Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Sunday, November 21, 2010

December 2010 Merit Badge Project: Collecting

Young people love to collect, and most rocks hounds are pack rats at heart.  We like nothing better than to assemble an assortment of rocks and minerals found on our journeys, traded with fellow collectors, or purchased at gem shows and rock shops.  A proper collection however, is more than abunch of rocks and/or fossils thrown into a box. The value of a collection lies in its "curation," or in the information included with your specimens: what it is, where it came from, who collected it, and other unique information.  The collection  must also be properly organized and stored so individual specimens can be cared for and retrieved easily.  Curating your treasurers provides an opportunity to learn about the specimens you have collected while improving both the scientific and economic value of your collection.

To earn your merit badge, complete activities 1-3; then do either 4 or 5.

Activity 1. Building a collection. Build a rock, mineral, and fossil collection with at least 10 to 20 specimens.  A collection can focus on just one sort of of thing (a collection of minerals, a collection of fossils), or it can be a mixture of all these things.  Some people get very specialized with theor collections, collecting for instance, a different kind of shark teeth ,or different forms of quartz.  Ultimately, a collection reflects the interest of the collector.

Activity 2.  Cataloging and labeling your collection. Take care to curate your collection.  Number your specimens and, for each one, include a label and keep a logbook or catalog with key information. I use an Excel spreadsheet (I will email you a blank collection workbook--one page I use for minerlas, another page for fossils, and another page for rocks, just let me know).  For rocks and minerals, this includes what it is and where it came from.  For fossils, you should include both those facts as well as information about the age of the fossil and the rock formation.

Activity 3. Store your collection.  Each specimen should be in its own small box. The small boxes might then be kept in trays, shoes boxes, cigar boxes, shallow shelves, soda flats, or whatever works best for you and the space you have to store your collection.  Ihave found many interesting boxes, jewlery boxes, and small curio cabinets at the Goodwill and Salvation army stores.

Activity 4. Displaying your collection.  Prepare a display to exhibit to your fellow pebble pups at a meeting or to show the public in a club show.  The pebble pups will be asked to put their collection in a case at the CSMS show in 2011.  Pups can create drawings to put in the case for additional interest.  I will be encouraging the pebble pups and junior members to participate in the CSMS show.  Pebble Pups are required to use egg cartons for their collections.  The egg cartons can be decorated.  I have some very interesting examples of how some pups decorated their egg cases.  I will be happy to email a copy of egg case decorations---just let me know via email.  Now, as for the juniors, we will decorate a case together.  The juniors will provide a specimen.  One of the juniors who has a PC and printer will make the labels.  We will also need to decorate the interior of the case.  Some of the juniors will work on that.  There is a possibility that we could enter the pebble pup egg cases and the junior specimens in the Denver Gem Show that happens mid-September, 2011.

Activity 5. Reporting about your collection. Give a presentation or write an article for your club newsletter about your collection.  For instance, what do you like to collect and why? Do you have any special stories to tell about a couple of the specimens in your collection? If you have a mineral collection, what's your most valuable mineral and why? If you have a fossil collection, what's your oldest fossil or most interesting?

Additional resources:
USGS information of collecting and building a collection:   http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/collect1/collectgip.html

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Through this blog pebble pups and junior members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society can access their lessons, work on assignments and projects, and receive details about field trips in the Pikes Peak Region. This Internet program is also suitable for young people who are interested in Earth science but do not live near a rock club or gem and mineral society or for young people anywhere who want a deeper dive into these topics. The only requirement is that all participants must be members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and must fill out the CSMS membership form (under important websites) and send their registration and membership fee in. Steven Veatch is the senior instructor and will need an email from you with your name, address, phone number, and permission from your parents to participate in this program.