Table of Contents
President's Message
Earth Science studies
Junior Activities Report
Prez Message Comment
From The Editor
All American Report
Competitive Entry Deadline
Knowing Where You Are

Carrizo Plain Plan
Program Library
CFMS Scholarship Fund
Pine Hill Preserve
Bulletin Contest
Cerro Gordo Mine Field Trip
Fossil Hunting
Something to do in May
Camp Paradise 2007 form

President's Message

By Dick Pankey, CFMS President

Dick Pankey - CFMS President -  2007

The California Federation•  s annual show and business meeting is fast approaching. This year the Palmdale G&MC has been working hard to make this an outstanding and special event. In addition to the •  typical•   things we have come to expect at a gem and mineral show, there will be several special events including a classic car show and RV show. Not only will there be this outstanding show, this is when we hold one of two Federation business meetings and when we recognize the work and accomplishments of our members.

I invite and encourage all club members who can, to attend the 68th Annual Tri-State Convention and Show this June 15 to 17 at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, CA. The Federation Show and Convention is a high point in our year and an event really worth attending. And it is not to late to enter a competitive case in the show. Or how about displaying your collection, or lapidary or jewelry skills with a non-competitive case. See your Federation Director or the CFMS web site for forms and details.

For the last several years I have promoted, encouraged and advocated for each club•  s Federation Director to attend our business meetings. These meetings are very important for the successful operation of the Federation and for the health and vitality of the Federation. The successful operation of the member clubs and the health and vitality of these clubs can be directly traced to the attendance and participation of their director. CFMS is not an entity unto itself, it is the member clubs, in total, that is the Federation. And without the participation and input from the clubs, through their directors, the Federation cannot function. It is important that each society have a Federation Director that can and will he or she attend the Directors•   Meeting to represent the society to the Federation and represent the Federation to the society.

In May, your director will be mailed the notice of the meeting, registration form, agenda and minutes of the last Directors•   Meeting. He/she should read and present this material to the club so that he/she can be instructed as to how to represent your club. The director should bring to the meeting any new business or ideas that the society wishes to be presented. Does your society have a Federation Director? Does he or she plan to attend this meeting? Can or will he or she attend this meeting? There are over 130 clubs and societies in CFMS and each one should be represented at the June Directors•   Meeting by their director or an alternate. Will your society be represented at the Board of Directors•   Meeting in Lancaster?

From Earth Science Studies

By Marion Roberts, E.S.S. Chair

Marion Roberts

We have just completed a very successful Zzyzx program just out of Baker. All of the instructors and kitchen help received absolutely super reviews on all of the evaluation sheets returned by the participants.

I personally thank each and everyone of them from the bottom of my heart for a great great job.

Vivien and I arrived there early to do the shopping and were greeted by 2 days of 101 degree weather, but it did cool to a very comfortable 70 to low 80 degree days. I also want thank Cal Clason for guiding me through my first program leadership.

I will be securing the dates for next year very shortly and will publish them as soon as possible.

I also want to thank all of the participants for coming and making the program a success. We had people here from as far away as Washington State, Utah, and Chicago, Ill. The number of projects and the quality of the work was absolutely incredible. The material returning from the field trips were also outstanding, thanks to Francis Pedneau and his hard work and knowledge.

Moving on to our next project Camp Paradise. I am here to Quell all the rumors that Camp Paradise is canceled or moved.

Make your vacation arrangements and prepare for the first two weeks of September because Camp Paradise is on. Something very drastic would have to happen to cause a cancellation. Applications will be available at least by the May newsletter.

Junior Activities Report

By Jim Brace-Thompson, Junior Activities Chair

Jim Brace-Thompson

Let•  s Go to the Show!

This month, I•  d like to turn to a topic of immediate relevance given the upcoming CFMS Show & Convention this June sponsored by the Palmdale Gem & Mineral Club at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster. Please encourage any and all pebble pups and junior members who may be able to attend to enter a display, competitive or not. Displaying at a regional or national federation show is always a unique opportunity. If your pebble pups and junior members haven•  t yet signed up, there•  s still time. Forms for entering displays are available for quick-and-easy downloading at the web site, You can also call (661) 916-9479 for show info, but don•  t delay! Exhibit entry deadlines for displays are May 15.

Why encourage your club•  s kids not just to attend but also display? A fun part of collecting and the lapidary arts is sharing what we•  ve found or made. We get to •  show off•   and also learn from others, getting advice, sharing tips, and just generally forging bonds of friendship and networks of like-minded individuals. (I often get phone calls or emails from people who have seen my fossil displays at local shows, and it•  s resulted in trading specimens, sharing field trip localities, and building friendships.)

But creating an effective display involves more than getting a glass-fronted box and throwing in a bunch of rocks. The junior program leader should obtain a copy of the AFMS Uniform Rules, read through it, and then hold a seminar with your club•  s kids to go over the basics of building an effective display. Such a seminar should be as hand-on as possible. Bring a variety of gem, mineral, fossil, or lapidary specimens in various shapes and sizes. Place a display case front-and-center, and then vividly illustrate display techniques (for instance, show the difference that lighting can make, show how specimens can get lost against a •  busy•   background of plaid versus how they can be highlighted against a neutral background like beige or eggshell white). You might also supply kids with a photocopied •  tip list•   of do•  s and don•  ts of displaying (e.g., use neutral linings; strive for balance; include neat, clear labels that are precise, concise, and large enough to read; make effective use of lighting; etc.). A nice touch, if any members in your club have such photos, is a brief slide show or photo album of award-winning cases from past local or federation shows. Finally, turn the kids loose to try out different arrangements and display techniques themselves and have them share critiques and ideas. One thing to resist: the urge to step in and design a child•  s display yourself. Any competitive exhibit should spring from the imagination and efforts of the individual child.

Once you•  ve taught your pebble pups the techniques of assembling an effective display, encourage and help them to gather together the best of their rock, mineral, or fossil collections or their lapidary artwork and prepare a display for the show. The rules for competitive exhibits can sometimes be challenging to follow, even for adults, so help guide kids through them. If your kids don•  t feel they have enough for an individual display, organize a collective club display. One way or another, let•  s go to the show!

Helping kids with their first big show display is a sure way to help them learn, build a network and•  as always•  have fun!

Comment on February President•  s Message

By Diana Paradis

In the February CFMS Newsletter our president, Mr. Pankey, discussed the need for more rockhounds to display exhibit cases at rock shows. I whole heartedly agree with him. When attending a show, one of the big attractions for my family is the display cases. Not only do we get to see a wide variety of fossils, rocks, gems and minerals, but we also get new ideas for methods in which to use these lapidary materials.

Putting together a display case is actually fun and easy. My daughter did her first display case when she was 12. We have found that absolutely NO ONE cares if, as a beginner in lapidary, your cabs, jewelry, or crafts aren•  t perfect. After all, everyone, at one time, was just starting out. Seasoned artisans are just as proud of their first pieces as you are. If you are not just beginning lapidary work, then your beautiful display cases will inspire others to greater efforts and teach them new ideas and methods.

In his message, our president was baffled by a reluctance of members to exhibit at shows. Some members are getting older, are tired, and don•  t do as much lapidary work as they used to. They are waiting for younger members to step up, •  take the banner•  , and run with it. As one of these younger members I would like to comment on why many of us don•  t exhibit display cases at shows.

Rockhounds in their 30•  s, 40•  s and even 50•  s fall into the group of people that have full time jobs and full time families. For most of us this means eight hour days, five days a week of work, plus evenings and Saturdays filled with running the kids to sports and academics. When I have displayed at shows it meant setting up at a specific time on a Friday, or early Saturday morning, and taking down on a Sunday. Between work and family there just isn•  t the time to drive two or three hours to a show and set up a display, especially at smaller shows that only have a small window of time to set up in. Picking up a display generally isn•  t a problem, as one can go early, get in on end of the show bargains, and then pack up the display.

I feel that, by cooperating within or between clubs, we can overcome this problem. If someone in a club, or even from another club in the near area, offered to be a coordinator and pick up (or just receive), drive to a show, and set up exhibits for the younger generation of rockhounds, more of us would be able to exhibit at a wider variety of shows. I know that I would be happy to create an exhibit to send to a show if I had help getting it there and getting it set up. It would be simple to create a pre-made display that just popped into a display case in three or four pieces. This display could still be a beautiful example of lapidary work, but one simple to set up and dismantle.

For all you old timers that are thinking that I am just making excuses, remember how much time work and family can involve. Then think about how nice it is to have younger lapidary members take an interest and get involved in all aspects of the club. Volunteering to take a few simple displays to a show that you may already be driving to will help bridge the gap between young and old rockhounds, create new friendships, and ensure that exhibits at shows do not become a fable of the past.

From the Editor

By CJ Quitoriano

CJ Quitorianl

Hey you all!

I hope everyone is getting used to this crazy weather?

Hopefully it will have settled down and stay nice and calm and COOL for the show in June! I•  m keeping my fingers crossed!

I am really looking forward to the show, and am planning on putting a case in the non-competitive displays. I hope everyone reading this is either putting one in the competitive or non-competitive? If not, you still have time! It is not hard, and you might win!

Even if you do not wish to complete you can still put a case in and have the judges take a look at it and have them critique it. This gives you some good pointers and ideas as to what is looked for in a competition.

I have entered many displays in the Ventura County Fair in the past, and the guidelines are the same, so if you want to enter in your fair, you can practice at our show and get some pointers!

Think about it! See you at the show!

Safety (Think health)
This is from Dr. Shealy's newsletter

By Chuck McKie CFMS Safety Chairman 2007

Chuck McKie

Each Monday you can tune-in and talk online with Dr. Shealy at Check Health & Wellness channel, March 19, at 11 AM, Central Time. The call-in number is:


C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. ©

One of the many karmic debts of our ex-Secretary of War is his fostering aspartame on the world. EQUAL is anything but equal, as if being equal to sugar is good!!

And of course the FDA is a co-conspirator in the crime of allowing this potentially poisonous material over the counter.

Aspartame UNEQUIVOCALLY worsens:

  • Hypertension
  • Migraine
  • Epilepsy
  • Obesity

Taken together these 4 major illnesses affect well over two-thirds of Americans. Other than the known biochemical damage in patients with the first 3 of these illnesses, aspartame contributes to excess weight and obesity because it artificially:

  • Stimulates your appetite
  • Increases carb cravings
  • Stimulates fat storage and weight gain!

Indeed, drinking a can a day of ''diet'' pop provides the average consumer an opportunity to add about 15 pounds per year. Indeed the calories in one can of regular ''Coke , 139, will also add only 15 pounds per year. But since people think diet is good, they are more likely to drink even more of this toxin. Now instead of a can of junk pop, you could enjoy the following for approximately the same number of healthier calories:

  • One banana
  • Two and a half apples
  • 7 oz of whole milk and skim would be better!
  • 4 teaspoons of butter
  • A whole grain roll
  • A container of yogurt
  • An oz of Bailey's Irish Cream (still better than pop!!)

The next great hoax, according to a recent news report, is the planned introduction by Coca-Cola in the spring of diet coke with added vitamins! JUNK IS JUNK and no amount of vitamin supplementation will make it healthy! Of course all ''artificial'' sweeteners have the same effect of fooling your hypothalamus and stimulating appetite, carb craving, and increased fat storage. We do not know yet whether the latest scam, Splendor , will have the additional harmful effect of worsening hypertension, migraine and epilepsy. But it has no health value. Real food is the answer.

The bottom line is:

Un-Equal is indeed a war upon your health! You can't afford the luxury of eating or drinking this reported ant poison. Or any other non-food junk!

All American Report

By Dot Beachler

Dot Beachler

The due date has passed and, sorry to state, California has only ONE book to represent all of the clubs in the California Federation.

This honor goes to the Sutter Buttes Gem and Mineral Society. This book is being judged and will be forwarded for the AFMS judging.

Now is the time for the rest of California to get to work assembling information for next year•  s book. Again, a suggestion is a committee to collect data from field trips, shows, exhibiting and special events. By starting early with several members assisting, the book practically assembles itself.

Give it a try, and let•  s have many clubs recording their club•  s history for future members.

Competitive Entry Deadline
May 20, 2007

By Dee Holland, Rules Committee

Dee Holland

Due to an oversight we neglected to put the deadline for competitive entries on the form. We will make the deadline May 20th, with no exceptions after that.

The entries this year, have been slow to come in. Hopefully you are all waiting till the last minute, otherwise there will be little in the way of competitive exhibits this year. A sad change from the previous two years.

By way of a little nudging from the past, here is what Jessie Hardman said a few years ago, •  Be a part of the history and tradition of exhibiting. All you need is an interest in the hobby, a collection, and a desire to share with others through exhibiting. If you are an exhibitor, an adventurer, and a competitive in nature, enter an exhibit into competition and set out on the quest for the blue ribbon.•  

Think what our shows would be like without exhibiting, then think what has made exhibiting successful. It•  s been competitive exhibiting that has lead the way to beautiful exhibits•  .

I await your applications to competitively exhibit at Lancaster•  .

Knowing Where You Are

By Dave Muster, Field Trip North

The purpose of knowing where you are is two fold. All field trip leaders need to know where they are and where they should not be.

Everyone knows that one may not collect on claimed land. Patented claims do not need to be marked on the ground. It is a collector•  s responsibility to know exactly where the boundaries of a claim are.

It is the responsibility of the field trip leader to check the status of the land and determine claim boundaries before people are led to an area with claims.

People attending the field trip are not going to check the land status for the field trip leader. It is a Federal Offense to collect on a mining claim unless permission has been granted in some way.

People on a field trip need to be notified of existing claims so that they do not collect on them. On unpatented claims, trespass is allowed but collecting is not allowed.

BLM Schedules Scoping Meetings for Carrizo Plain Plan

By Name, John Martin CFMS P.L.A.C South
Reprinted from News.bytes, issue 275 - BLM California

John Martin

The Bureau of Land Management will conduct scoping meetings in Central California to gather input on issues to be addressed in the Carrizo Plain National Monument draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement.

The meetings will be held in cooperation with the Monument Advisory Committee, and BLM's monument managing partners, The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Game.

•  Developing the management plan offers both the BLM and the community a unique opportunity to produce a comprehensive long-range plan •   one that will address current needs and guide us into the future,•   said Patty Gradek, acting manager for the BLM Bakersfield Field Office.

Public scoping meetings will be held:

  • April 24 at the San Luis Obispo Library, 995 Palm St . The library is less than one mile east of Highway 101 off the Osos exit. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. and finish at 7:30 p.m.
  • May 1 at the BLM Bakersfield Field Office, 3801 Pegasus Drive . The office is approximately one mile east of Highway 99 off the Porterville/Sequoia exit turn-off on Highway 65. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. and finish at 7:30 p.m.
  • May 5 at the California Valley Community Services District building on Soda Lake Road . The center is located approximately three miles south of Highway 58 adjacent to the California Valley Fire Station 42. This meeting is being held in conjunction with a Carrizo Monument Advisory Committee meeting. The planning effort will be discussed (with time for public scoping input) from 10 a.m. to noon. Lunch will be available for $8. The MAC meeting will then continue from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. focusing on other agenda topics related to the national monument.

Written scoping comments should be sent by June 12 to: Monument Manager Johna Hurl, Carrizo Plain National Monument , Bakersfield Field Office, 3801 Pegasus Drive , Bakersfield , Calif. 93308 .

BLM held a series of scoping meetings in 2002 when the planning process was initiated. Comments submitted during that process will be considered with comments received in the current process. If you previously submitted comments, you may provide additional comments or clarifications of those previously made.

As the next step in the planning process, BLM will develop a draft Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. Under the current schedule, the draft will be available for public review in early 2008. Public meetings will be held to gather comments on the draft. The draft and public comments will be used to develop a final Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision, which is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2008.

Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations should contact Johna Hurl at (661) 391-6093.

Slide, Video and CD-ROM Program Library

By Bill Gissler, CFMS Audiovisual Program Librarian

Bill Gissler

Library Additions:

Two new programs in VHS, DVD and CD-ROM format have been added to the CFMS Program Library. Both programs were winners in the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies 2006 Program Competition. And both were produced by members of the Heart of Wisconsin Gem & Mineral Society.

  1. "German Agates," a 36 minute program, was produced by Doug Moore with narration by John Heusinkveld. A truly professional program, it describes agates found in four different locations in central and southern Germany; and of course includes scenes of Idar-Oberstein and the Mosel River Valley. The "German Agates" program can be ordered as VHS-132, DVD-22, and CD-ROM- 7.
  2. "Those Fabulous Thundereggs, Part III," a 27 minute program, was produced by Doug Moore and Lee Kabat with narration by Susan Moore. It is a dazzling follow-up to their previous two programs. Although it focuses on Oregon Thundereggs, it does include a few descriptions of eggs found in New Mexico, California and Washington. "Those Fabulous Thundereggs, Part III" programs can be ordered as VHS-133, DVD-23, CD-ROM-8.

In June look for other new programs to be added on "Lake Superior Agates, Geology of Caves and Caverns, Exploring Art Clay Silver, Antarctica - A Frozen Laboratory, and Mineral Collecting Around Quartzsite and within the Los Angeles Area."

To place a program order between May 11 and June 15
contact Colleen McGann (;
the Gisslers are off to Greece.

How the CFMS Scholarship Fund Works

By Jo Anna Ritchey, Chair, CFMS Scholarship Committee

Jo Anna Ritchey

Your Club or Society can nominate someone as a Scholarship Honoree prior to the November Business Meeting.

The person must have made great contributions toward furthering the purposes and goals of the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies.

The person does not need to be a member of a Club or Society.

Honorees selected (to be announced at the November business meeting) will have the opportunity to offer a $2,000 scholarship to the college or university of their choice.

The scholarship will go to a student who will be attending that school as a junior or senior in the fall term, majoring in the Earth Sciences or Jewelry Arts, and achieving a 3.0 grade point average.

By October 15, 2007, write to:

Jo Anna Ritchey, Chair, CFMS Scholarship Committee
224 Oaks Ave., Monrovia, CA 91016

Pine Hill Preserve
2007 Spring Wildflower
Guided Field Trips Scheduled

John Martin

By Name, John Martin CFMS P.L.A.C. South
Reprinted from News.bytes, issue 275 - BLM California

Located in western El Dorado County , Pine Hill Preserve is home to a collection of eight rare plant species.

These plants grow in a roughly oval area centering on Green Valley Road and stretching from Folsom Lake in the north to Highway 50 in the south. The entire preserve encompasses approximately 3,000 acres. Three of the plant species that grow in the Pine Hill Preserve are endemic, which means they grow nowhere else in the world. Two more species are nearly endemic, with only a few plants found elsewhere. This assemblage of rare plants is part of a unique community confined to soils known as the Rescue soils, named after the nearby community of Rescue, CA.

Rescue soils have unusual properties derived from the underlying gabbro rock. They are generally red, mildly acidic, rich in iron and magnesium, and often contain other heavy metals.

Seven hundred distinct plant species have been recorded in the Rescue soil areas and the adjoining serpentine and metamorphic rocks. This means that 10% of the native plant species in California can be found in this tiny fraction of the state!

Pine Hill Preserve's Rare Plants

The Pine Hill Preserve is operated under a cooperative management agreement between the following agencies and organizations:

  • California Department of Fish and Game
  • California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
  • El Dorado County
  • El Dorado Irrigation District
  • U.S Bureau of Land Management
  • U.S.Bureau of Reclamation
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • American River Conservancy

The Preserve needs, and appreciates our dedicated Volunteers!!

For more information contact:

Barb Williams, Volunteer Coordinator

Graciela Hinshaw, Preserve Manager

Bureau of Land Management
Folsom Field Office
63 Natoma St. Folsom, CA 95630
or call...
916- 985-4474

Bulletin Contest

By Terry Yoschak, Bulletin Aids Chair

Terry Yoschak

The entries for the 2007 contest (bulletins and articles published in calendar year 2006) have been sent to the judges and they have completed their evaluations.

We had some great entries this year: many new editors, many junior articles, and even some poetry! First Place winners will be announced at the CFMS Banquet on Saturday, June 16 in Lancaster, CA, as part of the •  50 Years of Rock n•   Gems•   Show hosted by the Palmdale Gem & Mineral Club. On the next morning at the Editors•   Breakfast (Sunday, June 17) I will re-announce the First Place winners and present all the other awards.

I will be mailing letters to those whose entries scored in the top five of each category, as an incentive for you to attend the show and the banquet and the breakfast.

In a rather odd situation this year, the AFMS show occurs a week BEFORE our CFMS show. Since our top three CFMS entries in each category are sent on to compete in the AFMS Bulletin Contest, it is possible that we may know the AFMS winners in June as well. Normally we do not know the AFMS winners until late summer. We•  ll see!

CFMS Field Trip June 24th - Cerro Gordo Mine

By Lew Helfrich

Only open 1 day a year to rock hounding.

There is a CFMS Field Trip scheduled for June 24th 2007 by one of our Co-Op sister clubs (Lone Pine Gem and Mineral Club) to go to the Cerro Gordo Mining Ghost Town.

Rock Hounding is only open 1 day a year. This is the 11th annual trip that the lone Pine Club has hosted. There is a $5.00 fee per person and proceeds go to the restoration of the mining town.

There are 50 different types of minerals to be found with the most sought after mineral being "Smithsonite".

Smithsonite is only found in 2 areas in the United States 1 being the "Kelly Mine" in New Mexico and the Cerro Gordo Mine here in California. The most precious to find in both areas is the Kelly Blue.

Things to bring are standard rock hounding hand tools , Good boots, sun screen water and food. Although the roads are good a high clearance vehicle is recommended, Altitude is at 8500 feet . A letter of release of liability must be signed.

Also those with disabilities please make field trip rep aware of your problem just incase there is a situation where help is needed Diabetics, Heart problems, etc.

For further information please contact:

Francis Pedneau
at 1(760)876-4319

This will be a great trip for every one. If you think your CFMS club in the Southern California Region might be interested in joining the Southern California Field trip Co-Op Please have the President or field trip chairman contact me. Lew Helfrich

Fossil Hunting Near Bakersfield

By Name, Shep Koss

Bakersfield, California - located in the southern portion of the San Joaquin Valley it's bisected by State Route 99 with I-5 nearby.

As many drive through heading north or south, most see only farm lands, ranches, growing urban areas, the Sierras to the east, the Coastal Range to the west or the Tehachapi Mtns to the south. What few see is the richest Middle Miocene marine fossil bed in the world. Over 110 square miles of fossil bed surround Bakersfield, the remnants of a great sea.

The Temblor Formation, or Round Top Formation, rivals and exceeds the great Calvert Formation of Maryland in quantity, quality and diversity of marine fossil species. This formation has produced fossils from a variety of dolphins, whales, turtles and over 27 species of rays and sharks ranging from under 6 inches to over 60 feet. Also found are porpoise, seals, sea lions, walrus, sea cows, marine crocodiles and a hippopotamus- type creature called Desmostylus which grew to over 10 feet in length.

Being less than an hour's drive from where I live I've spent much of the last four years collecting in trenches up many of the hillsides in the area near the world-famous Sharktooth Hill which has been in private hands these last many years. During this time I've dug out and sifted through enough dirt to cover a football field and have been rewarded with 100's of shark teeth from over a dozen species, much various whalebone, numerous teeth from rays, whales and dolphins, a Desmostylus molar, discs from many whales, sharks and fish, and rarity of rarities, TWO sea lion brain endocasts, one of which was found inside a skull with attached teeth. This particular find was donated to the paleontological Dept of the LA Museum of Natural History. Unfortunately, the rest of the skeleton was destroyed by other fossil hunters in their search for teeth,a not uncommon practice by uninitiated hunters.

A complete sea lion (Allodesminus) remains a rare find. For the uninitiated, an endocast is a natural mold made from local minerals. When the brain, soft tissue, decomposes, it leaves a cavity which fills with minerals and sediment leaving a cast of the brain. Only the outside of the cast shows detail as the inside remains "plain" mineral. My most detailed endocast shows left/right hemispheres, brainstem, occipital nodes, olfactory nodes and cranial veining.

When hiking these high arid rolling hills it's hard to imagine this was once ocean with a great offshore island and rivers flowing out of the Sierra "hills". But much has changed in the last 12-15 million years and the ocean is now about 50 miles away. Now these hills are covered in scrub brush and grass frequently being munched on by roaming herds of sheep or undergoing formation for housing developments. You also have to remain aware of rattlesnakes, the errant coyote scorpions and one particular squirrel with an attitude.

I made the mistake one hot summer day while digging and shared some water with this thirsty, fuzzy rodent. Afterwards, he felt entitled to rummaging through my backpack for food absconding with a banana and half a danish. Since that day I swear he waits for me hiding in the grass and shrubs to dig his way into my supplies. I fear the day he'll hunt me down, accompanied by his relatives, and carry off everything I've lugged up those hills. Don't laugh! It's happened to me before where I live. I made the mistake of sharing some oreos with a family of passing raccoons who returned he following night with over 20 of their closest friends and relatives, staring at me through my windows waiting for oreo handouts!!

Well, back to fossil hunting. The well-armed digger would come armed with a shovel, sifting screen, pry bar, hammer, chisels and screwdriver. Also plenty of water, sunscreen, a hat and the knowledge this is a high Valley Fever area (where in southern California isn't?).

Aside from carefully searching the narrow bone layer for fossils, examine concretions (hardened silt in this case) for what they may contain inside. Thee concretions lie in a layer 1-3 feet above the bone layer and below the overburden. Be VERY careful of overburden collapse. The concretions range in size from an apple to over beach ball size. Like geodes, they may contain a pleasant surprise inside. And don't discard those bone fragments, any have agatized centers and many others tumble beautifully.

For those of you who enjoy fossil hunting think of the Bakersfield area the next time you drive through. There're more than ranches, farms and oil wells. There's fossils in "them thar hills".....and a squirrel with an attitude.

Something to Do in May

By John Martin •   P.L.A.C. South
Reprinted from News.bytes, issue 274 - BLM California

Cache Creek Discovery Day 2007

A day filled with natural resource discovery awaits northern California residents of all ages, when the Bureau of Land Management, resource conservation districts and other partners host Cache Creek Discovery Day, Saturday, May 19.

Billed as a time to •  celebrate watershed stewardship,•   the event is free and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is part of the statewide observance of May as •  Watershed Awareness Month.•  

All events will be based at the BLM•  s new Cowboy Camp equestrian trailhead on Highway 16, one mile south of Highway 20 in Colusa County. Events include guided hikes onto BLM lands adjacent to the new Cache Creek Wilderness, wildlife viewing and Native American crafts and demonstrations. Still other activities will focus on birds, wildlife tracks and signs, native plants, habitat restoration and stream biology. Participants can enjoy picnic lunches or join in a barbecue lunch offered for a small fee.

•  We•  re even planning an exhibit with a small herd of goats to show how they can be used to control invasive weeds,•   said Gregg Mangan, manager of the BLM Cache Creek Natural Area.

The Cache Creek watershed contains diverse landscapes including rugged, forested mountains, seasonal wetlands, ranches and farms where organic practices are followed, and extensive agricultural areas. It provides year-round habitat for bald eagles and tule elk, white water rafting opportunities and irrigation water for Yolo County•  s productive agricultural economy.

The event is being organized by a large group of partners including the BLM Ukiah Field Office, Lake and Yolo counties, the Cache Creek Conservancy, Tuleyome, Lake County Sierra Club, UC McLaughlin Mine Reserve, Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, and the Yolo, West Lake and Colusa Resource Conservation Districts. Many other local organizations are involved as well.

More information is available at:
Reprinted from News.bytes, issue 274 - BLM California John Martin •   P.L.A.C. South