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December 1999
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Contents:

Executive Officers' Reports:
        President
        Secretary
        President Elect
Safety
Loud & Clear
Bulletin Aids
All-American Club
Editor

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MINERALOGICAL SOCIETIES         Volume 53, Number 2
SERVING SEVEN REGIONAL FEDERATIONS December, 1999 - January 2000

Volunteers Working For You
Dan Lingelbach, 1999-200 AFMS President

This being my second message as President, I want to let you know who the members are, with new committee positions, that are working for you. First, we have a new AFMS Newsletter Editor. Carolyn Weinberger has agreed to take on that big job. I know she is not new to many rockhounds, as she is Editor of the EFMLS Newsletter, among her other volunteer activities. Naturally, I am really pleased that she agreed to accept this position when Bill Luke decided to move on to other jobs.

 Also, not new to the AFMS, is Shirley Leeson, but she does have a new job and that is AFMS Historian. She’s already Historian for the California Federation and has been collecting information for other Federations for several years. She is another one who is widely known for involvement in other Federation activities. 

To try to fill the shoes of Charlie Leach, we have Lewis Elrod, now AFMS Past President, who has agreed to Chair the Endowment Fund Committee in addition to other committees chaired by the Past President. Look for some new activities from this committee.

To replace Glenn Lee, we have Frank Decaminada from the Southeast Federation, who has agreed to Chair the Ways and Means Committee. Both Charlie and Glenn were recognized at the Annual Meeting in Nashville for their long service to the AFMS in their respective positions.

Since Roger Barnett said it was time for him to retire after 8 years, we have a new Chair for the Boundaries Committee. George Browne from the South Central Federation has agreed to serve in that capacity. This committee is one where we hope there is not much activity. This means that clubs are happy with the Federation they are in. 

A new committee, AFMS Photographer, will be Chaired by Barbara Sky, past AFMS Historian. Anyone who has participated in AFMS Annual Meetings know her as the lady with the camera, trying to get people to smile.

Except for one committee, all the other committees are chaired by those who served in that capacity last year. All of these people, as well as those with new positions, are to be commended for accepting these positions to serve all the AFMS members. Please support these members who serve in these positions if you are asked to help. If you want to feel like you are getting your money is worth, you must get involved in your club is and Federation activities.

While I’m on who’s working for you, I need to mention someone who has been working for you this past year and that is Bill Luke, now Past AFMS Editor. I understand that he and Betty have a new RV and some other new jobs, so wanted to be relieved of being Editor for another year. I had hoped he would continue on, even though he told Lewis Elrod he would only serve one year. However, since Carolyn Weinberger has agreed to serve as Editor, we can accept Bill’s request to resign. Our thanks and gratitude go out to Bill and Betty for a job well done. 

In later newsletters, I‘ll let you know more about what is planned. I can now say that the Website Committee is going to be dragging some of us into this new age of communications. They have some new plans so look for some great things from them in the future. For those serving the AFMS, I thank you for your dedication and say keep up the good work. 

Since the next newsletter will be in February, I wish all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Great New Year.

 

Change of Officers? Let Us Hear From You!
Dan McLennan, AFMS Secretary

November is often the time of year when clubs elect new officers. Is yours one of them?

Each club is entitled to receive three (3) issues of the AFMS Newsletter each month. Usually the club President and Editor are two of the three recipients with the third individual often the Vice-President, or Federation representative. The news contained in the AFMS Newsletter can only be of use to you and your club members if the proper individuals are receiving it.

Please, as your officers change, take a moment to notify the AFMS Secretary. Send the name and address of the three members who should receive the newsletter, along with the name of your club to:

Dan McLennan
AFMS Secretary
P.O. Box 26523
Oklahoma City, OK 73126-0523

 

A Chat with lzzie B.
By Isabella Bums, President Elect

The CFMS and AFMS vote of confidence in electing me President-elect is greatly appreciated and very challenging. It seems rather strange since you have elected me president-elect to tell you about myself, but you should know something about me. AFMS has operated successfully this way for over 50 years; maybe the US Political Parties could save money by this tactic.

Education is an inspiration for me. Many of you know that my husband and I started the Earth Science Studies Programs for CFMS and its members fifteen years ago and made the word ZZYZX known. I was born on a farm in Missouri (daughter of a dirt farmer) and my first love was the rocks on the hills of our farm. I could sit on a huge rock for hours and dream. After being educated in Missouri and receiving a BS degree in Education I taught school in Kansas, Japan and Germany; finally settled in California. I have retired now after serving as a teacher, counselor and administrator in kindergarten through junior college. My favorite was the Junior High Students for their desire to be active, seeking excitement, willingness to try new ideas, to be disobedient sometimes, and often to be a challenge.

Now you know what I feel we need for our organization to hang in there - People who are willing to be active in our societies, who present some new and exciting ideas, and who are willing to accept the challenge to make things better in the future. Several people have expressed concern about the decline in membership and disbanding of clubs. Two clubs in California are trying new ideas. One needed money to accomplish some of their goals; so they raised the dues to find a place and restart their lapidary shop. The other is using committees to handle the work of the club. Example: A group are responsible for the field trips instead of just a leader; then if someone is sent to Chicago by his/her company for a month someone else leads the trip and he has no need to feel guilty.

Last year in the AFMS Newsletter, President Dan expressed his concern in maintaining access to collecting areas. He wondered if lands could be leased by us that had good collecting or if claims could be filed on collecting sites. Things have gotten worse; but tonight I received a call from a man, who wants the CFMS to stake some mining claims so that members of CFMS Societies could use them to collect. This would build the membership and keep the interest for everyone. It will be a challenge with regulations, insurance, etc. and might need to be done by individual societies; as there is a limit to how many claims can be owned by a “casual use” miner. I am sure it will be considered at our up coming CFMS Meeting. 

Listen to our AFMS President Dan Lingelbach and be open minded to his ideas. He certainly has the best interests of our educational recreation at heart.

 

Is This Stuff Safe?
by Mel Albright, AFMS Safety Chair

Suppose you are working in your rock shop and have some chemical on hand for a chore. Maybe you want to clean silver. Perhaps pickle a solder joint. Perhaps clean a mineral sample. Or maybe clean off some fingerprints. Or what’s your chemical? 

How do you know that the chemical is safe to use? How do you find what safety precautions you need to use it? There’s help available. 

First, you need to find the chemical name of the stuff. Some are easy to find - hydrogen chloride (acid), acetone (cleaning solvent), sodium bisulfate (pickle), sodium lauryl sulfate (soap bubbles), dodecyl benzene sulfonate (detergent) and the like. Some are not so easy - proprietary products in general. But a little search may tell you what chemicals are commonly used for what you are doing. Or, you may write the manufacturer of the proprietary product and request the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for their product. By law they must have one and must send you a copy upon request.

But for named chemicals there is a great reference available - the International Chemical Safety Cards. These contain all the safety information you might ever need when using a chemical - fire danger, skin contact danger, storage danger, breathing danger, and more. They are put out through the World Health Organization of the UN. In the US, they are available from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Center for Disease Control. The fastest and easiest way to check these is on the internet. The location is <www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcs/ipcs0000.html>. They are arranged alphabetically and just one click and a little scrolling will get you to the chemical you want to know about. This is probably the most complete collection available.

My suggestion is that you copy the safety card for EVERYTHING in your shop (or write for the MSDS). Sure, it may be a bit of trouble, but even stuff you have used for years might be more dangerous than you realize. Take a cold winter day, get on the internet, and check out your chemicals. YOU are the one who might be in danger.

 

Loud & Clear
by George Loud, AFMS Conservation & Legislation Chair

 DRAFT REPORT TO CONGRESS - “Assessment of Fossil Management on Federal and Indian Lands” 

On October 25th the Department of Interior (DOI) released a draft version of a report entitled “Assessment of Fossil Management on Federal and Indian Lands” responsive to a mandate included in last year’s appropriation bill for the department. Comments will be accepted until November 29, 1999. The report is available at the website http://www.fs.fed.us/geology. Assuming that you are reading this column subsequent to November 29, 1999 you may want to check to see if there has been an extension and, if so, please write a letter with your comments to: Sara Pena, Bureau of Land Management, 1849 C Street, N.W., LS-204, Washington, D.C. 20240. 

My reading of the draft report is that its recommendations would do little to alter existing federal regulations. The discussion of “Principle 3: Some Vertebrate and Plant Fossils are Rare” at page 22 of the report seems to endorse the current BLM regulations allowing for unpermitted hobby collection of petrified wood, invertebrates and plant material. 

Among the recommendations in the report are: “Penalties for fossil theft should be strengthened (pages 23 and 24); “More rangers, paleontologists and other trained personnel [should be] made available to land managers at the field level.” (page 24) ; “Future legislation should contain provisions which acknowledge the need for gathering and analyzing information about where fossils occur, in particular the critical role of inventory in effective management of fossil resources. Increases emphasis on funding fossil inventory should take into consideration...” (page 26 of the report).  

All good citizens (I include myself in that category) support effective law enforcement. However, in view of numerous anecdotal stories of harassment of collectors engaged in legal activities on federal lands, I am somewhat uncomfortable with the prospect of an increase in criminal penalties coupled with an increase in policing. Any increase in penalties or policing should be accompanied by better training of rangers to distinguish between legal and illegal activities. As for inventorying fossils on all Federal lands (about 25% of the U.S. land mass), I suspect that many good citizens would ask “at what cost”? 

The report labors under the myth that all vertebrate fossils are rare and scientifically important. I addressed this point at length in my letter to Dr. Brown of the DOI, which letter was published in the September 1999 issue of this newsletter.

Roadless Area Protection

Any regular reader should be well aware of the “temporary” existing moratorium on road construction which has given land managers considerable discretion in reclaiming (obliterating) countless existing trails and roads. The Forest Service is expected to soon issue proposed rules which would make the existing moratorium permanent and perhaps expand it. Stay tuned. 

 

I’m Very Excited...
by Kitty Starbuck, AFMS Bulletin Aids Chairman

 ...that I was nominated for an AFMS award for Original Poems in July. The e-mail went on to say, “By the wording on the announcement, I won a certificate (or even a trophy???) which I am very excited about!!! I haven’t received anything yet, and hope I am not sounding ungrateful (because I am VERY grateful, but I am anxious to see this thing, (and so is my mom...).”  The “thing” Carl Mehling, Department of Herpetology, American Museum of Natural History is talking about is WHAT he won in the AFMS bulletin contest...a FIRST PLACE TROPHY for his poem. 

Carl was on his honeymoon and unable to attend the Convention, so his trophy was picked up by another person.

The base of the trophy was made of Tennessee red cedar, hand made by Steve Henegar, with a lamp of knowledge, a brass plate with his name and placement, and a Tennessee geode furnished by Lewis Elrod, the President of AFMS at that time. 

NOW, I hope that all you editors will enter the 1999 Bulletin Editors Contest so that you may become as EXCITED as Carl did, when he received his post card saying he had placed in the top 10. Editors do not learn where they placed until they pick up their certificate or trophy at the Convention.

At the Editor’s Breakfast in Houghton, Michigan in 1998, each editor received a favor (complete with a little bird) with the following on each: 

AS AN EDITOR
YOU are the strength of the club...
YOU are the best means of communications...
YOU remind members of meetings, field trips and news...
YOU provide the latest and newest information available.
YOU provide a “current calendar” of area events...and much, much, more. 

In essence, it is the editor who is the MOST IMPORTANT MEMBER OF A CLUB, BESIDES BEING THE “HARDEST WORKING”!!! 

I know because a “little bird” told me so! 

NOW that you know how important you are, let’s take a look at your bulletin. We won’t be able to look at all the above points in one issue, so we will start with the cover. 

What does your cover tell us?

Does it have the NAME of the bulletin?

Does it have the club name? It is not necessary to have the city and state on the cover; this can be placed on the inside of the front cover. Sometimes, the name of the club will give you a clue as to where it is located...like my own club, The Kalamazoo Geological and Mineral Society...yes there really is a Kalamazoo (made popular by a song during WWII) and it is in Michigan.

Does it have the publication date on the front? Or do you have to search through the bulletin (sometimes the program announcement will tell you), to find what month and year it is?

Is the editors name and address, or the address of the Exchange Editor on the cover...or must you look on the inside of the front cover (sometimes on the inside of the back cover) only to find that all it lists is the officers names and their phone numbers. Having been an editor for many years, there is nothing more frustrating than to realize you are unable to find an address for a certain person you wish to contact. If the return address is for an exchange editor, then please show the editors name and address inside...or show both on the cover. I am fortunate to have a Directory from each of the seven Federations, so finding an address is really not a problem, but you probably do not have such directories.

Do you show the ‘logo’ of the federation your club belongs to, and also the ‘logo’ of the American Federation? Every club that is a member of a Regional Federation is also a member of the American Federation. Speaking of the AFMS, did you know, or did you realize that there are only 7 officers (one from each Federation) plus the Secretary and the Treasurer that make up the American Federation. Each Regional Federation is a member of the American Federation and your club is a member of your Regional Federation. Do place the appropriate ‘logos’ on your bulletin. 

What is on the back side of your cover? You should have a listing of all your club officers, their addresses or contact info., and if possible, a phone number....(Ma Bell charges a lot to look up a phone number for you!).

How much are your dues? If someone happens to pick up your bulletin, the first thing they want to know is: How much does it cost to belong to this organization? Spell out your dues structure and the date of your meetings...1st Monday or the month? 3rd Thursday of the month? AND BE SURE TO LIST THE LOCATION, with the street address. Someone from out of town probably doesn’t know where the Portage Senior Center is...it’s in Portage, but where? I know, you can stop and ask, but I’ve been surprised at the times we have stopped to ask where something is only to receive a “blank’ look on the persons face! They don’t know what or where you are even talking about...! 

And last, but not least, give the purpose of the club. This is necessary to receive a 501(c)(3) from the IRS.

See you next month.

 

Congratulations
by Lyle & Colleen Kugler
AFMS All-American Club Chairs

The All American Awards Committee would like to congratulate the following clubs for their entries in the All American Awards in 1999 and encourage all of them to participate again in 2000!

Large Clubs

Arlington Gem & Mineral Club
Highest Scoring Gold Award
South Central Federation

Midwest Mineralogical & Lapidary Soc. of Dearborn, MI
Gold Award
Midwest Federation

Wisconsin Geological Society
Gold Award
Midwest Federation

Santa Clara Valley Gem & Mineral Society
Silver Award
California Federation

Los Alamos Geological Society
Silver Award
Rocky Mountain Federation

Small Clubs

Stillwater Mineral & Gem Society
Highest Scoring Gold Award
Rocky Mountain Federation

Whittier Gem & Mineral Society
Gold Award
California Federation

Orcutt Mineral Society
Silver Award
California Federation

 

Why Not Enter?
by Carolyn Weinberger

 As Editor of my local club newsletter, Gem Cutters News, I’ve been involved with bulletin editors’ contests for about 25 years. I view these “contests” as a great way to learn how to improve the newsletter which I produce each month. I don’t enter the contest with the goal of “winning” an award or trophy, but rather of learning something from the other editors who read and evaluate my work. While I do not always agree with what the judges have to say, I’ve incorporated many suggestions and have been able to improve my bulletin each year. My club and its members have benefited from this process. I’m always disturbed when many other editors do not enter the bulletin contests because I feel that they are losing out on a great way of learning something new. 

There are other “contests” sponsored by the AFMS too. The slide and video competition has certainly resulted in each of the regional federations obtaining additional, top quality programs each year. While preparing these programs is time consuming and costly, the competition winners now earn a cash prize for their work – a nice way to recoup at least part of the cost of the slides taken. And all clubs can benefit from these programs since they are distributed to each regional federation at no charge.               

The All-American Club Award is a great way for club members to sit back and take a look at themselves. To enter, you merely prepare a scrapbook in which you tell (brag) about your club and its activities. The guidelines, which should be printed in these pages in the next issue, can give you good insight in things that you do well as a club and things that you don’t do so well – areas that might need improvement. 

Why doesn’t your club enter one or all of these competitions? Gain some insight, share your wonderful ideas, get some recognition for your group. It’s free.....it’s not difficult....and preparation of entries for these competitions is a wonderful way of working together as a club. 

As one of the old TV ads used to tell us – “try it, you’ll like it”! 

 

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