I am a member of the Rochester Academy of Science Fossil Section. In last month’s newsletter (called the Fossiletter), Michael Greiner wrote a wonderful biographic note on Mary Anning touching aspects of her professional accomplishments and her personal life. Mary was an early 19th century paleontologist in England who is credited with discovering and describing several Cretaceous marine reptiles including Plesiosaurus and Ichthyosaurus. I enjoyed learning about her fascinating contributions to paleontology.
After reading the full article I wondered if Mary Anning had ever been commemorated on a postage stamp. Yes, I collect postage stamps with a thematic specialty of geology on stamps. This includes minerals, fossils, dinosaurs, volcanoes, and yes, famous geologists. I was not aware of any Mary Anning stamps, but I did know where to look for them. And I found a few.
The spring of 2020 was not a time for collecting and it appears the summer may not be much better. But that does not preclude me from reminiscing about a few past trips and finds. And I have decided to do that with a focus. I am going to think about all the places that I have been with Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club where garnets could be collected. Not only is this club “always looking for places to dig”, but they are pretty darn good at finding them.
It is mid-April and I should be planning field trips, perhaps even taking my first of the season. But like everyone else I am planted at home, watching the first responders and others attempting to defeat this virus. But what else have I been doing? Well, first off, the yard and all the rock gardens may look as good as they ever have by the time it is warm enough for growth to begin. And I have been taking walks, lots of walks: short walks, intermediate walks, and long walks. I am wearing my walking shoes out. I know every nook and cranny of my neighborhood.
On one of those long walks in late March, I was thinking about the New England beach trip for sand collecting that I was not going to be able to undertake. And I happened to be walking along the edge of Oak Hill Golf Course in my home town of Pittsford, NY. I saw sand, lots of sand. Of course, I know that golf course sand is not local, nor is it 100% natural. Nevertheless, I did wonder what it looked like and where it might come from.