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September 1999
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A.F.M.S. Newsletter

Serving Seven Regional Federations

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Vol. 52 Issue 8

September, 1999


Executive Officers' Reports
Each Club-Each Year-One Rockhound
From the Regional Directors
Where Can I find a Rock Club?
What Is, and Why Is, A Federation
Endowment Fund/Ways and Means Report on the Nashville Show
Bulletin Editors' Hall of Fame, 1999 Inductees
Commemorative Stamp Committee- Stamp Your Feet!
Safety Committee- Hazards from Organic Solvents
Loud and Clear
Bob Cranston, and Shirley - ALAA Executive Secretary 1992-1999
AFMS Code of Ethics - Revised for an omission and an addition.

Executive Officers' Reports:
President Elrod�s Message for September, 1999:

The 1999 AFMS and SFMS Conventions and gem show are now history. We had a wonderful time in Nashville. The local club members got to meet many of you from over the country and were very impressed with you. Thank you for attending and for all your cooperation with the conventions and the show. I look forward to seeing you again in Moab in the year 2000.

As some of you know there were some problems with the hotel this year. Massive personnel changes were made at nearly the last minute. This caused problems and as we could not change hotels at the last minute we had to live with them. We survived, and prospered, in spite of the problems. Thanks to all of you for your understanding and assistance through this ordeal.

Charles Leach and Glenn Lee announced their retirement from the posts they have held for many years. Each of them was given a plaque in Nashville to say a big �Thank You� for all their many hours of dedicated service over the years. They will be missed but thankfully both have agreed to be advisors to the committees for the future. Their experience cannot be easily replaced.

They raised over $1500 this year, for the Endowment Fund, by their efforts. This is an important part of our Federation as the income from the fund is used to pay expenses such as the Program Awards Program where the top programs entered are given an award and then duplicated and sent to the Regional Federations for the use of the member societies.

Charley has asked me to take charge of the Endowment Fund and I have agreed to do so. It will be a challenge, as Charley cannot be matched, but I will do my best. As some of you know I have already begun working on it and have the tickets ready for the year 2000 fund raising. These will be mailed to all AFMS and Regional Federation Endowment Committee members in the near future.

We have the 2000 grand prize that will be given away at Moab in October. Cliff Jackson has donated an amethyst that he cut for a pendant. It will be mounted and then, with a pair of earrings which Cliff is also donating, given as the grand prize. Now, we need two more prizes, for second and third prizes, to go with this. How about it? Would you like to make these donations? The prizes will all be shown on our web site as soon as they are all ready. Think about it and let me know if you would like to take part.

As we have the mail prize, and the tickets, now comes the good part. Selling the tickets. Have you ever considered that if each club sells only ten tickets then we would have raised over $7,000? What is ten tickets? Bonnie Glismann sold 250 tickets in one night at a Northwest Federation meeting. Now she is an exceptional salesperson, I know, but any one of us could sell many more than ten. Lets all get behind the effort this year and just see what we can do.

In January, on my birthday, an old and very dear friend of mine died. Jack Fishburn was a wonderful example of just what a rockhound should be. Jack was talented and produced beautiful examples of stone cutting and silverwork. He was most generous with the results of his work by giving away many pieces he had made. I have several bolas that he gave me and treasure them highly. Jack was also generous with his time and efforts in teaching others more about the hobby that he loved so much. More than one location has also benefited from donations of money or equipment that was needed to provide students with tools to further follow in his footsteps. Thank you, Jack, for all you have done.

A few friends of Jacks have decided to pursue one of his dreams. Jack had long thought that the William Holland School needed an elevator to allow disabled persons to attend and take part in the activities. We are raising funds to fulfill this dream. As we have only begun we now have some $4,000.00 as a start. If you would like to make a donation we would be glad to have you to take part in the program. As donations are made a record is kept and a plaque will be posted in the elevator to show who has been honored by a donation in their name. Several persons have made donations in Jack's name as well as some other persons. How about you? Would you like to honor some friend, rockhound or other person? Send donations to �Friends of Jack Fishburn, P. O. Box 1256, Murfreesboro, TN 37133-1256.� You will receive an acknowledgement of your donation and a receipt.

Next month is my last article as President. It has been a wonderful year and I look forward to working with your next President, Dan Lingelbach, and all of the other officers and committee persons who make this, your Federation, work. See you next month.

President-Elect Report:
By Dan Lingelbach, President Elect

(Editor's Note: Dan had intended to have a report this month, but Ruby had surgery so Dan has other priorities. Best wishes to Ruby.)

1st Regional Vice-Pres.,
Bill Burns, CFMS

The AFMS Show and Convention in Nashville was interesting and informative. They had a state directors meeting to explain what a director's duties are. We do not have state directors, but we do have club directors, and a workshop on their duties might be good. We once had meetings for new directors, but maybe some of the seasoned directors need a little encouragement, also.

As First Vice President, one of my duties was to help with the Juniors Committee. As the committee Chairs, Kathy and Bob Miller, could not attend, I spent much time in the Junior Booth. It was busy, they had free coloring books, games, etc. More teachers came by than children to pick up the material. That may be happening in California soon as the curriculum has been changed to require the teaching of more earth science. At grade 1 - Earth is made of ? At grade 4 - Properties of rocks. And grade 6 - Plate tectonics and volcanoes. These are areas where we can help the students- certainly invite these three grades of students to our shows.

Isabella was elected President Elect, was installed, and will take office on November 1, 1999; and will be installed as President of AFMS in Moab, Utah in October of 2000. Dan Lingelbach, incoming President, challenged everyone to support the AFMS in the millennium.

There was a meeting of the web masters and we were very proud of the input for the improvements of the systems offered by our CFMS Web Master, Don Ogden. Isabella attended a very interesting meeting on insurance where they discussed having the same company for all Federations. It could save us some money. Be sure to read your AFMS Newsletter and check the AFMS Website at http://www.amfed.org for more information.



I have to say a word or so about ALAA. They had a rousing meeting at Nashville. Our collecting areas are becoming less available. First there was the struggle for us to be able to continue to collect invertebrate fossils. There are 20 bills before the Senate and 16 bills before the House that can affect our hobby. With the Congress adjourning for the August recess we have a chance to get some input to them on these bills. Public use of Public lands is being attacked. According to Audrey Hudson in the Washington Times, there are bills that could "ban most public use of 5 million acres in six states."

A draft environmental impact statement (EIS) is being prepared by the Forest Service on the Piru Creek area and will be published in October with a forty-five day comment period. Watch for more information and make your comments known.


Support the ALAA, Renew your membership now!

Secretary/Central Office,
Dan McLennan

(A letter to Dan with cc to Editor and President)

AFMS Central Office
Attention Dan McLennan

RE: memo in Feb. 99 Newsletter about late info on new officers...

It seems we all have the same problem of keeping mailing lists up to date. For instance: in our club, many or most members are retired and away from time to time for varying lengths of time...and some ask the Post Office to hold their mail, while others leave a forwarding address. It seems newsletters with "Return service requested" or "address correction requested" on the front with the label come back to us. Of course, this is a problem between us (editors) and the Postal service and the members.

As for the Regional Federation Directories not being current ... I know of one factor which is: clubs change officers in different months, so if the CFMS, for instance, changes officers in January and publishes their directory then, our club's new officers are not listed until the following year, and by then, they are or could be about to leave office. Our election is not until January, and so that information is not always sent to the CFMS the next day.

One would think that with all the wonderful time-savings of computers, that updating lists would be a matter of 'just' changing a few names/entries each month, or in other words, a continual job, no matter the 'time-saving' devices.

As for not enough Federation coverage ... our copies of both the CFMS and AFMS newsletters are available to anyone who wants to read them, and our newsletter does print the information-that is most pertinent to our members. We also have a good Federation Director who reports at each meeting..

Our newsletter is not sent to each CFMS and each AFMS address each issue, but we take turns, and each address receives at least three copies per year. This is a savings to our club, and is important.

Your suggestions are valid and have merit ... I just wanted to tell it from our perspective.



Marge Blockley, Editor of Nodule Nocker NEWS. OF THE Boulder Gem Club

Each Club - Each Year - One Rockhound
By Bonnie Glismann, Chair

Federation: Midwest Club: Elgin Rock & Mineral Society Honoree: John and Wanda Bather

John and Wanda have been very active and dedicated members since the club's beginning in l962. They have held elected offices and chaired numerous committees throughout the years, but what makes them special is that they always volunteer to step in if something needs to be done. At the present time they are circulation expediters making sure our newsletters get mailed each month, they set up for each monthly meeting, and Wanda Chairs our Gem & Mineral Show's publicity committee. Wanda is the Club Historian. They are our club's first Rockhound couple of the year.

Federation: Southeast Club: Georgia Mineral Society, Inc.
Nominated by: Olin Banks, Georgia State Director- Person Nominated: Kim Cochran

Kim Cochran has been the Georgia Mineral Society President for five years and has spent several years as a museum curator. Kim has presented numerous programs to other rock clubs in the area and at local schools. Her personality and knowledge in the field of mineral identification has enhanced her ability to be a field trip leader of the society.

Correction: In the May, 1999, AFMS Newsletter (page 6) on Each Club-Each Year-One Rockhound, the SFMS Representative to the committee should have been: David Tuttle, 994 Blackmon Road, Yulee FL 32097-4510 904-225-0689 Thanks to Rita Wienstein, SFMS Sec. for this correction.

From the Regional Directors:

The President's Message
By Sarah Lee Boyce, SFMS President
From Lodestar, August/September, 1999

NASHVILLE WAS A HIT! The gem and mineral show was something else. We had awards given out to winners from the age of 12 and up. The competitive cases were awesome. The judges really had their work cut out for them. Congratulations to all who entered cases, competitive or non-competitive. There were no losers, everyone was a winner!

Our many thanks to those of you who manned the information booth, gave seminars and demonstrations, etc. All of your hard work was really appreciated. Many more people now know what the SFMS is all about and what a wonderful hobby being a rockhound is. To the Middle Tennessee Gem and Mineral Society we give a big "HIP, HIP, HOORAY!" for being so kind, gracious, and helpful as our host. Thanks Lewis, Marty and All!

There are still a few openings left at Wildacres in August and September. Give Ron and Anna a call and enjoy a week of fun in the North Carolina mountains. The October workshop at William Holland also has openings. Jessie and Yates would just love to place many more students for a fun-filled week in the Georgia mountains in October. The William Holland session will be the last workshop for the SFMS in 1999, so ya'll come.

The last phase of the annual meeting will be held in Huntsville, Alabama the weekend of October 8 - 10 hosted by the Huntsville Gem and Mineral Society. At this meeting we will elect new officers and decide on some constitutional changes The show is directly across the street. The Huntsville show is one of the best and a good time should be had by all!

See you all in October. 'Til then keep cool!

By Ken Kruschke, CFMS President
From C.F.M.S. Newsletter, Vol. XXXVI, No. 4, April, 1999

Gem and Mineral Shows are a wonderful place to go. There is display case after display case showing off the best of materials and talents. The disciplines of rockhounding are so varied you can't really predict what you will see at any show. It could be fossils - not only of the Jurassic period dinosaurs but fossil plants, fish and animals much older than the Jurassic period - and of course some much newer fossils.

Minerals always make for beautiful displays. Crystals of diamond, ruby, garnet and peridot to name a few. Some of the important commercial ores have beautiful crystalline forms such as copper, iron, gold and silver. Cabochons, spheres and bookends demonstrate the skills in lapidary. And of course the talents of the faceters and the creative talents of those who carve stone and who create jewelry with silver, gold and gemstones. This is merely the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, of what may be seen at a Gem and Mineral Show. If a person becomes interested in a particular area, there is probably a demonstrator at the show giving "how to" instructions in that area. At the show there are dealers to supply tools and materials to pursue rockhounding. The rockhounds you meet at the shows are friendly and helpful

Now you say, "That's not new, I know that". We are all proud of our displays and like to show the public what rockhounding is all about. There is a more important aspect of shows that sometimes we may loose sight of. Shows are the best membership drive we have. Many surveys indicate that Gem and Mineral Shows are responsible for recruiting more new members than any other activity we have.

It's a given that putting on a show requires a lot of time and effort and is expensive. Shows need a place to happen, they need dealers, programs, demonstrators and displays. The displays are the real focal point of the show. They are what the rest of the show is built around.

Shows almost without exception need more guest exhibitors. Some people think they have to wait to get an invitation to show at a neighboring club. Not so. You don't have to wait .... look in the ROCK AND GEM or LAPIDARY JOURNAL magazines under show dates and drop a line or call the show chairperson of any show you would like to show at and ask if they could use another case.. You will be surprised how fast you will get a big welcome and an application.

If you are exhibiting at shows as a guest exhibitor, maybe you could add another show or two this year; or if you haven't been a guest exhibitor at a show yet .... try it, you'll like it. We all need to work together as neighbors to make our shows and rockhounding bigger and better. Our shows are the best Good Will Ambassadors we have, and of course the best source of new rockhounds.

By Bill Patillo, SCFMS President
From SCFMS Newsletter, May-June, 1999

There is still talk about creating a National Carrier for the Insurance Programs that all of the Federations have. It will be an item for discussion at the National Meeting in Nashville in July. In reading some of the other Federation Newsletters, they have been looking at getting some accident insurance included with the third party insurance that they have in force now. Of course, the members must pay the premium, but if the premium is low enough, then the insurance will be worth it. Will keep you posted on the insurance program.

The SCFMS is experiencing growth. We are currently working with three or four clubs, who have shown an interest in belonging to the SCFMS and AFMS. If you hear of a club who is contemplating on joining the Federation, please talk to the members and explain the benefits of the Federation. Being a part of the AFMS is a very rewarding experience. The AFMS and the SCFMS have many programs that can benefit any club as they try to build their membership and become a functioning organization. Help your fellow club members as much as you can. You will be glad you did.

Attend a Club Show, if there is one near you. Visit with the other members of different clubs and find out what they are doing in their clubs. You can obtain valuable information from talking to different club members and they might just like to hear what you are doing in your local club. It is a two way street. Tell them what you are doing, so they can either avoid doing the same thing or start doing what you are doing, to improve their club.

Write an article for your club's newsletter. All editors encourage their members to contribute to the newsletter of their club. It gives you the opportunity to contribute to your publication and this is an avenue by which you can let your views be known. Try it. I think you will receive the most reward.

Remember the SCFMS Endowment Fund. It is still growing and it is now getting to the point where it can make some contributions to the Federation. Honor one of your Club members, by making a donation in their name. It will surely be a worthy investment.


Where Can I find a Rock Club?
By Verne Groves,
Cowtown Cutter, 5/99

1 have been asked this question many times by students, parents, and teachers. "Where can I find a Rock Club?"

We have a big problem. There are people out there wanting to visit or join a club but not knowing where to find one.

Most generally there are no listings in the yellow or white pages of the phone book or newspapers.

I have traveled to the cities of the U.S. and parts of the world, and found the same conditions. The problem is, "How do I find your Rock club?" "When does it meet?"

Try going to an unfamiliar city and locate a rock club, without a federation directory or other rock related literature. I have asked people in business, and on the street, most had never heard of one in that town, others had heard of a rock club but didn't know where it was located or the name of a member.

I leave these questions to each individual club to answer to themselves.

Where do I find your club?

From Cowtown Cutter, 5/99
Via Gneiss Gnews, June, 1999

(Editor's note (I've asked the same thing.): Is there an answer to this question anywhere- in your town, county, area?? I think not!)

What Is, and Why Is, A Federation?
By Lewis Elrod, President AFMS
Printed in Mid-Tenn Gem'ers, March 1998, updated 7/2/99

I am frequently asked �Why should our society even belong to a federation?� This is a good question and there is nothing wrong with wondering about the benefits to being a member society of a regional and the national federation.

To begin to answer this question we must first decide just what a federation really is and why one should exist. After this is decided then we can explore the benefits to a local society to being a member.

Webster is a good starting point to determine the meaning of �federation�. We find that to �federate � is �to unite in an alliance� and a �federation� is �a union of organizations�. Thus the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies is a union of the local clubs and societies in the Southeast States. The American Federation is a union of the seven regional federations over the United States.

Just what are these �alliances� a union of? Why it is the individual members of all the local organizations. It is you and me! We are the local societies, the regional federations and even the American Federation. Without us, there is nothing, no clubs, no regionals and no American Federation.

Now that we have defined what a federation is we need to decide why one should exist. The reason is given in the Webster definition of federation. It is an alliance. Our own society is an alliance of all of the individual members as the regional are of the societies and the American is an alliance of the seven regional federations.

An alliance, again according to Webster, is �an association to further the common interests of the members�. Thus the local societies exist to further the common interests of the members. The same reason stands for the existence of the regional and national federations as they also exist for the purpose of promoting the common interests of the individual members.

At times we neglect this aspect of the matter and do not pay sufficient attention to the common needs. We are striving to return to this and to provide more for each member. This is seen in the attention paid to the development of programs for the use of the local societies, the expanded distribution of the newsletters of the federations and the efforts to get more members involved in the activities of the federations.

One means to learn more, is to do more. Spend some time learning more about the federations, their working systems, etc. and see what you can do to assist in the efforts of the officers who are, after all, your elected representatives. By assisting the officers in the discharge of their duties you will also assist yourself and all other hobbyists in the pursuit of their interests. You will also learn more about the hobby and the people involved and will make many new friends.

Now, we are getting down to the real reason for a federation. It is to provide a means for the communication with other members of the hobby and a system of interaction with these persons over the country. The various bulletins published by the societies and federations provide a valuable source of information about the hobby and the persons involved therein. By making these bulletins available to the membership of a society the information will thus be shared by an ever growing number of people. This provides an excellent opportunity for networking and exchanging information about collecting sites, areas of interest such as museums and shops, areas of expertise and general strengthening of the hobby as a whole.

To wrap this up we now see that the societies, the regional federations and even the American Federation are just-US! This means you, me, our next door neighbor who likes rocks, etc. All of the groups exist to serve the needs and interests of the individual and all actions taken are with this end in mind. Look around and see what you can do. You can become a valuable part of the federations and will find that you enjoy it while you are contributing and learning. Come on and join in. We would love to have you with us.

Editor's Note: Lewis mentioned this article at the Directors' and Editors' seminars in Nashville and said to watch the next AFMS Newsletter, that the Editor had the article- so, here it is.

There have been several other similar "Federation" articles in Vol. 52. We hope they are of some value to those who ask why they should belong to this larger association of rockhounds. Club Presidents and Editors, all of whom should be receiving the AFMS Newsletter, should share this information with all of your club members, and try to answer their concerns and questions.


Charles Leach, Endowment Fund
Glenn Lee, Ways and Means

Our sincere thanks to all those who participated in the Endowment Fund drawing held at the combined Southeast-American Federation Show in Nashville. This includes all those who donated items, who purchased tickets, who helped at the table, and who sold tickets. A total of $1,675.85 was raised, including $845.00 from tickets for the beautiful amethyst ring donated by Lewis Elrod. Again, we especially wish to thank our wives, Betty and Dorothy, for their work at the sales table, and Bonnie Glismann for again leading the way selling tickets for the ring.

Following are the donated items, the donors, and the winners:

Amethyst Ring for the special drawing By Lewis Elrod, SFMS Won by Sharon Bever
Sterling Silver Bracelet By Marge Collins, MFMGS To Bonnie Glismann
Coral from Johnston Island By Agnes Hall, CFMS To Terry Cirrincione
Mineral Book By Fred Schaefermeyer, EFMLS To Mary Jane Boutwell
Fire Agate By Gene Potts, RMFMS To Patty Arnold
Gold Filled Necklace By Ruth Bailey, CFMS To Toby Cozens
Smithsonite from Kelly Mine By Howie Whiting, RMFMS To Deb Bryant
Bola Tie By Keesa Stewart, CFMS To Doris Kemp
Amethyst Ring By Lewis Elrod, SFMS To Mary Stinson
Smoky Quartz Ring By Lewis Elrod, SFMS To Marge Collins
Montana Agate Ring By LeRoy Boutwell, EFMLS To Vickie Roberts
Amethyst Ring By Lewis Elrod, SFMS To Ruby Lingelbach
Ironwood Bola By Keesa Stewart, CFMS To Shirley Greenberg
Ammonite Pendant By Lullene Slater, SFMS To Louellen Montgomery
Faceted Topaz By Louellen Montgomery, RMFMS To Bill Basbagill
Brazillian Agate By Agnes Hall, CFMS To Isabella Burns
Gold Filled Bracelet By Ruth Bailey, CFMS To Joanne Long
Amber Earrings By Marge Collins, MFMGS To Paul Buff
Jade Necklace By Keesa Stewart, CFMS To Johnnie Short
Seal/Dolphin Book By Terry Cirrincione, EFMLS To Howie Whiting
Onyx Sphere By Ken Kruschke, CFMS To Bill Basbagill
Amethyst Pendant By Isabella Burns, CFMS To Anne Buckner

 In addition, the Endowment Fund received a donation of $45.00 from the Rollin' Rock Club from their auction.

This winds up our work with the Endowment Fund and we would like to thank all the members who have assisted over the past sixteen years. Restricted funds now amount to $2.60 per AFMS member. We hope that you will continue to support the Endowment Fund with donations, memorials, or in any manner you choose.


Charles Leach & Glenn Lee

Bulletin Editor's

Hall of Fame

1999 Inductees

SFMS/AFMS Show at Nashville, TN

July 11, 1999

    RAY RICKARDS - Goldrush Ledger
    Charlotte Gem & Mineral Club, Charlotte, N.C.

     VERNON MEERDINK Mid-Tenn Gem'ers
    Middle Tennessee Gem & Min Soc, Murfreesboro, TN

    WILMA BONAR - The Coral Geode
    Tampa Bay Mineral & Science Club, Tampa, FL

    Southern Illinois Earth Science Club, Benton, IL

     NANCY PIAZZA - Rock Pickings
    Lakeshore Mineralogical & Lapidary Soc., Mentor, OH

     ART REED - Crystal Cluster
    Des Plaines Valley Geological Soc., Des Plains, IL

     ROBERT MOUNT - The Opal
    West Suburban Lapidary Club, Elmhurst, IL

     MARY-RUTH RATHJEN - Stoney Statements
    Clear Lake Gem & Mineral Soc., Houston, TX

     SISTER CLEMENT JOHNSON - Texas Faceters' Guild Newsletter
    Texas Faceters' Guild, Houston, TX

    JACK KELLEY - T-Town Rockhound,
    Tulsa, OK

     MARIANNE DeMOTT - Deming Rock Chips
    Deming, N.M.

     SUE KURTZ - Roamin Rams
    Westminster, CO

    JOHN DUNCAN - Pebble Pusher
    Whidbey Pebble Pushers, Whidbey, WA

     SUSAN GARDNER - Rocky Trails
    North Seattle Lap & Min Club, Seattle, WA

    GEORGE GECY - Silver Wings 'n Rockhound Things
    Edwards Gem & Mineral Society , Edwards, CA
    (SCRIBE's 1st President)

    ALBERTA HARE - The Tumbler
   Marin Mineral Society, San Rafael, CA

    KEESA STEWART - East Bay Nodule
   East Bay Gem & Mineral Society, Oakland, CA

    PAT LaRUE - Drywasher's Gazette
   Valley Prospectors, San Bernardino, CA
                           and - Staurolite,
   Orange Belt Mineralogical Soc., San Bernardino, CA


    HOWARD ALLEN - The A.P.S. Bulletin
   The Alberta Paleontological Society, Calgary, Alberta


By Wendell C. Mohr,

Get excited and jump up and down and stamp your feet!

Have you and your society done your part to support our effort to encourage the USPS to issue stamps depicting the birthstones? We must communicate. 50,000 members writing will be heard! We have heard from many clubs that have carried out the campaign by enlisting members to send off their thoughts to the Citizen�s Stamp Advisory Committee. As an example we would like to recognize the wonderful effort of the Southern Illinois Earth Science Club. They took the initiative to print a full page request for members to send, printed on the USPS�s own �World of Dinosaurs� paper. That is persuasive and should get some attention! If you have not yet helped our grass-roots campaign, re-read the article and mailing form in the January, 1999, AFMS Newsletter and �Lets Get it On!�.

Your committee is widening its effort this year by enlisting support through e-mail, magazines, journals, and by direct appeals to associations and gem trade organizations.

Collectors may be interested in a stamp issue, not the result of any activity of ours, commemorating the 1849 Gold Rush, and issued on June 18th at Sacramento, California. The stamp depicts 49ers using a gold pan and a rocker in a stream of the Western Sierra Nevadas. The hopeful miners trekked to California to �Strike it Rich�.

Help us to �Strike it Rich� by writing in support of gemstone stamps!

Below is a safety item from Peter Girardot for the AFMS Newsletter.
Submitted by Mel Albright

By Peter R. Girardot

A new study has found that women exposed to certain solvents during the first third of their pregnancy are thirteen times more likely to have a baby with significant defects. They were also more likely to have miscarriages or have premature babies or have babies with low birth weight and fetal distress.

Some of the solvents of concern are hydrocarbons, phenols, trichloroethylene, xylene, vinyl chloride and acetone. Of these, acetone and alcohol in particular are likely to be found in rock shops.

A group of women who were not exposed were also studied as a control. These had an unusually low number of birth defects in their children. The main researcher of the study feels that more study will be necessary to absolutely confirm the findings.

Some of the occupations in which the women were working included graphic arts, painters and even a social worker. For those of us in jewelry, lapidary and related arts, solvents are usually common and are occasionally used without knowledge of their toxic nature.

So that such solvents can continue to be used without hazard in the lapidary arts, proper venting is best. Failing that, a charcoal filter mask would be wise.

Reference: Journal of the American Medical Society, 281, 1106 (1999)

Loud & Clear

By George Loud,
Conservation & Legislation

In the current year appropriation bill for the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Secretary of the Interior (Mr. Babbitt) was given a mandate to assess "the need for a unified Federal Policy on the collection, storage, and preservation of ... fossils."

In connection with preparation of its report the DOI hosted a public hearing on June 21st at the U.S. Geological Survey Headquarters in Reston, VA. The hearing was conducted before a panel including Dr. William Brown of the DOI (head panelist) and representatives of the USGS, U.S. Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and Smithsonian. The Smithsonian and USGS representatives appeared to be at least somewhat in agreement with the views I presented. My letter of July 13, 1999 to Dr. Brown, reproduced in part here, (Mr. Loud's letter is on Page 10) summarizes some of the opinions presented at the hearing.

July 13, 1999

Dr. William Y. Brown
Science Advisor to the President
U.S. Department of the Interior
Office of the Secretary
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240

Re: Fossil Collection, Storage & Preservation
Report Requested in 1999 DOI Appropriation Bill

Dear Dr. Brown:

I am writing to respond to several of the statements made at the public hearing and to present my comments on several statements I find within the May 1999 Background Paper which was distributed at the June 21st hearing. In the remarks which follow I will repeatedly refer to the 1987 report of the National Research Council entitled "Paleontological Collecting" (hereinafter "NRC Report").

May 1999 Background Paper

The May 1999 Background Paper which was made available at the June 21st hearing contains much useful information and will undoubtedly find considerable use as a reference. However, I believe that several statements made therein should not go unchallenged.

"All fossils are relatively rare, but some types are much rarer than others." (Page 2 of the Background Paper).

Relative to what? The NRC Report states "Fossils are not rare" (page 13).

Based on my personal experience, I regard fossils as "relatively" common. Fossil shell casts were common in the parking lot gravel at the school I attended grades 1-8. Near my present home, fossils are abundant and easily collected along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Limestone, the dominant rock type exposed throughout much of the Midwest of this country, is often essentially a mass of fossils.

"The DOI has long recognized the absolute rarity and scientific importance of vertebrate fossils." (Page 3 of the Background Paper).

I challenge anyone who believes in the absolute rarity and scientific importance of vertebrate fossils to examine the vertebrate specimens which I brought to the hearing of June 21st and tell me that those specimens are of such scientific importance that they would justify curation and storage at taxpayer expense. The specimens I showed at the hearing included a stream-worn cobble of agatized bone and sharks' teeth from Crow Creek, Crowley's Ridge, Forest City, Arkansas and a fossil whalebone section and sharks' teeth from Westmoreland (Commonwealth of Virginia) State Park. At the latter location erosion by the Potomac River is continuously exposing fossil whalebone and sharks teeth. If federal land, the logical consequence of the stated DOI policy would mandate the collection, curation and storage of each fossil whalebone fragment exposed along the Potomac shoreline. The idea that all such bone fragments should be collected and stored at taxpayer expense is ludicrous.

The 1987 NRC Report gives several examples of vertebrate fossils having little or no value to science. At page 18 the report stated "Finding another Pleistocene bison bone in Idaho or another Carboniferous fern leaf in Illinois adds little to palentologic knowledge." The report also notes that not even dinosaur bones are necessarily of any scientific value. At page 15 the report states: The rarity of a particular kind of fossil depends very much on what one means by the words "particular kind." For example, dinosaur bone fragments are a common constituent of many stream deposits of Mesozoic age; they are found on all continents and occur in rocks spanning more than 100,000 years of geologic time. In many collecting areas, finding dinosaur bone fragments or even complete bones is not unusual or especially noteworthy .

Parenthetically, you asked that Marion Zenker cite instances of fossils which disintegrate rapidly upon exposure by erosion. The aforementioned collecting site in Westmoreland State Park represents an extreme example. One can literally watch the bones breakup as waves from the Potomac lap over them. The premise of current DOI policy, i.e. that all vertebrate fossils are inherently valuable, like these fossils, crumbles in the field.

The Presentations at the Public Hearing June 21 1999:

a. The Typical Collecting Experience in Context

Several of the presentations were misleading to the extent that they placed fossil collecting in the extremely unusual context of the "quarrying" of an articulated vertebrate skeleton. Such a find would be a rare fossil collecting experience. To put all of fossil collecting, or even all of vertebrate fossil collecting, in such a context is analogous to a characterization of the entire American culture based on a study of one small neighborhood in the Bronx.

A DOI policy regarding the collecting of vertebrate fossils based on a very atypical collecting experience is a poor policy. Sites found to contain fossils, vertebrate or invertebrate, of particular scientific importance can best be protected by site-specific regulation.

b. Fossils are a Non-Renewable Resource

The 1987 NRC Report addressed this issue at length and reached a conclusion totally at odds with such a characterization of fossil "resources". The following statements are representative:

1) Renewability of fossils. Fossil-collecting sites are typically "renewed" by the normal forces of erosion and weathering and by preparation of entombed specimens in the laboratory. To call fossils "nonrenewable" may be technically true, but in a practical sense, it is false for most species.

In the example represented by the fossil deposits exposed on the shore of the Potomac River in Westmoreland State Park, the fossil supply could be "exhausted" only if the Potomac River were to erode away a substantial portion of Tidewater Virginia.

c. Documentation of Localities and Geological Settings of Fossil Specimens

One statement made at the public hearing of June 21st characterized a fossil lacking documentation as a "mere object of curiosity." Another characterized a fossil without such documentation as analogous to "a page torn out of a book."

I suspect that most fossils donated to museums by amateurs include at least a location which would allow determination of the geologic setting. Serious collectors of rocks, minerals and fossils are careful to label specimens, at least with regard to locality.

I recognize the scientific value of field data and documentation of fossil specimens and I certainly agree with the speakers who made the statements quoted above to the extent that, absent such documentation, the scientific value of a specimen is diminished. However, to go further and assert that a fossil lacking such documentation is totally worthless is, to put it most charitably, inaccurate.

Much scientific knowledge regarding extinct vertebrate species is obtained through study of the skeleton itself. For example, the June 1999 issue of National Geographic describes studies of the infamous skeletal remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex known as "Sue". The studies described in the National Geographic article included examination of the bones for signs of infection and trauma and scans of the skull using computed tomography.

Yours truly,

George A. Loud
Chair, Conservation and Legislation Committee
American Federation of Mineralogical Societies
9709 Layminster Lane
Vienna, VA 22182

(703) 739-9393 (703) 739-9391 (Facsimile)

(Please read this carefully and completely. It may be long, but it is a condensed version that George sent for the newsletter. Ask George for the complete letter if you would like to be counted in the numbers who represent our interests!)

Bob Cranston, and Shirley
ALAA Executive Secretary 1992-1999

The ALAA is Bob Cranston. The ALAA will not be the same without Bob Cranston.

Let me tell you a story. When the ALAA was formed at the AFMS Convention in Brunswick, Ohio in the summer of 1992, it elected a Board of Directors, a President and a Treasurer. However, no one at the initial meetings was willing to take the position of Executive Secretary. So it was left up to the Directors and the President to find someone to fill that Office. One Director suggested contacting a person from the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies. This person lived in western Colorado and was both an activist and a willing worker and believed in the purpose of the ALAA.

Upon arriving home from the meetings in Ohio, the President called this gentlemen and asked if he would be interested in being the Secretary of an organization he had never heard of, offered by a person he had never talked to, or even knew of. Unbelievably, without anything to go on except the conversation on the phone, he accepted the job, saying he was just finishing up as Secretary of an organization located in western Colorado and had the time as long as it was not a "full time job". Talk about a person with faith in a voice on the other end of the phone! His name was Bob Cranston.

Not only has Bob been an outstanding member of the ALAA Officer corps, but he has been the primary builder of this Organization. Among his first duties (mind you without ever meeting any of the other Directors or Officers of the ALAA), he was asked to represent the ALAA at a meeting of interested parties on fossil collecting in Washington DC. The meeting was sponsored by a national museum group. He was exemplary in his representation with only a conference call with the Directors to bring him up-to-speed on the subject and the amateur point of view. Talk about a "quick study".

Bob was called upon to assist the ALAA in getting into the "Computer Era". The ALAA bought him a computer and said "Here Bob, go for it". Bob had some previous computer experience in his occupation with the phone company but a "PC" was something altogether new. He not only mastered it, but has been in the forefront of bringing the ALAA. and the hobby community into the Computer Age.

The ALAA was invited to have a booth/table at various meetings and shows including the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show in February. Bob has "carried" this effort, mostly by himself with the help of his delightful wife, Shirley. He maintains the ALAA membership lists. He composes and puts up the ALAA Electronic Newsletter on the INTERNET. He has published and mailed numerous newsletter editions. He has conducted the ALAA's correspondence both by snail-mail and e-mail. He has been the recipient of thousands of pieces of correspondence, forwarding the important ones on to others. He, and Shirley, have attended all the ALAA annual meetings and reported on each. Frankly, what hasn't he done? Bob has been "the ALAA". And all this while battling a long standing health problem, including open heart surgery. Ladies and Gentlemen, what more could we have asked of him. Money? Well, let me tell you about the bills for supplies and travel costs. He simply turns back the payments to the ALAA Treasury. Bob has been an outstanding Executive Secretary. He will not be easily replaced.

Bob has requested to be allowed to retire from this position this year. Frankly, I do not know how we will continue without he and Shirley. The ALAA and the "Rockhound" Community need to give Bob and Shirley Cranston a rousing "THANK YOU" and best wishes from us all. His contributions to the hobby have been significant beyond measure. So, for myself and "rockhounds" nationwide, THANKS BOB!

Jon Spunaugle, President, July 1999

From ALAA Newsletter, Vol. 6, No. 4

AFMS Code of Ethics

Please note "I will cause no willful damage �" on The Back Page.

There was one error as published in recent issues of the AFMS Newsletter (willful was omitted); and there is an addition that was presented from the NFMS this year and approved at the AFMS Annual Meeting in Nashville, July 7, 1999.

All Editors, Presidents, etc. should bring this to everyone's attention and use only this latest copy!!!


I will respect both private and public property and will do no collecting on privately owned land without permission from the owner.

I will keep informed on all laws, regulations and rules governing collecting on private lands and will observe them.

I will to the best of my ability, ascertain the boundary lines of property on which I plan to collect.

I will use no firearms or blasting materials in collecting areas.

I will cause no willful damage to property of any kind, such as fences, signs, buildings, etc.

I will leave all gates as found.

I will build fires only in designated or safe places and will be certain they are completely extinguished before leaving the area.

I will discard no burning materials - - matches, cigarettes, etc.

I will fill all excavation holes which may be dangerous to livestock.

I will not contaminate wells, creeks, or other water supplies.

I will cause no willful damage to collecting material and will take home only what I can reasonably use.

I will practice conservation and undertake to utilize fully and well the materials I have collected and will recycle my surplus for the pleasure and benefit of others.

I will support the Rockhound Project H.E.L.P. (Help Eliminate Litter Please) and will leave all collecting areas devoid of litter, regardless of how found.

I will cooperate with Field Trip Leaders and those in designated authority in all collecting areas.

I will report to my Club or Federation Officers, Bureau of Land Management, or other proper authorities, any deposit of petrified wood or other material on public lands which should be protected for the enjoyment of future generations and for public educational and scientific purposes.

I will appreciate and protect our heritage of Natural Resources.

I will observe the "Golden Rule", will use Good Outdoor Manners and will at all times conduct myself in a manner which will add to the stature and Public Image of Rockhounds everywhere.


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