AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MINERALOGICAL SOCIETIES
Volume 57, Number 2
IN THIS ISSUE
from Alan Hukill, Education-All American Awards Chairman
As we end 2003, it might not be a bad idea for you to take a serious look at your club. What things are you doing well? What items in your program could use some improvement? While you're doing this, why not prepare your club report as an entry for the AFMS All-American Program?
The program was established in 1967 by the AFMS and the regional federations. Its purpose is to encourage clubs to be active in their respective federations and offer some sort of national recognition for those clubs. It is also a very good method of documenting your club's history. This article is intended to set the stage for the 2004 program, and it is hoped that many of you will participate.
Report Form Instructions
Each report is to be submitted as a single document, with a limit of 100 sheets (one- or two-sided) including text and graphics. A loose-leaf notebook would make a good binder.
The document should be in six sections, with dividers numbered 1-6. The report form should be in Section 1, and the information supporting each of the sections of the report should follow the appropriate divider. There are no limits to the number of pages in any section. When filling out the form, mark all appropriate blanks and enter numbers or other information where requested. Assemble requested supporting materials and lists following the correct section divider, and insert photos or other graphics following the typed information. You will be completing the report in the early part of 2004, but all requested information is for the year 2003.
I anticipate no changes to the entry forms. Forms are included in this newsletter or from your regional chairman or from myself through regular mail. It is not too soon to be collecting all the information for your entry and I would encourage those who can to do so.
The AFMS convention is in July this year, so I would like the entries to be in my hands by April 15 for the national judging. Your regional federation chairman will establish a "due date" for your club entry to be sent to them. Clubs in Federations with no regional chairman can submit their entries directly to me. Awards will be presented at the AFMS Awards Banquet in Syracuse, NY on July 10, 2004.
Listed below are the chairmen for the regional federations, which I have been able to confirm to this point. I am sorry not to be able to list them all but I cannot list those of whom I am not sure.
Rocky Mountain Federation
The complete entry form for this year can be found on page 5 of this issue of the newsletter. Questions? Contact your regional federation chairman or me directly.
I look forward to being inundated with club reports this year and reading about YOUR club!
from Marve Starbuck, President
As previously noted, I think one of our major topics of discussion should be communications. This message will deal with communications 'to and from' individual clubs.
Kitty and I just spent 3 days at an area gem and mineral show, manning a booth with several handouts for teachers, as well as materials from both the Midwest Federation and the American Federation. A fellow came up to our table, picked up a MWF Directory, and said "I've been looking all over for one of these, and haven't been able to find one." I explained that every club receives a copy, and his club should have one. He said he had asked and couldn't find it, that it probably went to someone who no longer belongs to the club. Here lies the problem. It is the individual clubs responsibility. The program was established in 1967 by the AFMS and the seven regional federations. Its purpose was to encourage clubs to be active in their respective federations and offer some sort of national recognition for those clubs. It is also a very good method of documenting your club's history. This article is intended to set the stage for the 2004 program, and it is hoped that many of you will participate.
I'm not familiar with the logistics of each federation, but can point out how it is handled in the Midwest. In the October issue, and also the November issue, we have a dues application form, an insurance application form, and a Calendar of Events form. The MWF dues are due on January 15, and we allow until February 15 for the clubs to respond. At that point, the club information goes to the Directory Chairman, who transfers it to the directory. The directories are sent to each member club that has paid their dues. A copy also goes to the President and Vice President of each of the other federations, the editors of each federation newsletter, and also to the Central Office. These are mailed about the 1st of April.
Clubs that do not have their dues in by February 15, are termed delinquent, and their information is NOT PUBLISHED. Yes, we have delinquent clubs, who call and want to know "Why aren't we receiving the MWF Newsletter?" We don't have as many as we used to, since we have revised the policy of when dues SHOULD be paid.
I feel these points are important:
Thank you for seeing that this gets done, it will be a major step in the right direction.
And with that I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy Hanukkah.
from Dee Holland, Chairman
Each of the participating Regional Presidents will be receiving a formal letter soon regarding the selection of their Awardees for 2004. This is a reminder to each Federation to get their nominees in to the Scholarship President by January 15th. That means we need the name, title, address and email (if possible). We must have the background information on each Awardee at least four weeks before their regional show so that we have time to get the plaque ready for shipping.
The selection of schools and students will come next. We have been informed by the AFMS Scholarship Treasurer, Arlene Burkhalter, that it is imperative we have the social security number of each student. This is because the schools Track their students in this manner. Thanks, in advance, for making Arlene's job a little easier.
More and detailed information will be forthcoming, but because the AFMS Newsletter will be a combined December/January issue, and we won't be able to publish this information until February, which is too late for the January 15th deadline for selection of the Awardees, we are announcing this information at this time.
By Jim Brace-Thompson
In this, the last of my series of proposed "merit badge" ideas, I tackle the ultimate hands-on activity: a field trip! Little can replace the thrill of discovering a precious gemstone or fossil first-hand, and kids seem to be genetically programmed for this thrill. But before you start off down the road, you need to lay out some very specific ground rules both for yourself and the kids.
First and foremost, be aware of the laws of your state regarding fossils (some areas, and some types of fossils, are regulated and, if anything, such regulations will increase in coming years). Whether searching for fossils, rocks, or minerals, always secure any necessary permits and obtain permission to collect on private property. With a large group, you'll very likely be required to sign a waiver promising not to damage property and absolving property owners of any responsibility for accidents. In fact, you're likely to get a better reception if you approach a property owner with such a waiver already in hand and with evidence of insurance coverage through your regional Federation. In selecting your field trip site, avoid areas with obvious hazards (high-traffic road cuts, steep bluffs, thick clumps of poison oak, etc.).
Remind kids to dress in appropriate outdoor clothing, sturdy shoes, and a hat, and before you go, explain the ground rules. Then, remind kids of those rules once you arrive. Kids have boundless enthusiasm and energy, especially if they've been cooped up in a bus or car. If parking near a roadway, be sure your car is fully off the pavement when you arrive, then watch for kids rushing up steep slopes of loose talus. Don't let rocks get tossed into a roadway-or toward other kids! Don't undermine overhangs, and don't leave unfilled holes. Do make sure an adult in the group knows first-aid and has a fully stocked first-aid kit close at hand, with a cell phone and directions to the nearest hospital in the event of an emergency. Finally, select sites relatively rich in minerals or fossils. By nature, kids are impatient and will want to start finding "stuff" right away. The goal, after all, is to foster enthusiasm, not to tax their patience. If you don't know of any suitable exposures in your immediate area, ask around at a local college. Many college geology departments and state geological surveys have road logs for field trips.
With rules and recommendations like these in mind, here are some potential activities for your juniors:
Field trip etiquette. Learn and demonstrate knowledge of the AFMS Code of Ethics. Make a permission release form. Demonstrate field trip etiquette on your next trip. If the trip was on private land, did you first gain permission? Did you provide the owner with a release form? Did you fill holes you made? If at a road cut, did you keep rocks off the roadway?
Record keeping. Start and maintain a "field journal" of what you did and what you found in a composition or a spiral-bound notebook, three-ring binder, or other record book. Take notes while in the field and later write up a formal report including observations about the locality and specimens. Pinpoint where you found your rocks, minerals, or fossils so that others could locate the spot. Was there a specific layer containing the fossil or mineral deposit? If so, how could others locate and identify that layer?
Indoor field trips. Organize a field trip to a college geology department or to a museum, calling in advance to arrange a tour not just of the exhibitions on public display, but the treasures behind the scenes.
With this and the seven ideas I've described previously, may your kids learn while-as always-having fun!
from Bill Smith, President-elect
I mentioned last month Janet and I were working on two new cases for display. One of the cases being from South Central Kansas and North Central Oklahoma. We spent a day last month at the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge digging for selenite crystals. The Salt Plains are a flat expanse of mud, completely devoid of vegetation. The name, Salt Plains, is derived from a thin layer of salt that covers the flats. You can always find beautiful crystals as the most productive area in which the selenite crystals are found has been divided into sections. Each section is used on a rotating basis to allow time for crystal growth.
Selenite is a crystallized form of gypsum. Chemically, it is a hydrous calcium sulfate. Gypsum is a common mineral that takes on a great variety of crystal forms and shapes.
On the Salt Plains, the crystals are formed just below the salt encrusted surface. They are seldom found deeper than two feet. Crystals take on the characteristics of their environment; the finer the soil, the more clear the crystals. Iron oxide in the soil gives the crystals their chocolate brown color. Because these crystals form in wet soil, sand and clay particles are included within the crystal. These particles often form a- beautiful "hourglass" shape, found only in this area. Other foreign objects in the soil such as sticks, rocks, bones and even cockleburs, are sometimes included as the crystal forms.
Single crystals, penetration twins, and clusters are the typical shapes. Exceptional individual crystals measuring up to seven inches long have been found, along with complex combinations weighing as much as 38 pounds. We were not that lucky but found many nice singles, twins and small clusters and this was at the end of the digging season.
The collecting area is open from April 1 through October 15 sunrise to sunset. You are permitted to remove up to 10 pounds of crystals, plus one large cluster for personal use in any one day. Due to the white surface, it is very easy to get sunburned. Use a strong shovel to dig a hole to the water level then using a container or hands splash water on the sides to expose the fragile crystals. When removed, place them in the sun to let them harden. The collecting area is located five miles west and three miles north of Jet, OK. If you are planning a trip through the area this is a must stop for easy access and digging for some of the most beautiful and unique crystal shapes I have ever seen.
Until next month,
from Kitty Starbuck
From time to time I'd like to share with you an article or some tips I've gathered over the years which will help you either write a better article or produce a better newsletter for your club. Here is one, written by Diane Dare for the SCRIBE 2000 annual meeting in Quartzsite which I think is especially helpful.
excerpts from an Article Written by Diane Dare for SCRIBE "Q" 2000
American Federation Bulletin Contest Guidelines, Item #7, states: "Reports" should not be entered in AFMS competition as an original article, although they are a vital part of the bulletin. Reports that are most likely to be entered as an original article are field trips or vacations. It is a report if it is primarily a travelog. It could be an original article for competition if the author writes about geological factors of the area, gives good description of material found, and/or uses research to enhance the educational value of the report."
Dictionaries define a REPORT as: an account or statement, usually detailed, presented in formal or organized form; a written record or summary of the proceedings of a meeting or session. An ARTICLE defined as: a nonfictional prose composition that is an independent part of a publication.
So, we have an 'account' as opposed to a 'composition'. To ME, a REPORT could have been written by ANYONE who attended the event or read the book. An ARTICLE has a personal touch, and could ONLY be written by the specific author. That 'personal touch' in a technical article can be due to the references used, or the interpretation of the research.
An ARTICLE, then, is YOUR view, YOUR impression, YOUR take on the experience or event or facts. Items listed as Club News on the Bulletin Score Sheets are generally reports. ARTICLES are special- interest or in-depth features.
Of course, the article MUST be original. Being original is hard when dealing with facts such as physical properties of minerals. An author should try to find some lesser-known or unusual facts. Here is where the research and references come in. However, you must NOT sacrifice accuracy for originality. State that quartz has a hardness of 13 may be original, but it will sure lose points for accuracy.
TV's C-SPAN2 broadcast a panel discussion on Science Writing in April, 1999. One question from the moderator was: How much can you assume the reader knows? How explanatorily do you have to be? Panelists responses included: "Anyone can understand if you explain it. Figure out what they need to know. They do need the vocabulary." "You CAN write non-technically and be just as exact." "Sneak the information or education into your story."
Advanced Articles do NOT have to be long, dry, scholarly treatises. A good Advanced Article - or any article for that matter - takes a familiar subject and sheds new light on it. It may use a different or unusual approach to the subject. A good Advanced Article takes a complex topic and makes it easy to understand. A good Advanced Article can be deceptively 'simple', but after reading it, you realize you learned something.
To sum it all up: A REPORT is - Just the facts, Ma'am. AN ARTICLE is - The rest of the story.
from B. Jay Bowman, AFMS Uniform Rules Chair
The new rules that went into effect this year in Jewelry do not mean that you no longer have to label your pieces, It means that you don't have to list every technique on every piece in order to get credit for the technique. You should still label the primary technique used for the piece but not lose points in showmanship by having a label larger than the piece you are exhibiting. It also means that you no longer have to have fifteen different techniques in order to get all fifteen points for techniques.
If you have engraving, enameling, mokume, or some of the other more difficult techniques in your pieces then you will get extra credit for those techniques. The extra credit will be based on the judge's experience in doing those techniques and how much more difficult they are in comparison to the more often used methods of making a jewelry item, as well as how well you did them.
This may be a very subjective call but there are many areas in judging cases that are subjective. It would take a large volume of criteria to eliminate any subjectivity in judging.
Throughout the coming year there will be periodic comments about the rules and if anyone has questions that might be of interest to many people I will try to answer them in these articles.
B. Jay Bowman
[Ed. Note: Jay Bowman is the recipient of the 2003 Eastern Federation "Citation Award" for his outstanding service to the Federation. Selection of the recipient is made each year from nominations received from the EFMLS Past Presidents and is presented at the annual Federation convention. He is the instructor for the Certified Judging class at the Eastern Federation workshops held annually at Wildacres, Little Switzerland, NC and was previously selected as a member of the National Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame.]
from Bill Buckner
I have just past my 78th birthday and want to suggest that several problems confront us in old age. I want to mention four.
In our early forties we have a tendency to have some adjustments to make in our vision. We need to wear glasses. Later we may have cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or a host of other eye problems. We usually make adjustments and do pretty well. Another thing sometimes happens that effects our safety--our loss of good balance. This may be caused by inner ear trouble or by not having enough light so we can get our bearings. I have to get up a couple of times most nights and must have a night light to be able to stand up when I first try to stand. Sometimes people lose side vision and need to have our eyes moving from side to side to see what is near us as we walk or drive.
Many of us have hearing loss and need to make adjustment to help provide safety. If we are driving we can use our mirrors to help spot emergency vehicles such as fire trucks, police cars, or ambulances. We also need to check our turn signal lights to make sure they turn off after we turn. Some people find hearing aids to be a real help--some do not. One man told me that hearing aids were the greatest invention ever made. He could listen to what he wanted to hear and cut the power when he did not want to hear.
Memory loss happens in old age with some. Many people have told me that when they go into a room they ask themselves--what am I here after. That is known as living in the here after. Seriously, some people report that they often find themselves much farther on the road than they thought. Sometimes they pass the exit they wanted to leave the interstate. To deal with these issues I have tried to be keep my memory alert by working at least one crossword puzzle daily and by writing down what I need to do each day.
A fourth problem older folks have is slowing down of reaction time. There are several reasons for this. I will mention these in random order. As we go through life we have a lot of experiences. As an example: As a driver of more than 60 years I have many experiences stored in my memory. When something happens our memory banks research what to do from all the memories stored in our brains. Even if our brain works as fast as it used to, it takes a little longer to make a decision on what to do and it takes a little longer to react because of conditions in our bodies. When driving we should practice staying at least three seconds behind the car in front of us so we have room to stop. We also need to be especially careful in using tools, especially those driven by power.
Take good care of yourself, enjoy life, and give someone a smile.
from Bonnie Glismann
With the new year beginning in just a few weeks, NOW might be a good time for you to make a resolution to select an individual or couple to be your "Rockhounds of the Year". Surely every AFMS affiliated club has at least one person that you would like to brag about. Why not share the good news that this person is your member with the rest of us? Simply tell us in 50 words or less why this person or couple is important to your club. Send your information to me or to your regional representative and we'll see that the information is printed in a future AFMS Newsletter. I'm looking forward to hearing from you about your club's MVP.
The Presidential Gem and Mineral Society in New Hampshire wishes to recognize Jim Holmes as the AFMS Club Rockhound of the Year. Jim, a club member since 1993, has tirelessly served the club in the positions of president, secretary, librarian, education coordinator and long time field trip coordinator. His knowledge of gems and minerals is freely shared in formal club programs and on field trips! The club members thank Jim and wish to recognize him for his dedication.
nominated by Lawrence Underhill, president
The Spring River Gem & Mineral Club in Cherokee, Village, Arkansas, honors Virginia Cordy as our 2003 Rockhound of the Year. Virginia joined the SRGMC in 2001, and almost immediately assumed the most important position of Field Trip Chairman. As such, she finds, organizes, maps, schedules, and secures permission to dig sites, besides providing the pertinent info on necessary equipment, etc. Her gentle but determined manner and beautiful smile has gained us access to sites not previously accessible. Our club now boasts monthly field trips, due to Virginia's efforts. Virginia also "jumped in" during her first year as a SRGMC member to provide two programs for meetings. She has also instructed our club how to craft gem trees. The exceptional qualification that Virginia possesses for our 2003 Rockhound of the Year is that IMMEDIATELY upon joining, she has been a vital member of our club. She fully embraced the club with her enthusiasm, involvement, participation, and willingness to assume leadership. Virginia Cordy is a sterling model for an ideal exemplary member of any Rockhounding Club, certainly one that the Spring River Gem & Mineral Club is fortunate to have.
Submitted by Ray Gottschalk, Vice-President
from Wendell Mohr, AFMS Commemorative Stamps Committee
The American Federation of Mineralogical Societies has an ongoing goal of having subjects of interest appear on commemorative stamps. Currently we are attempting to get gemstones on stamps.
The 2003 United States 50 State Quarters program features a faceted diamond gemstone on the Arkansas 25 cent piece. Collect these and also support gemstones on stamps too!
We need YOU to actively support and promote the project by sending letters to the USPS. You do not have to be an AFMS member to write, so encourage your friends and relatives to get involved too. Letters or petitions for stamp subjects should be sent to:
The Citizens Stamp advisory Committee
In your letter, be sure to tell the committee, in your own words, how you would like to see a series of gemstones on stamps issued. (There have never been gemstones on U.S. issued stamps.)
Thanks for your assistance. With your help, we CAN make this happen!
Section 1 - Club Information (No points awarded) Club
Section 2 - Service to Members & Guests (30 points possible)
Section 3 - Publications and Publicity (15 points possible)
Section 4 - Support for the Federation (Regional and American) and other clubs (20 points possible)
Section 5 - Community Relations (15 points possible)
Section 6 - Government Agency and Legislative Relations (10 points possible)
Section 7 - Overall Format & Presentation of Submission (10 points possible)
Scoring and Awards
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