Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

5.1 Building a Collection


5.1: Building a Collection

To help illustrate the range of collectibles, have adult members of your club bring in examples from their collections. For instance, in my own club we have one member who specializes in trilobites and has a collection of literally thousands of the little bugs. Another member loves petrified wood and has assembled a collection of beautifully polished rounds from around the world. Yet another only self-collects and has an array of natural mineral specimens he‘s found in the deserts of California and Nevada. Yet another member loves to self-collect jasper in its many forms and to craft what he finds into cabochons; he‘s got a great collection of cabs in all the colors of the rainbow, along with samples of the rough from which they were made. Still others have colorful collections of polished banded agates, personally crafted faceted gemstones, an assortment of fossil insects, and so on.

Adult members sharing samples from their collections will illustrate to kids the range of possibilities for creating their own collections. It‘s also neat for kids to hear stories from adults of their adventures as kids (especially any funny stories and misadventures) and what got them started in collecting the things they do.

In encouraging kids to collect, also teach responsibility. For instance, discourage over-collecting in the field. We should take only what we need and can reasonably use and leave some for those who might follow us. We should respect private property and protected items and report any rare or especially unusual items to a museum or other authority. Federal and state laws protect some items, for instance, vertebrate fossils or Native American artifacts. Refer kids to the AFMS Code of Ethics. Finally, kids should strive to learn about the items they collect and should record observations and notes about what they‘ve collected (see Activity 5.2) to turn the activity of collecting into an educational opportunity.

Note: Because several other badges involve building a collection, kids can work toward earning their Collecting badge and other badges simultaneously. For instance, see Activities 1.3 and 1.4 (Rocks & Minerals), 2.3 (Earth Resources), 3.4 (Fossils), 10.1, 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5 (Earth Processes), 11.4 and 11.5 (Earth in Space), 12.6 (Gold Panning & Prospecting), 14.1 (Stone Age Tools & Art), 16.1 through 16.7 (The World in Miniature), and 18.3 (Fluorescent Minerals).