Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

8.2 Field Trip Planning


8.2: Field Trip Planning

Choosing a Field Trip Locality

It・s best for juniors leaders to get together with the club field trip chair in January for a Field Trip Planning Meeting to schedule trips for the entire year so that everyone can work them into their calendars. In choosing a locality, select sites relatively rich in minerals or fossils. By nature, kids are impatient and will want to start finding stuff right away. Your goal, after all, should be to foster enthusiasm, not to tax their patience. If you don・t know of suitable exposures in your area, ask around at a local college. Many geology departments have road logs for earth science field trips. Three publishers have guidebook series covering many states in the U.S.: Mountain Press publishes the Roadside Geology Series; Gem Guides publishes the Gem Trails series; and Falcon Press publishes The Rockhound・s Guide series. In addition, state geological surveys often have guidebooks to their states or individual educational reports and road logs on specific mineral or fossil localities. The U.S. Geological Survey web site has a handy map that allows you to click on your state for regional geologic information.

Field Trip Supplies

Different localities have different materials and, therefore, different requirements in terms of the tools and supplies necessary for collecting. Select the materials appropriate to the site you・ll visit. The following list is meant to be representative, not exhaustive:

Protective clothing (durable long-sleeved shirt and long pants)

Sturdy hiking boots (preferably steel-toed) and heavy work gloves

Hard hat if in a quarry or elsewhere with a danger of falling rocks

Wide brimmed hat and sunscreen to protect against sun exposure

Shatterproof goggles or safety glasses if hammering rocks

Detailed area maps, compass, GPS unit

Backpack, rucksack, and/or 5-gallon bucket to carry supplies and specimens

Rock hammer, rock pick, sledge hammer, along with chisels, gads, pry bar

Shovel, trowel, hand rake

Sifting screens

Pocket knife

Hand or whisk broom, paint brushes, toothbrushes

Toilet paper, paper towels, newspapers, bubble wrap for wrapping delicate specimens

Masking tape

Small storage boxes, ziplock baggies

Cardboard flats or other boxes or containers for transporting specimens

Cards for writing locality info to wrap in the field with your specimens

Magnifying glass, hand lens, or loupe

Spray bottle of water to check for potential lapidary material

Field notebook and pencils/pens to record info about a site

Camera to keep a visual record of a site and specific collecting horizons

First aid kit (fully stocked with fresh materials)

Plenty of water in canteens or bottles, food, and "if going overnight" camping gear

Cell phone or 2-way radio and a field companion or buddy in event of an accident