July was a busy month for Bill Lesniak and his travelling rock and mineral kit stand. If you have not seen his operation, Bill sets up at whatever event will allow him and, on the behalf of Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club, offers free rock and mineral kits to youngsters. They do have to earn them though. They must cut out labels, display dexterity with glue sticks to apply them to the egg cartons he provides and then, with help, locate the 12 specimens (this summer: 6 rocks, 4 minerals and 2 fossils). In the end they go home with something that looks like this:
Over a 12 days span in mid-July, Bill made five stops. He could be found at the Walworth and Sodus Farmer’s Market, right between the blueberries and the tomatoes. He visited the Ontario County 4-H at Beechwood State Park and the Canandaigua Boy Scouts. Finally, on Sunday July 24th, Bill was set up at Sonnenberg Gardens Summer Open House. All told over 180 children went home with rock and mineral collections from the five events. In the process they were introduced to the three basic rock types, saw carbonate minerals fizz in acid, learned what a horn coral is, and how biotite peels into neat sheets. We should acknowledge that while Bill was the mastermind behind the operation, he did have help. Fred Haynes, Rita and Amber Lesniak, John Murtha, Henry Becker and Cheyenne Daniels all chipped in at various sites to help with the creation and distribution of the kits.