FAQs

As a visitor to the McPherson Gem and Mineral Club you will probably have many questions. On this page we will try to answer a few that you may have. Outreach and teaching are some of our main goals and we want you to feel comfortable enough to ask any question you may have. In the words of the great scientist Carl Sagan, "There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question."

Do I need to have a collection to be a member of the MGMC?

Not at all. Some of our members have just a few specimens (or even none) while others have collections that would rival those in museums. Naturally, one may want to acquire a specimen or two but many just delight in learning about the world around us and enjoying the camaraderie of their fellow members.

I don’t know much about rocks, minerals, and fossils. Should I be embarrassed with my lack of knowledge?

Absolutely not! Teaching our new members is one of the great joys of our established members. There are so many avenues one can take in this hobby and disseminating information is what we are all about. One should never be embarrassed about their lack of knowledge. Asking questions and finding answers is how we all learn and our members are excited to be there to help.

Do you allow children?

Of course! Our Pebble Pups will be the ones to continue to carry the banner of our hobby and we can’t think of many other hobbies that the whole family can enjoy together.

What are some of the different aspects of the rockhounding hobby?

The best thing about rockhounding is that there are so many different aspects one can follow. We have members who are strictly specimen collectors of different rocks or minerals. Others are into lapidary and cut and polish rocks to make jewelry. Some of us like fossils and studying about the past. Some are into micromount specimens which are viewed through a microscope. Others like a little bit of everything and dabble in many of the different fields of the hobby. Like a diamond there are many facets to the hobby and one’s involvement is only limited by their imagination.

Where can I collect rocks, minerals, fossils in Kansas?

Many of the places in Kansas are on private property and one must obtain permission from the landowner before collecting. Rather than listing places that are available, we encourage you to join the MGMC and then you will be eligible to take part in club sponsored fieldtrips to great collecting sites that may only be available to MGMC members. The added bonus of being on a club sponsored fieldtrip is that you will gain information about the places and things you will find that you probably wouldn’t otherwise.

What do I need to collect specimens on a fieldtrip?

The best things you already have – your own two eyes and hands to pick up what you see.

Here is a list of some other things that you might find useful:

  • Water – plenty of it. You don’t want to become dehydrated out in the field.

  • A hat to keep the sun off of your head.

  • Sunscreen to keep you from getting sunburned.

  • Bug repellent to keep those nasty pests off of you.

  • An old screwdriver to dig out or pry specimens from the ground.

  • Plastic bags to hold what you collect.

  • Paper and something to write with to take notes. You may think you’ll remember when and where you find a specimen but honestly, you won’t! It’s best to take good notes for the things you collect.

 

Here are some other items you may want depending on the type of collecting you will be doing:

  • A rock pick - invest in a good one. Estwing makes excellent products. These can be found in some hardware stores or online.

  • Safety glasses. These are very important! Nothing ruins a fieldtrip faster than getting a piece of rock in your eye. Your eyes are too important not to protect them.

  • A chisel to remove specimens from hard rock.

  • A brush to dust away dirt and rock chips.

  • Newspaper, paper towels, and/or tissue paper for wrapping specimens up to protect them until you get home.

  • Containers to put specimens in. These can range from pill bottles to buckets. Sturdy cardboard boxes, egg cartons, and soda flats are good for packing specimens into.

  • A small 10x magnifying glass.

  • A small first aid kit for those cuts and scrapes that you will get from time to time.

  • A backpack or other means to carry your tools in.

 

As you get further into the hobby you will find that you will end up modifying your gear to suit your collecting preferences.

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