Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

7.6 Writing a Field Trip Guide


7.6: Writing a Field Trip Guide

The best model to provide to kids for writing a field trip guide to their favorite local collecting site is one of the many published field guides. The geological surveys of some states publish rockhounding guidebooks you can use as models, and two publishing companies publish guides covering many states.

Gem Guides Book Company publishes the Gem Trails series. In these guidebooks, the first paragraph for a particular locality usually tells what can be collected there. This is followed by directions for how to get to the site and instructions for how to collect (for instance, by searching the surface of the ground, by digging in specific layers, by splitting shale, etc.). Then there‘s usually a photograph of the locality and people collecting there, followed by a map. They also often give special words of advice or warning. For instance, there may be special issues regarding status of ownership of the land and needs for making advance arrangements or getting special passes or paying fees. There may be warnings about hazards such as rattlesnakes, open mine pits, extreme heat in the summer, etc.

Falcon Press Publishing Company publishes The Rockhound‘s Guide series. In the one for California, the author starts with a listing of the Land Type (desert versus coastal, etc.), Best Season to visit, Tools, Material to be collected, Special Attractions, Vehicle Type needed to reach the site, etc. This list is followed by directions, or Finding the Site, and then Rockhounding, or paragraphs describing what you‘ll find and how best to collect it. A map and a photo of the site then usually follow.

Any of these can provide helpful and useful models for your kids to follow.