AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MINERALOGICAL SOCIETIES
Volume 53, Number 3
Last month I mentioned some of the new Chairs of the AFMS Committees. This month I want to high light some of the faithful ones who have been carrying out their duties in a dedicated manner for some time. I know it's risky to single out certain members, since all Chairs are hard working and I'm bound to miss some one, but I want the members to realize who they are.
One of these is George Loud with his article "Loud and Clear". His is a time consuming job serving as Chair of the Conservation and Legislation Committee. There is so much going on in the Federal Agencies that affect our hobby that needs to be monitored. Sorting through the listings alone is a tremendous task. He's the ideal person because of his background and proximity to Washington, DC. Please read what he has to report in the newsletter.
Another regular is Mel Albright as Chair of the Safety Committee. He is another person well suited for his position because of his professional experience in the petroleum industry. Again, I hope you read his articles and heed his advice.
Kitty Starbuck is right up there with the others in her articles as Chair of the Club Publications Committee. She gives these pep talks to the Editors, encouraging them to submit their newsletter and articles for evaluation to help them provide the best newsletter for their club members. She has a big job is seeing that qualified Judges are obtained to provide assistance to the Editors who submit their intellectual property for evaluation. She, like all the other Chairs have Regional Federation members who assist in carrying out the duties of the committee.
Marge Collins is a name you see often since she is Chair of the Program Competitions Committee. This is one committee whose successes benefit all the clubs as their results provide the new slide and video programs which can be checked out by any member club. These include a variety of topics to provide informative and interesting club programs. Unfortunately, participation in this activity has not been what we would like, since producing a program takes considerable time with all the technical details. To help encourage members to try, there is a cash award for those scoring high enough on the peer evaluation. Every Federation has a Program Competitions Committee and the Chair would be happy to assist anyone wanting to get started.
Education-All American Committee, Chaired by Lyle and Colleen Kugler, is one where clubs who participate benefit from entering, even if they don't get an award. This requires a club to collect and review all of their activities to see if they are providing the most for their members, the community and the hobby. The resulting notebook provides a marvelous history for that club.
Juniors are the future of our hobby and the Chairs of the Junior Programs Committee, Bob and Kathy Miller, see that their booth and educational materials are included in the AFMS Show and Conventions. If they can't be there, they arrange so the display is there and operational.
The CFMS will host a dedication of Am Historical Collecting area (known as Hauser Geode beds) on January 31, 2000 at the collecting site southwest of Blythe, CA. This is a Cooperative Management Agreement with BLM and CFMS, which will permit the continued use of the area to collect geodes, nodules, other rocks and minerals in the area and our acceptance of the responsibility to care for the area. There will be some rules for us to follow to help protect the threatened and endangered species in the area. Jim Strain, Chairman of the CFMS Public Lands Advisory Committee is working out the details of routes that will be open, rules when digging, trash removal, etc.
The Historical Collecting Area has been used since the first humans came into the area. Arrowheads found here show that Indians made tools of the material. Finding a geode from here by a stage coach drive on the Butterfield Stage challenged the man's son, Joel Hauser, years later to find the place where his father had found beautiful rocks. Thus the area was made famous. CFMS clubs have made many field trips there since the 1940's to collect geodes with quartz, amethyst, and calcite crystals and solid nodules of jasper and agates of all colors and types.
In 1990 the desert tortoise was listed as endangered under the National Environmental Policy of 1969. Since then, other animals and plants have been found to need protection. The Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert Coordinated Management Plan (NECO), has made an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) which contains our valued collecting site. We are very proud to be able to make a Cooperative Management Agreement with the BLM and keep this Historical Collecting Area open and to help care for our desert.
Jim and I are looking at some other sites and have made a contact with the BLM recreation people in those areas. There have been agreements between desert recreation enthusiasts, such as the Off Road Vehicle Association, Wind Wizards (and sailors), etc. and the BLM and other agencies for use and care. Every Federation that uses public lands should contact their BLM or other government agencies to try to form an agreement with them. If I can help with such a project, contact me.
Everyone is welcome to join us for this prestigious occasion. The CFMS Field Trip North Chairman, Richard Pankey, has planned a week field trip to this area for this time. To get to the camp location, exit Interstate 10 at Wiley Wells Road, which is approximately 10 miles west of Blythe. Go south on this road 12.5 miles to the Long Term Visitors Area (LTVA). There will be a field trip from her at 8:00 a.m. on January 31 to the Hauser Geode Site. A pot luck and campfire will be held that evening with speakers on the care of the area, especially that of the endangered tortoise. You may join the group for the day, for any part of the day, or for the week. There is a fee for camping at the LTVA which is a dry camp.
The 19th edition of the International Directory of Micromounters (IDM) is scheduled to be available at the Paul Desautels Memorial Micromount Symposium in September 2000. The editor is presently collecting information for inclusion in this new edition. He needs the following information:
1. Anyone who has just begun to make micromounts during the last few years is urged to contact the editor, Roy I. Grim, 9155A Hitching Post Lane; Laurel, MD 20723-1531 and provide his/her name and address for inclusion in the IDM. Also, the collector may choose to include his/her telephone or fax numbers and E-mail address in the entry.
2. If a micromounter has access to a copy of current IDM, he/she may provide additional personal information as outlined in the introductory pages under "A Special Line of Information".
3. The editor also needs to know if any micromounters have lost interest in this hobby or have passed away. If a micromounter has passed away, his name will remain listed, but the date of death will be added, if it is available to the editor.
The price for the 19th edition has not as yet been determined.
Copies of the 18th edition of the IDM are available. The price is $7.00 per copy, postpaid, for collectors living in the United States. Personal checks from micromounters living in the United States are acceptable and should be made payable to Roy I Grim or to the Baltimore Mineral Society. In either case, checks should be sent to Roy I. Grim (address above).
Micromounters living outside the United States must request prices and other information from the editor.
AFMS Program Competition
Surely you have heard the dictum "Give a man a fish - feed him for one day. Teach him how to fish - feed him for a lifetime." This philosophy applies to our hobby as well. "Giving a fellow Rockhound a rock is great, but teach/share your knowledge and enthusiasm and you are passing on a lifetime of enjoyment and accomplishment! Many Rockhounds do demonstrate their skills at meetings and shows. This is treat. But there is a way to reach a much larger audience - and greater rewards. Create a slide or video presentation about your special interest and enter it in Program Competition. That program can be seen by clubs across the country for years to come!
Yes it takes time and money to produce a presentation. But there are many rewards for doing so. In additions to the satisfaction of sharing, substantial prizes are given to winners! Four prizes of $200 are waiting for individuals and or clubs who produce a program that scores 95 or more points. Details are outlined in the "Rules and Guidelines" published on page 3 of this issue. If you have any questions, contact your Regional Librarian.
2000 AFMS Program Competition
Slide or video presentations relating to the Earth Sciences are eligible.
Who May Enter:
Classes For Entries:
Judging (Judges look for:)
*Each program is judged on its own merits. Entrants will receive a composite score sheet.
For VHS Videos:
Reproduction / Duplication:
How To Enter:
AFMS Program Competition Coordinator, Marge Collins, 3017 Niles-Buchanan Rd., Buchanan MI 49107 phone: (616)695-4313
2000 Entry Form
Home phone ___________________Is this program for sale? No___Yes___Cost:_______
The Honorary Award Winners from the six Regional Federations have selected students to receive AFMS Scholarship Foundation grants for the 1999 - 2000 school year. All grants are for $2,000.00 per year, each, for two years. Since the first grant was given in 1965 (for $300), 390 students have been awarded grants totaling $918,650.00. The generous support of the Foundation by the AFMS Societies and their members have made this possible.
Following is a list of the students receiving scholarship grants for this year, plus those students receiving the second year of the 1998 - 99 grants:
Murray Lee Eiland, a native of Vallejo, California, began his studies in the Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and Art History at the University of California, Berkeley, and received a degree from Oxford University, England in Oriental Archaeology. Currently at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he is working on his M.S. in Earth Science. His thesis topic is the mineralogical analysis (using infra-red spectroscopy) of archaeological ceramics.
Robert A. Bielinsky and Mark Webster, receiving the second year of their grants, continue work for their Ph.D. degrees in Geological Sciences at the University of California, Riverside.
Thomas Mark Park received his B.S. in Geology at Georgia South-Western State University, Americus and is pursuing his M.S. in Geology at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. His thesis work involves study on the peculiar fluorine-rich pegmatites in the Sparta district, Georgia, a district well known for its granite quarries.
Benson Chow, a 1998-99 student, continues work on his M.S. in Geology and the other 1998-99 student, Cynthia L. Abbott, continues her studies for her M.S. in Geosciences, both at Mississippi State University, Starksville.
Bonnie Muller received her B.S. in Geology at St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York and is at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio studying for her M.S. in Geology. She recently completed a thesis on the Morphometric Analysis of the Glacial Border Region, Southwestern New York.
Michael A. Brennan, receiving the second year of his grant, continues his studies for his M.S. concentrating on Hydrogeology at Michigan State University, East Lansing.
Karen R. Stockstill completed work on her M.S,. in Geology at Michigan State University and is now working on her Ph.D. in Planetary Geology at the University of Tennessee, Nashville.
Rocky Mountain Federation:
A native of Kingston, New York, Daniel P. Miggins received his B.S. in Geology at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro. He continues work for his M.S. in Geology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, having received the second year of a 1997-98 grant last year. His thesis title is "Temporal, Geochemical and Isotopic Framework of Volcanic and Subvolcanic Rocks Within the Cretacepus Pierre Shale in South-Central Colorado."
Justin Foslien continues work for his M.S. in Environmental Geology at Kansas State University, Manhattan. Katherine A. Kelley transferred from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, to Boston University, Massachusetts, where she continues work on her Ph.D. in Geology.
South Central Federation:
Matthew C. Miller received his B.S. in Geology at Juniata College, Huntington, Pennsylvania. Also a student at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, he is working on his M.S. in Geology. His research interests concentrate on the areas of Petroleum Geology and Sedimentology, in the areas relevant to exploration geology and the interpretation of seismic surveys.
Dennis P. Dunn is receiving the second year of the 1998-99 grant to Cori A. Lambert. He received his M.S. in Geology at Arizona State University and is a candidate for his Ph.D. in Mineralogy at the University of Texas at Austin. His research project concerns the study of the Arkansas diamond pipes and minerals within them.
Christopher R. McFarlane, receiving the second year of the grant to Justin A. Zumbro, is working on his Ph.D. in Mineralogy, also at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his M.Sc. at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. His research involves metamorphic minerals heated by intrusions in Labrador.
We are proud to introduce the current junior clubs that are members of the Future Rockhounds of America, also known as the F.R.A..
Brooklyn Mineralogical Society
Columbus Gem & Mineral Society
Evansville Lapidary Society Junior Rockhounds
Everett Rookie Rockhounds
Lakeside Junior Rock Club
Northwest Wisconsin Gem & Mineral Society
Three Rivers Gem & Mineral Society
The Searchers Gem & Mineral Society, Inc.
Tulip City Gem & Mineral Juniors Club
These youth along with the help of their sponsor wanted to become involved not only with a juniors placement in their own local club, but also wanted to communicate with other junior rockhounds around the United States. Even an individual junior (who are always welcome to join) with a rockhound grandfather for sponsor, is a member of the F.R.A.
The F.R.A. clubs are one way we can keep our hobby growing for their generation "down the road". We are encouraging them to write, call or e-mail each other. We hope by sharing a common bond of their love of earth science they will exchange ideas, form combined field trips, etc.
All of the regional Junior Chairmen have F.R.A. applications (membership forms). There is no cost involved. Just contact your regional chairman and they will take it from there, all that is needed is an adult sponsor.
The AFMS Endowment Fund has contributed to the education and enjoyment of many of us over the years. We have now reached the point where this is being expanded. The Endowment Fund Committee, in cooperation with many other persons, seeks to raise funds, which are then maintained in a restricted account. Only the gain (the interest earned) on the funds may be used for the good of the member federations of the AFMS. The reproduction and distribution of the winning programs submitted each year is a good example of the efforts of the Committee.
The fund raising effort this year will conclude with the AFMS Convention in Moab, Utah. The drawing will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2000. We have three prizes this year for which we will be selling tickets. The grand prize is an amethyst necklace and earring set. Cliff Jackson of the Northwest Federation cut the stones. Gold work was done by Richard Glismann and Carolyn Buckels. The next prize is an ocean picture rock picture made by Howard Carter of the California Federation. The third prize is a calcite sphere cut by George Jones of the Southeast Federation. These are three beautiful prizes, which anyone would love to win.
Tickets have been printed and will shortly be distributed to the Regional Federation Endowment Fund Committee members. The committee members are to supply the clubs in their federations with tickets to be sold. Think about it, if each club only sold 25 tickets then we would have approximately $15,000.00 to add to the fund. Twenty-five tickets does not seem like much does it? I watched one club member sell 250 tickets in one night at a supper a few years ago. All we need is a few more like her to make any endeavor a success.
We are working on a program, to be introduced at Moab, which will permit the expansion of the Endowment Fund Committee efforts to the direct benefit of all regional federations and thus to the member societies and to their members. More information on this will be provided as plans progress.
When you are approached to take part in the fund raising please attempt to cooperate and provide your assistance to the project.
Wilderness - Too Much of a Good Thing?
My brother is currently building his dream home in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado on a property bordering the Rio Grande River. A Federal wilderness area on the opposite side of the river gives him a great view from one side of his home. Understandably, my brother is quite pleased to have a wilderness area in his front yard because he need not worry that future development there will destroy his view and/or the rural ambience of his location. My brother and I both regard some amount of wilderness designation as "good" but recognize that it comes with a price, i.e., loss of some forms of recreational opportunities, not the least of which is rockhounding, and loss of revenue to the state and county jurisdictions in which the wilderness area is located. While we might disagree on how much is "too much", at least we can agree on the principle that it is theoretically possible to have too much wilderness. Of course, the problem we all encounter in discussing the issue is that we are unable to define that amount or extent where the good thing becomes "too much" However, I have recently seen some anecdotal evidence that we are at or near the point of "too much."
One item of anecdotal evidence appeared as an article on page 1 of the Wall Street Journal issue of December 14, 1999 entitled "Tough Cuts - Rural School Districts Get a Taxing Primer in Politics of Timber". The article was subtitled "As National Forest Logging is Curbed, They See Share of Revenue Fall Steeply." No state or country government has the power to tax the federal government, which presents a problem particularly acute in a number of the Western states where the federal government owns 50% or more of the land within the boundaries of many jurisdictions. Because the tax base for the state and county governments may be severely limited by the presence of federally owned lands, as compensation, a 1908 federal law still in effect gives school districts and county road departments one-quarter of the revenue generated by National Forest lands within their boundaries. Historically, about 90% of the National Forest revenue has come from logging. Because logging is not permitted in wilderness areas, as the area covered by wilderness designation increases, such revenues decrease. The situation has been made worse under the current administration by severely curtailing the amount of logging permitted in the non-wilderness of our National Forests. Understandably, many legislators from the Western states oppose federal initiatives to purchase yet more land and thereby further erode the tax base of the jurisdictions which they represent.
Another item of anecdotal evidence came to me in the form of a telephone call from an attorney with a State's Attorney Office in a Midwestern state. He was preparing to file suit in Federal Court on behalf of a county, against the Federal government, to prevent closure of certain roads which historically had been maintained by the county. I attempted to assist him by sending him copies of various materials from my files relating to the current laws relating to the so-called R.S. 2477 Rights-of-Way. The aggrieved county which he represents has seen the Federal Government purchase a considerable amount of land within its boundaries and then proceed to close many of the roads traversing those lands, including several which had been maintained by the county. The purchase of private lands and creation of de facto wilderness areas by the Executive Branch of our Federal Government is quite different from the preservation of preexisting wilderness areas by act of Congress.
A King of England was forced to sign a Magna Carta in part to address the grievance that commoners were not allowed to hunt in the King's forest. If present trends continue we common rockhounds, likewise, will not be allowed to hunt in the National Forests.
Mineral Collecting in a Wilderness Area ?
I recall reading an article in a hobbyist magazine wherein the author stated that, without exception, mineral collecting is prohibited on wilderness designated public lands. In a paper presented at the October 1995 "Rockhound Workshop" sponsored by the Oklahoma Geological Survey, John Nichols, Forest Geologist for the Ouachita National Forest (Arkansas) wrote: "Areas on National Forests that generally are not available to the mineral collector include wildernesses and designated 'wild' portions of rivers that Congress has determined will be very selectively managed."
I believe that statements such as those referred to above are erroneous. Jon Spunaugle, President of ALAA in his letter to Congress of April 13, 1997 regarding a joint committee hearing on wilderness correctly summarized the situation as follows:
Acceptable collecting activity differs from wilderness to wilderness. The variance is from outright prohibition of any collecting, even for scientific and educational purposes, to a tolerance of surface collecting with hand-tools which does not disturb the wilderness character of the land.
To the best of my knowledge, the only wilderness area wherein all mineral collecting is outright prohibited is in the Sawtooth Mountain Wilderness Area of Idaho. The legality of such a prohibition is suspect in view of the wording of The Wilderness Act of 1964, 16 USC 1131, §4(d)(2), which states:
Nothing in this Act shall prevent within National Forest Wilderness Areas any activity, including prospecting, for the purpose of gathering information about mineral or other resources, if such activity is carried on in a manner compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment.
Thus, the Wilderness Act seems to create a "right" to "prospect" in National Forest Wilderness Areas. Of course, the affected agencies have the responsibility for rule making to establish rules enabling the statutory law. The "right" to "prospect" is subject to such regulation and is certainly not unlimited. While prospecting can clearly be regulated consistent with the statutory law, a statutory right cannot be regulated out of existence. A tenet of administrative law is that an agency cannot, through the rule-making process, contravene statutory law. To the best of my knowledge, the prohibition against all mineral collecting in the Sawtooth Wilderness Area has never been challenged in court, although a reasonable case might be made for such a challenge.
Several years ago when I was looking into the issue, I questioned a number of congressional staffers regarding the right to prospect embodied in the Wilderness Act. Even though these staffers were supposedly knowledgeable with regard to land use law, they were ignorant of the prospecting provision of the Wilderness Act. I encountered the same problem in my 1995 contacts with the Offices of the BLM in Phoenix, Arizona. In the latter instance the advice that I received was that mineral collecting is entirely prohibited in wilderness areas, that is, until I worked my way up the chain of command to a person in higher management who acknowledged that mineral collecting is not prohibited in wilderness areas 'although not encouraged.'. Ignorance of both the statutory law and the relevant agency rules at the field level is a major problem facing collectors on all public lands.
Does the foregoing amount to a "distinction without a difference"? Assuming you wish to explore an old mining site in a wilderness area, you must walk in. In some areas horseback riding would be permitted. The ever-growing likelihood is that, after you hike in, you will find that the old mine site has been reclaimed. Even if you locate the old mine site and it is not reclaimed, you must then walk out carrying your specimens. At this point a vision comes to mind - a vision from many years ago of my daughter and her fellow 'Indian Princesses' returning from an old mine site on a long trail, each 'Indian Princess' being carried by her Father because the weight of the rocks in her pockets would otherwise pull her pants down. Unless you have your Father or a horse to carry you, you probably don't attach much value to any right to collect in a Wilderness Area.
The Clinton Roadless Initiative - Creation of De Facto Wilderness
On October 13, 1999 President Clinton announced an initiative to protect 40 to 60 million acres of 'roadless' areas within the National Forest system. In launching this initiative, the U.S. Forest Service published a 'Notice of Intent' (NOI) October 9, 1999 in the Federal Register, which publication opened a window for comment (now closed) and set in motion the process of collecting public comment supposedly for the purpose of receiving guidance in the drafting of proposed rules to effect the Presidential Directive. When enacted in 1964 the Wilderness Act initially established 9 million acres of wilderness area. Today, approximately 107 million acres are federally protected by wilderness designation. This latest roadless initiative would make an additional 40-60 million acres de facto wilderness. Of course, 'roadless' need not actually mean 'roadless'. What constitutes a 'road' is subject to bureaucratic interpretation. In any event, once an area is designated 'roadless' we can expect that any preexisting trail or road in that area will be closed.
Once the proposed rules have been drafted they should be published in the Federal Register and a new window of opportunity for comment will be opened. Stay tuned.
BU7X, rarity, trophy 7, quality, out of class, do you know what these terms mean? Would you like to know? All competitive exhibit judges and those interested in becoming judges are encouraged to come to the Eastern Federation Wildacres Workshop sessions in Little Switzerland, NC in 2000.
Wildacres is a special place on a mountain top off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The setting enhances both the programs and the friendships you will make. Participants take four days of classes (competitive exhibit judging in this case) and enjoy daily lectures by nationally known speakers. Other activities during the week include tailgating, an auction, fun night, brief "sharing times" showcasing additional aspects of the hobby, and an optional field trip. A free day during the session is a great excuse to get out to the local rock shops, visit Asheville or the Biltmore Estate, explore the mountains, the falls and other natural wonders of the area or to browse the many professional craft shops.
The judging class is conducted by B. Jay Bowman, former AFMS Uniform Rules Committee Chairman, using the AFMS Uniform Rules. The rules are explained and lively discussions, using lots of examples from actual judging experiences, ensue. Several sample exhibit cases are available for practice judging, and numerous other supporting tips and references are offered. This class is a basic component in the Eastern Federation's Certified Judging program. Experienced judges as well as novices share the learning experience each session.
There is no other place like Wildacres, where you can learn so much about various aspects of the hobby and meet so many others with similar interests, so, on behalf of the Wildacres Functioning Committee, please accept this invitation to come share with us!
Send your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, club affiliation and federation with a deposit check of $125 to Tom Milligan, 1107 Ivory Foster Rd, Owego, NY 13827-4324 as soon as possible to ensure your participation. Be sure to mention you want to be in the judging class. You'll be glad you did!
Moab, Utah will be the site for the combined AFMS/ RMFMS Convention to be held the week of October 10 Ð 15. From what we hear, Moab and Utah are lovely places to visit during October when the heat of summer is over. Moab is at the center of a wide area of spectacular site seeing with National Parks and Monuments such as Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon not too far away.
We urge you to make your reservations early! We have learned that another convention will also be in Moab during the same week as the AFMS festivities and we would not wish you to be left out. Full information about the convention was printed in the November issue of the AFMS Newsletter and can also be found on the AFMS website at <www.AmFed.org>.
The "host hotel" for the week is the Moab Valley Inn. You can call them toll free at 1-800-831-6622. Be sure to mention that you are with the 'Gem & Mineral Show 2000'. The room rate is $68 plus tax per night. If enough rooms are reserved there will also be a complimentary continental breakfast included. Additional motels, with room rates for each are listed on the AFMS website in the November 1999 newsletter.
Do plan to come to Moab in October. Gaze in awe at the glorious red sandstone formations in the various canyons in the area. Plan to meet and greet old and new rockhound friends at the meetings and at the show. It'll be a grand time and you won't want to miss out on the fun.
The answer is really quite simple Ð your club is an affiliate. Why? Because the American Federation has only seven (7) members. These members are the regional federations:
South Central Federation
Your club or society is a member of your Regional Federation. You club submits dues and other information to that Regional Federation. Your club has a direct vote at your Regional Federation business meeting(s) each year. You are members.
Your club does not pay dues to the American Federation. Check out your club financial records - it's not there. Your Regional Federation pays dues to the AFMS. The only members who have a say at the AFMS annual meeting are your two top Federation officers who serve as AFMS Directors and each of the elected AFMS officers. Through your club membership in your Regional Federation you are affiliated with the AFMS.
As affiliates of the AFMS you do have some say in what happens. Let your Regional Federation president and 1st vice president or your AFMS Regional VP know of your concerns so that they can be addressed by AFMS. Addresses for the AFMS elected officers are on page 2 of this issue. Your AFMS Directors are listed on page 11.
I hope this helps end the confusion. And do keep sending me your club bulletins. I enjoy reading them very much.
Last Revised on
October 17, 2011