Category Archives: WCGMC Activity

Rock Painting

The new theme for June seemed to be painted rocks.  First, Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club member Donna Smith brought her artistic talents to GemFest and we added a new craft to the event.  Using rocks we had collected from various sites throughout the previous year, Donna set up between Linda Schmidtgall’s highly popular soapstone carving booth and Dave Millis’s gem tree/wire wrapping booth, creating a virtual trifecta of craft activities for youths and adults right in front of the club exhibits. Continue reading

Boy Scouts at GemFest

On the first weekend of June,. the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club holds a two day mineral show in Canandaigua, New York. This year we welcomed a new partner to its annual gem, mineral, and fossil show.  The Seneca Trailways Council of the Boy Scouts of America added GEMFEST to their calendar of events on both their Facebook page and their weekly e-mail which is sent to Scouts and their leaders across the council.   WCGMC believes this is a perfect match.  The involvement of Scouts aligns with both of WCGMC’s primary objectives, providing family fun and working to spread knowledge while stimulating interest in the earth sciences. Continue reading

GEMFEST 2018

For the fourth year is a row, the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club held its annual show at the Greater Canandaigua Civic Center on the first full weekend of June.  Attendance was up over 15%, as over 1400 folks crossed into the arena to visit the venue over the course of two days.  We exceeded our expectations with our club activities, nearly running out of soapstone as 180 1.5” squares were carved, filed and polished by visitors.  The sluice was busy as usual.  Over 300 bags of sand with minerals, gems, shark teeth and more were run across the sluice table. Continue reading

A Weekend in May: Penfield and Central PA

The first weekend of May split the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club into two parties.  Many stayed in western New York and visited Penfield Quarry on the annual Dolomite Products open house.  If you check out our club Facebook page you will find several had a successful day among nearly 200 collectors from across the northeast who visited that day.  But others of us had planned our annual pilgrimage to central Pennsylvania for that weekend, travelling south with visions of wavellite and large lepidodendron tree stumps dancing in our heads.

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Collecting In North Carolina and Tennessee

Last month I wrote about the Arkansas portion of Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club’s November field trip south (quartz, quartz and more quartz).  But we did not stop there.  After three days of collecting SiO2 in and around Mt. Ida, Arkansas, ten of us pointed our large black van east and headed to Tennessee and North Carolina.  There was still a bit of space to fill in the van and in the trailer and we simply could not head north without filling all possible nooks and crannies. Here is how we did it! Continue reading

Arkansas for QUARTZ

In November of 2017, Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club undertook a 9 day collecting trip to Arkansas-Tennessee-North Carolina.  This is mostly a photo essay from the first half of the trip in the Arkansas quartz district of Mt. Ida and Jessieville.   Published in WCGMC December 2017 newsletter.  Part II on the rest of the trip will follow.

3300 miles and 3300 pounds of Arkansas quartz:  the miles are accurate, but the weight may be a bit of an understatement.  Once someone started putting large clusters and quartz-covered pieces into the trailer (I think it was Glenn!) it seemed contagious.  Everyone simply needed more!  Buckets were filled at three sites, half bushel baskets with crystals encased in red Arkansas mud were purchased, we traded for yet more, and eventually even the spaces under the seats in the van were dedicated to Arkansas quartz.  And we hadn’t even headed to North Carolina yet!

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A very busy bunch of rockhounds

The days were shorter in October, but the weather during those days was spectacular and my favorite group of rockhounds was as busy as ever taking full advantage.  The month could easily be renamed Octoborocks by the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club..   While we weren’t planning for our 10 day November trip to Arkansas and other warmer southern spots, we were doing just about everything imaginable. Continue reading

Larimar

At one of Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club’s  December workshops (and we had two!), Robert Webster arrived with some beautiful larimar to cut, grind and polish.  After his successful work he posted pictures of several of his creations to our club’s Facebook Group page.

Raw, cut larimar (left) and some polished pieces.  All prepped at the WCGMC workshop in December. Specimen and photos by Robert Webster, extracted from his post to the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club  Facebook group site.

Raw, cut larimar (left) and some polished pieces. All prepped at the WCGMC workshop in December. Specimen and photos by Robert Webster, extracted from his post to the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club Facebook group site.

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Lake Ontario Stones

At the November meeting of the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club there was general bemoaning that the field season seemed over.  That was until two members suggested that we visit the Lake Ontario shoreline on Sunday for one last outing.  And so we did.  In fact ten of us spent several hours walking the rocky coastline at a couple of our favorite haunts.   It was our 22nd club field trip of the year, and probably our last.

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2800 Miles in 10 Days – North of Lake Superior

thunder-title

Where should I start?  The 10 day August trip to Thunder Bay and back again was a blast.  We all returned with enough minerals and memories to last through the winter (or at least until our trip to the Adirondacks in September!).

But first and foremost:  Just as the 1959 stamp Issue in the header was a joint issue of the USA and Canada, this trip was a two country trip with WCGMC and the Niagara Peninsula Geological Society (NPGS) of St. Catharine’s, Ontario.  Those of us from WCGMC thank NPGS for allowing us to join them, and in particular to their field trip leader Ashley Pollock, who planned the itinerary and set up the many visits requiring permission and outside leadership.

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No eggs, just rocks

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:

eggs2

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Creativity at the WCGMC Workshop

published in the April, 2016 WCGMC Newsletter

If you have yet to visit the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club workshop in Wolcott during one of the club’s monthly Saturday events, then you are missing out on the opportunity your club membership provides you to saw, slab, grind, and polish rocks into cabochons, spheres, or whatever geometric (or non-geometric) design you wish.  Not to mention the camaraderie provided when 10-15 or more rock hounds come together to partake in such activity.  But there is even more you are missing.  Each month we convene it seems that our Workshop Coordinator, Glenn Weiler, has managed to introduce something new and creative to the shop.  Continue reading

Yellow Mineral Sunshine

Yellow is the color of sunshine, of brilliant warm summer days.  It is the color of bananas, lemon meringue pie and butter pecan ice cream.  There are beautiful yellow breasted birds and wondrous yellow flowers.  Some cultures view yellow as the color of happiness, amusement, and even optimism.

All that is well and good, but yellow is also the color of wulfenite, sulfur, heliodor and a number of other wondrous minerals and gems.  And, of course, it is the color of gold.  It was with this appreciation of the color yellow that WCGMC convened in November for a celebration of “Yellow Minerals”.

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Four days in St. Lawrence County

Prepared and published in the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club News, October 2015.      WCGMC newsletter Oct 2015

Our 14th collecting trip of the year (but who is counting) was, surprisingly, the first official WCGMC venture to St. Lawrence
County in 2016.  But what we suffered in tardiness, we made up for in quantity.  The trip was four days long and included seven separate collecting sites (one, Rose Road, was visited by members on three separate occasions over the 4 days).  Several of us stayed in a rented home on Star Lake, owned by Anita Persson, wife of George Persson, who helped us with the Benson Mines visit during the trip.

The trip was not scheduled to start until Thursday morning September 17th, but Bill Chapman and I had arrived in Star Lake early evening on Wednesday and we decided to take Bill’s black light to Rose Road in Pitcairn for an early start.  As always the lower area, known to many as the purple diopside mound (or PDM), lit up bright yellow under long wave with the mineral scapolite and the albite at the “wollastonite skarn” (or green diopside mound) lit up red under short wave.

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Canada 2015 (Part 2- Eganville, Ontario)

After 3 nights in Cobalt (see August WCGMC newsletter), we headed to Eganville in search of more collecting adventure.

 Although the primary objective of our trek back to the Grenville Province was minerals, our first stop was at a limestone quarry where large cephalopods and coral could be found.  The Haley Quarry, 8 miles southeast of Eganville, exposes the Lindsey and Verulam Formations of the Upper Ordovician Ottawa Group which are known for their large cephalopods, some of which are exposed in nearby Bonnecherre caves.

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Cobalt Silver District, Ontario

During the third week in July, seven WCGMC members spent 7 days and 6 nights collecting in Ontario.  The first three days in Cobalt, Ontario are summarized here.  Part 2, three days near Eganville, will be reviewed in a subsequent entry.  Modified from August, 2015 WCGMC newsletter article. 

From its discovery in 1903 until around 1920, Cobalt, Ontario was a hotbed of silver mining and the center of Ontario’s economic mining industry as over 10,000 inhabitants opened more than 100 mines in search of silver.  Over 100 years later, and for 2 days in July, 2015, seven eager rockhounds from WCGMC followed in the old timers footsteps.

A typical scene from Cobalt:   Remains from the Crown Reserve Mine in the foreground, and mine dumps from the Kerr Lake Mine across the lake.

A typical scene from Cobalt: Remains from the Crown Reserve Mine in the foreground, and mine dumps from the Kerr Lake Mine across the lake.

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Balmat Hexagonite

In the July issue of WCGMC News, one of the club’s long time members offers his memories of a favorite site and a favorite mineral.  Ken Rowe, and his wife Rocky, have been club members for over 30 years. 

This is a brief reminiscence about my collecting at the Gouverneur Talc Mine and the Zinc Corporation of America Mine in Balmat, New York in the late 1980’s.  We began about 1980, when my wife and I were fairly new members of the WCGM Club.  We were guided by Jim and Marion Wheaton, the founding members of WCGMC.  At that time the Balmat site was an underground mine for zinc.

Just before our visit to the Gouverneur Talc Mine a cave-in had led to a partial collapse to highway 812 and repairs to the road required just about all the available tailings to fill in the damage to the road.  Upon arrival at the mine we were very disappointed because we were expecting some good specimens of hexagonite.  All we found were a few forgotten boulders around the perimeter of the site, so we (about 10-12 persons) made the best of it. Can you imagine all the hexagonite buried now beneath the road! Continue reading