Table of Contents
President's Message
From Your Editor (2008)
All American Report
CFMS Field Trip North
Junior Activities
Bulletin Aids
Golden Bear Award
Field Trip Seminar

Rockhound Rendezvous
Webmaster Contest
Public Lands Advisory
from Desk of Sheri George
CFMS Insurance
CFMS Scholarship Committee
Long Range Planning

President's Message

By Bural LaRue, CFMS President

Bural LaRue - CFMS President -  2007

President•  s Message By Bural LaRue

Farewell but not Good-bye!

This year has flown by faster than those jets I used to work on. It was a good year with only one or two small snags that had to be dealt with.

Our Earth Science Studies programs were well attended. Financially we did end up in the black on both camps. We had a large number of new people attending and all had a great time. Several clubs are sponsoring a club member to camp now. That•  s a great way to keep a happy member.

We didn•  t have any clubs volunteering to host our shows at the beginning of the year. I•  m proud to say that now we have 2009 and 2010 spoken for and a bid will be presented at Visalia for the 2011 show.

Our show hosted by CFMS this year was a big success. I•  m proud to say it was well attended and was financially successful. I want to thank all of you who helped put it together.

I also thank all those who served on committees this past year. You made my job easier. I hope your clubs acknowledge all the extra work you do as a CFMS representative. My hat goes off to all of you.

I bid you farewell, but not good-bye. You•  ll find me working somewhere on behalf of CFMS, the best organization on the west coast.

Did you make someone smile or laugh today? I hope so. Life is too short•  remember to have fun!

Have a great day and a better tomorrow!

From Your Editor (2008)

By Fred Ott

Fred Ott

Don•  t forget to update your Club Listing in Rock and Gem Magazine!

Each club has only until January 1st, 2009 to email your society information to: (or mail it to Rock & Gem Club Listing, P.O. Box 6925, Ventura, CA 93006-9899).

Please provide your club•  s:

  • Name
  • Mailing Address*
  • Telephone Number
  • Website Address
  • Email Address
  • The city and state in which your club meets
* you may request that your club•  s address not be published

P.S. THANKS to everyone who contributed articles to the 2008 CFMS Newsletters! I encourage everyone, even those who are not officers or chairpersons, to consider submitting an article of interest in 2009.

All American Report

By Dot Beachler

Dot Beachler

Since AFMS meeting was cancelled due to Hurricane Ike, the CFMS books judged by the AFMS were sent back to the CFMS to be delivered to the clubs. The judging results are:

  • Mother Lode Mineral Society, large club, received a Gold Award.
  • Sutter Buttes Gem & Mineral Society, small club, received a Silver Award.

This speaks well for the CFMS clubs as this is a national award.

By this time, all clubs entering the Awards Program this next year should be collecting data. The due date is earlier•  JAN. 31, 2009

CFMS Field Trips North

By Dave Muster

Dave Muster


These are troubling times! The E.P.A., the B.L.M. and some politicians seem to be •  hell bent•   on closing our public lands!

Rockhounds are few in number. Other, larger groups are fighting, but to no avail.

If you know where to get rocks, you•  d better go and take a camera. Soon it will all be history of what we used to be able to do when there were public lands!

ALAA at the SCFMS Show

By Dick Pankey, Vice President, ALAA

Dick Pankey

As you are all well aware of by now, the AFMS meetings at Humble were canceled because of Hurricane Ike. I was already on my way when I got the news so Betty and I just kept going. Since I was pulling my trailer, hotel availability was not an issue for us. We arrived at the Civic Center in Humble to find out that the show was going on as planned. Betty was going to the show to represent the Ye Old Timers Mineral Club and present checks to the AFMS Endowment Fund and the Scholarship Fund.

ALAA is having a slow year due in part to a lack of a newsletter editor. ALAA usually holds its annual meeting and election of officers at the AFMS meeting/show. Unfortunately, President Bob Carlson and the other officers and directors were among those with •  no room at the inn•   and were unable to attend. I thought that it was important for ALAA to have a presence at the Show so I scheduled a meeting for Saturday afternoon. Since I was helping Betty at the YOTMC information table I posted a sign inviting all ALAA members and any interested people to attend. I put out a sign-up sheet and hoped; I got a few questions about what is ALAA and what do they do and I got a couple of sign-ups.

So on Saturday afternoon, September 27th, the ALAA meeting was called to order by Vice President Dick Pankey. As no other officers nor directors were present, this was not a •  formal•   meeting.•   The purpose was 5 fold: for ALAA to have a presence at this show; to get things moving again; create some visibility and enthusiasm for ALAA; discuss pending legislation that will affect rockhounds; and highlight the need for an editor for the ALAA Newsletter.

Meeting Highlights:

  • There were 6 people attending; 1 from NFMS, 4 from MWF and me from the CFMS. We started with self introductions.
  • A problem •   PLAC Chairs in some federations have not been filled. There is a lack of leadership, continuity and central focus. A person is needed in every federation and every society.
  • Need •   a list of Federation Web Masters and Bulletin Editors.
  • Need •   lists of who to write to and their addresses for both Congress and federal agencies. Since we need to communicate nationally how to identify people to contact and how to get contact information.
  • Need •   more information about Blue Ribbon Coalition and how to get on their E-mail Alert list.
  • Need •   an editor for the ALAA Newsletter. We have not had an editor since 12/07 when Kitty Starbuck did her last issue. Communication with the membership is drastically needed.
  • Objective •   encourage membership in ALAA for both individuals and societies.
  • Idea •   because there is often a •  need for speed•   to respond to legislative and agency activities ALAA should communicate through e-mail. (I believe AFMS President Shirley Leeson is already working on this.)
  • Need •   increased visibility, action, and leadership from ALAA on pending legislation and BLM/FS activities.
  • Problem •   there is a marked increase in legislative activity and federal agency activity that restricts our collecting activities and access to our public lands. Many of our local society membership seem to be uninformed, ill informed and complacent about what is happening and what can be done about it. All of us who •  know•  , all of us who are •  informed•  , all of us who •  care•   must help the others to •  know•  , to get •  informed•   and to •  care.•   And then we must all take the next step and get involved by writing letters and e-mails, attending meetings and taking action.
  • Our meeting was adjourned with the satisfaction that we did something today and left with a little more enthusiasm and commitment.

So what are the next steps for ALAA? A number one priority for me is a new (willing, enthusiastic, committed) Editor for our Newsletter. The ALAA Newsletter is only published 4 times a year and thus the need for more timely communication through e-mail. If you would like more information about this job as editor or if you would like to volunteer, please contact me at In the interim I am volunteering to edit the next issue (ONE ISSUE) of the ALAA Newsletter in December. Therefore, I am calling on all officers and directors of ALAA, and all people that are interested and involved, to submit articles to me. Due date for submission is December 8th. I prefer to get your article by e-mail attachment (as a Word Doc) or in the body of the e-mail.

A Bright Idea
for Highlighting Earth Resources for Kids

By Jim Brace-Thompson Junior Activities Chair

Jim Brace-Thompson

Last month, I highlighted 16 everyday products and the minerals that went into them. I encourage clubs to put together a collection like this because it can serve as a valuable educational resource. If you•  re using the AFMS/FRA badge program with your pebble pups and junior members, such a collection can help your club•  s kids earn their Earth Resources badge. In addition, the collection comes in handy if your club helps Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts earn their earth sciences merit badges or loops. And it•  s a fun, informative display for school presentations.

At the end of my article, I noted that the Mineral Information Institute (MII) web site ( offers several ready-made packets for download from their •  Dig a Little Deeper Series•   with info and activities of all sorts to use to illustrate to kids the mineral sources of everyday objects. I noted that one I especially like is •  How Many Minerals Does it Take to Make a Light Bulb?•   I•  ve had two folks call me to ask for more details about that, in particular, so here goes!

Per the MII sheet, the bulb is soft glass made from silica, trona (or soda ash), lime, coal, and salt. The filament is made from tungsten. The lead-in-wires are made of copper and nickel. Tie wires are made of molybdenum. Wires contained in the glass stem press are made of a combination of a nickel-iron alloy core and a copper sleeve. The fuse is made of nickel, manganese, copper and/or silicon alloys. Support wires are made of molybdenum. The button and button rod are glass, made of the same minerals as the bulb, plus lead for greater strength. The heat deflector is made of aluminum (from bauxite ore). The base is made of brass (copper + zinc) or aluminum. And finally, the bulb is filled with a gas that•  s usually a mixture of nitrogen and argon.

All this in a little light bulb! Who woulda thunk it? So to dramatically illustrate to kids just how many minerals go into their everyday life, look no further than a single light bulb! It•  s a bright idea for educating while, as always, having fun!

Bulletin Aids

By Doug Arnold

Doug Arnold

The deadline for submitting your bulletins and articles for the 2009 Bulletin Contest is fast approaching. The deadline for mailing is December 10th and it is an important deadline to remember this year because the next CFMS show is earlier in 2009 and I need to get this material to the judges. Thanks for your help! If you have any questions, drop me an email at: or call me at 760-885-7409.

To mail entries, send them to: Doug Arnold, 11823 Buckwheat Rd., P.O. Box 720466, Pinon Hills, California 92372. If it•  s sent UPS or Fedex, it comes to the house; if it•  s sent via the post office, it goes to our PO Box because we don•  t have mail delivery out here on the desert.

I•  m looking forward to seeing your entries.

I didn•  t catch all the 2007s and 2008s in the forms and rules but they are all for the 2009 contest and they can be found on the CFMS website.

Golden Bear Award

BY Isabella Burns

Isabella Burns

The CFMS Golden Bear Awards are presented each year at the Convention Meeting to a CFMS Member who has contributed outstanding services to our organization. This is a very special award that is meant to honor a person who makes us proud of what he or she has done for the CFMS.

This award is meant to be a surprise to the recipient, so please do not let the nominee know that his name has been suggested for nomination. I wish everyone would take a few minutes to think of someone who deserves to be recognized for special things that they do for the CFMS and take a few minutes to send me a nomination for this award with list of their qualifications.

Mail your suggestions to Isabella Burns, 1038 Bradshawe Ave.. Monterey Park, A 91754 or

CFMS Field Trips •   North Seminar

By Dick Pankey Contra Costa M&GS

Dick Pankey

What Rockhounds Need to Know About Claims

Every rockhound who has collected on BLM or Forest Service land has come upon claim markers and wondered •  what should I do now?•   Are they old or new? Is the claim active? May I/should I enter? May I collect? This Seminar will answer these questions and more. Dr Gregg Wilkerson from the Bakersfield BLM District Office will be the presenter and address the following topics at this seminar:

  • General overview and history of claims and claiming. What it means when a piece of land is claimed.
  • Current status of claim procedures. What is •  claimable•  ?
  • What are the rights and obligations of a Claim Holder?
  • What are the rights and obligations of the public in respect to a claim?
  • Where and how to get information about claims and claimed land?

This seminar will be hosted by the Contra Costa M&GS on Saturday, March 21, 2009 at the Community Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg, CA. An announcement flier with details and directions is available on the CFMS Web Site - This seminar is for field trip leaders and all rockhounds who enjoy collecting and using our public lands; all CFMS society members and guests are welcome.

Mark your calendar now for Saturday, March 21, 2009, watch for the announcement flier and plan to attend this important and informative seminar.

For Field Trip Seminar flyer Click here.


By Chuck McKie (via American Red Cross)

Chuck McKie

Caring for the Elderly in the Winter Months

Is your loved-one at risk?

lder adults are at greater risk for cold injuries because the body's ability to maintain a constant internal temperature decreases with age. Research shows that thousands of vulnerable, elderly people are dying unnecessarily each year because their homes are too cold.

Slips and falls occur more commonly in the winter months due to snow and ice accumulation. A slip or fall outside may force an elderly person to lie outside for long periods of time before anyone finds them. If they are not properly dressed, hypothermia can set in on top of any injury from the fall.

Older adults are at the greatest risk of getting complications from the flu, such as pneumonia and dehydration. The elderly have diminished cough and gag reflexes. Their immune systems are also not as strong.

Safety Precautions:

If you have an elderly relative or neighbor that lives alone, there are special precautions you can take to help ensure their safety.

Call or stop by each day to make sure they are okay. If you don't live nearby •   have a friend or neighbor stop by to check in. Elderly people who live by themselves should be in touch with someone at least once a day.

If they become ill •   urge them to see their physician. Take them to the appointment if necessary.

Key telephone numbers, such as their family physician, emergency ambulance services, a relative or close friend or both, and a community emergency number, such as 9-1-1, should be placed on the refrigerator door as a reminder to you and those who may need to help.

American Red Cross Solutions

If you need to provide care for an elderly relative or parent, the American Red Cross can help. The Red Cross Family Caregiving program offers you a helping hand by providing information that can help you provide the best care possible for your loved one. Topics include home safety, healthy eating, bathing, positioning and helping your loved one move, and legal and financial issues. There's even a section that helps you take care of yourself as the caregiver.

Inter-Regional Rockhound Rendezvous

By Dick Pankey

Dick Pankey

Our next Inter-regional Rockhound Rendezvous is schedule for May 20-25, 2009 (Memorial Day Weekend) to Davis Creek/Lassen Creek for OBSIDIAN!!! The Rendezvous is hosted by the NFMS and the CFMS.

Davis Creek/Lassen Creek is the premier California obsidian collecting area with an abundance of a great variety of beautiful obsidian. This area is noted for sheen obsidian: multi-colored rainbow, electric blue, green, mahogany-gold, silver, gold and pink sheen. Also to be found is mahogany, lace, double flow and needle obsidian. This area is located on Buck Mt. in the heart of the Modoc National Forest. The altitude ranges from 5000 to 7000 feet. A free permit is required for collecting which will be available at camp. In addition to the daily collecting trips we will have potluck dinners, happy hours, speakers, evening campfires, knapping demonstrations, tailgate displays, map exchange, and a great rockhound get-together.

Davis Creek/Lassen Creek is in the extreme northeastern corner of California on Highway 395, between Alturas, CA, and Lakeview, OR. The collecting area is in the mountains behind the little town of Davis Creek, which is 22 miles north of Alturas. Some supplies and gasoline are available at the general store; also ice cream on a hot afternoon. The people at the store are very helpful and prices are reasonable. They can give advice on the road conditions and other local information.

There are two established campgrounds convenient to the collecting areas, although you can camp in many locations throughout the mountains. The Plum Valley Campground has many trees and a stream, but the interior roads are somewhat rough and narrow. Large trailers and motor homes may have difficulty.

A much larger campground that can handle any size rig is the Lassen Creek Campground. This is the campground we will use for our rendezvous. This is a beautiful, spacious campground with enough room for our group and all of our planned activities. There is a stream and big tall pine trees. No facilities are available at any of the campgrounds, except for well maintained pit toilets. All trash must be carried back out. Motels and full hook-up campgrounds are available in Alturas and Lakeview.

There are a lot of other rockhounding opportunities within 100 miles of our Rendezvous site: sunstones, opal, petrified wood, other obsidian sites, geodes and more. The Rendezvous is a good way to start your summer collecting tour. So mark your calendar •   May 20 to 25, 2009, watch for the trip flier for all the details and start making your plans to join us for another great Inter-regional Rockhound Rendezvous. The trip flier and other information for the Rendezvous will be posted on the CFMS web site, in December and other federation web sites.

2009 AFMS Webmaster Contest

By Merryan O•  Neill, Committee Member

It•  s official! The AFMS Officers and Directors have just voted to create an AFMS Webmasters•   Contest on a three-year trial basis. Phyllis George, chairperson for the AFMS Webmasters•   Contest committee, has worked diligently to get the contest underway for this year.

he competition will attempt to determine the effectiveness of the society•  s web site in providing information for (1) attracting new members; (2) providing information for members; and (3) publicizing the society•  s activities, such as shows, to the general public. There will be no attempt to determine the quality or capabilities of the society.

To participate in the contest, society webmasters need to fill out an entry form and send it to the Webmasters•   Contest committee member from his or her respective federation region. I will be the Webmasters•   Contest committee member for the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies (CFMS).

This year, the due date for entering the Webmasters•   Contest at the CFMS regional level is December 15, 2008.

The AFMS Webmasters•   Contest forms and guidelines are available in pdf format on the CFMS web site ( and the AFMS web site ( Please note that, while the information might show other dates, the deadline for CFMS entries is December 15, 2008.

The CFMS regional results will be announced and awards given at the CFMS Bulletin Editors•   Breakfast at the CFMS/Santa Clara Valley Gem & Mineral Society joint Show & Convention in San Jose, California, April 17-19, 2009.

The first place web site from the CFMS will advance to compete against the first place winners from the other regions. The AFMS level winner will be announced and awards given at the AFMS Bulletin Editors•   Breakfast at the AFMS/NFMS joint Show & Convention in Billings, Montana, July 31-August 2, 2009.

Please complete the AFMS Webmasters•   Contest 2009 Entry Form and (preferably) email the form to me as a pdf attachment. I•  ll be emailing webmasters soon to go over options and more details.

or MAIL to: Merryan O•  Neill
P. O. Box 300
El Dorado, CA 95623

Public Lands Advisory Committee - South

By John Martin

John Martin

There has been a lot of legislation created during this year that could, if enacted, eliminate some of our collecting areas and control what we are allowed to collect from public lands. I want to thank all of you who did respond to the articles that were published in the CFMS Newsletters and the emails that were feverishly sent out. Every comment and letter sent to your legislator has helped in keeping our collecting areas open for future generations. There is still a lot of work to do in order to protect our collecting areas from governmental closure, so keep informed and keep your legislators informed on your concerns. I will keep researching and tracking the bills before congress and let those, willing to fight to keep public lands open, informed on the progress. It has been an honor to serve as your CFMS PLAC South representative for the last several years and together we can continue the work that has been started. We must continue to inform our legislators for the need to keep public lands open to the public, for all to use. Thank you again for all of your support and hard work.


"Bureau of Land Management & U.S. Forest Service seeking nominations for key positions on California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee" (BLM-California news release, 10/31/08) Nominations are now being accepted through January 5, 2009 for three positions on the 11-member Pacific Southwest Region California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee: Winter motorized recreation such as snowmobiling; hunting and fishing; and motorized outfitting and guiding or local environmental groups. The RRAC provides recommendations on recreation fees for federal lands within the state of California, including Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service recreation sites.

It's a Wild and Crazy World out there!!

By Cheri George

Cheri George

When you start out as a Potter making pretty little pots from wet and muddy clay, shaping them on a potter•  s wheel or by making them from slabs and strips cut out on a table you find the muddy little things becoming like your very own child. You protect them through the drying process, the first firing, and the glazing the final firing, only to sit back and look at them when you have finished and wonder where all that came from. It gets really weird when someone comes up to you and says •  Oh, I would love to have that!•   What!? My BABY!!??

It•  s also just as bad when you make a couple of small stained glass boxes, after lots of little cuts and some considerable planning to make all those angular pieces fit into the right place without falling apart before you get it soldered. I think it is the mirrors in the lid that hooks them into NEEDING to have one of those on their very own table or dresser. It gets even more interesting when the hobby turns into the ART and the kaleidoscopes fly out of your workshop faster than you can create them. •  Mirror, mirror, now where did I put that box of mirror strips?•  

But I find that the worst part of being creative is after the actual making of the pieces. It is the deciding what to do with all the pieces you have made and that are filling up drawers and cupboards in the workshop, when they could be out there being enjoyed by someone else.

When people ask me if I will be selling a piece I have made, or if it is for sale now, and how much it is I just cringe. It is so difficult to decide when and if to let one of my children go, so far from home, to some strange place. Go to live with ANOTHER MOTHER; sheesh, what must they think of me!!

I see all these people who make these fabulous pieces in magazines and I wonder if they too have the problem of just letting go. Do they get tears in their eyes when they sell one of their pieces they have worked so hard on, for so many long hours? Or is it just me?

I keep trying to learn something new all the time; I want to make new things and I never think that I can ever learn enough. No matter how old I get, I will always be interested in learning more. So, how can I be an artist? I always tell people I am a student of craft. I want to learn, to know, to make, and to teach.

I am not the most terrific teacher or artist in the world (I hear you sniggering); I can•  t even remember when the first time was that I was called an Artist, but I can tell you that it really took me by surprise. I think I still think I am just someone who makes things because it is fun, who teaches because it makes me happy to see other people enjoying what I do, and who wants everyone out there to see what is possible if they will try it too.

P.S. As I am being replaced for the next year as your Program Aids Chair, I wish to thank each and every one of you for your kindness and your help in maintaining the fine quality of our Speaker•  s Forum for the last 4+ years. I have truly been honored to have been allowed to serve the CFMS in this capacity and look forward to seeing you in the future.

CFMS Insurance

By Bud McMillin

Bud McMillin

I would like to THANK Patt McDaniel from McDaniel Insurance Services for spending time with us on Saturday afternoon after the business meeting. I do regret that the business meeting went a little long and we were only able to spend about an hour with Patt in the meeting room and another hour with Patt in the hallway. We had some great discussions and will have the questions and answers for you next month. Next month we will also have the new website for McDaniel Insurance Services where you can go on line and print any one of the four policies McDaniels has available for the CFMS. This Q&A session was a first for the CFMS, a first for Patt and me and we are treating it as a learning experience and hope to have an improved session next year. If you have any questions - remember - you can call me or give Patt a call directly. Again, on behalf of the 32 people attending the Q&A session, THANK YOU, Patt, for everything you do for our CFMS.

CFMS Scholarship Committee

By Jennifer Haley

The end of the year is just around the corner and soon we•  ll begin a brand new year of celebrating our hobby together. I want to thank all of you who graciously gave donations to make this year a grand year for our scholarship fund. Every one of your gifts helps our scholarship fund grow exponentially for next year and for years to come. Please take the time with your club members to talk about the CFMS scholarship fund and how gratifying it feels to be a part of something so special. You make big things happen and dreams come true. Let•  s all contribute next year!

Long Range Planning

By Dick Pankey, Chairman

Dick Pankey

I am within hours of leaving for an extended trip ultimately to the AFMS Show and Meetings in Humble, TX and didn•  t have a Long Range Planning report when I got a fantastic e-mail from Jennifer Haley, from the Napa Valley R&GC. She had just read my LR Planning article in the September CFMS Newsletter •  on line.•   Here is what she sent me: •  Hi Dick,

Just read the online version of the CFMS newsletter and saw your article. Ultimately, it should be up to the President and Federation Director of each club to take the time to cover any questions the CFMS Committees have and are wanting feedback on. It should be taking place during a club meeting and to make sure everyone sits and spends time on this so it can be sent in to you. There's nothing worse than asking for help or feedback and not getting any or not enough so you that you feel heard. One possible idea: Have a Long Range Planning sheet printed up and included in the November Federation packet with the following, and don't let anyone out until they fill it in and hand it in to someone as they go out the door. Have some choice questions on that sheet with room for comments. Here are possible questions to get peoples attention and to see what we can jointly do to help increase club involvement with CFMS and within the clubs themselves. I think we would learn a lot. I think we will find that there is a break down of communication within the clubs themselves. Frankly, I think all of you at CFMS are doing a FANTASTIC job but these questions asked and answered would be pretty interesting. At least it will make people think and bring the responsibility back on them, and it's a way to "trouble shoot" for those of you who are leading the pack. Think of this like a fossil dig....... - Jennifer•  

So, please take a moment to complete the questionnaire. Click here for questionaire and forward it to me at:
4310 Kingsly Drive, Pittsburg, CA 94565.