked. This stuff has been in the dealer's stock for years and hasn't sold, despite being at Tucson for two decades. But....look closely at this stuff...the dealer hasn't looked at it for years and there may be a Sleeper(see below) in there.
  • Wholesale: The price everyone but you is paying for the same specimens.
  • Flat: How my wallet looks after returning from Tucson. Also a flat cardboard box, roughly 12"x18" in size, more or less full of specimens, generally boxed and labeled.
  • Mexican Flat: A flat with no boxes....each specimen wrapped in very interesting foreign-language newspapers you can read after you get home. NOTE: The newspaper also hides the dings, bruises, and cracks. (see below)
  • Killer Specimen: One you can't afford
  • Sleeper: That elusive specimen in the flat, which the seller missed. As in a Powellite specimen in a flat of cheap Indian zeolites.
  • Keeper: A specimen so overpriced that the dealer will be taking it home.
  • Flat Price: How much you pay for the entire flat. Generally, there's one specimen in there that makes the whole flat look good.
  • NFS: Not for sale. But everything's for sale.
  • Kid Rocks: Cheap specimens kept on hand so everyone buys <>
  • New Find: The dealer just found this flat of specimens in the back of the storage locker just before the show.
  • Type Locality: Where you wish the specimen you're looking at came from.
  • Gemmy: You can see some light through the crystal, as long as the light is a halogen lamp.
  • Cutting Rough: Oops...the hydraulic trimmer worked a little too well.
  • Museum Specimen: A specimen too large to fit in any cabinet affordable by a collector. Double Keystone on this.
  • Clearance Specimens: Buy these or they'll be in the motel dumpster when the show's over.
  • Rare Species: Anything not available in at least 50% of the rooms at the show.
  • Mexico: The default locality for any specimen which has an unknown locality (See also: Pakistan) (See also: Russia)

Rx For Attracting New Members

By Ed Pederson

Two trends are prevalent in nearly every club: declining numbers and increasing age.

Part of this decline is due to a "passing fad" (those with marginal interest drop out). Another part of the decline is due to "burn out" and some is due to members and/or clubs "getting in a rut" and dropping or de-emphasizing activities that attract new members.

To understand how the interests affect the type of new members acquired, we need to look at some generalizations about our hobby. The following statements are gross over-simplifications based on real and perceived attitudes of rockhounds and the general public:

  1. 1•  Mineral collecting is only for people with money.
  2. 2•  Lapidary work is the only part of rockhounding that you don't need a college degree for (the I'm not smart enough to collect minerals or fossils syndrome).
  3. 3•  Lapidary work, especially faceting, takes a lot of expensive equipment and space.
  4. 4•  You have to be retired to have enough time to cut and polish rocks. (The most nearly true).
  5. The net result of these attitudes is that many individuals who might be prospective club members are scared off. Combining this with a club structure and activities schedule determined by a club leadership composed mostly of older members (those willing to work and have the time) further reduces the chances of attracting new members. According to my unofficial survey, the valuable and desirable new members are young adults and middle-aged adults (ages 20 to 50). If this is true, a club effort to target these individuals is required.

    What factors are important to these individuals?

    1. 1•  A wide range of hobby activities (minerals, fossils, lapidary) and opportunity to learn (study groups, classes, field trips, etc.) Club meeting programs that are diverse and interesting.
    2. 2•  Club meeting times that fit the schedules of working people, especially those with smaller children.
    3. 3•  A minimum of work requirements.
    4. 4•  A maximum of field trips and other "exciting events".
    5. 5•  A minimum of club business conducted at meetings. Members come to visit and see the program, not hear something they can read in the newsletter.
    6. 6•   A strong emphasis on "show and tell" at meetings (display tables for before and after meeting discussions.)
    7. Tucson Talk cont...

      • Bruise: A small ding
      • Ding: A large bruise
      • Crack: A feature of a specimen....<> caused in situ and never by human hands.
      • Healed Fracture: See UV Lamp
      • UV Lamp: An ultraviolet lamp used to:
        1. 1. Check healed fractures.
        2. 2. Find sleepers.
        3. 3. Knock over "killer specimens."
        4. 4. Cause premature cataracts.
        5. 5. Locate fluorescent specimens.
      • Wholesale Only: Sign outside of rooms containing mostly stuff you don't want anyhow. Ignore the sign if you like.
      From AFMS Newsletter, 4/98

      Best Sources

      From The Pick & Shovel,
      via SCFMS Newsletter, 7/95

      What are the best sources of new members of all ages?

      1. Club show.
      2. Offering classes or study groups to the local community (senior centers, recreation agencies, parks and recreation districts).
      3. Work of mouth.
      4. Displays at schools, libraries, museums and visitor centers.

      What about youth groups? Youth groups are a very workwhile and satisfying activity, but will not contribute members. The youth members are a byproduct adults bringing their kids, not the other way around.