Members of the Mt. Baker Rock & Gem Club are back from their summer, fall and winter excursions with fresh specimens of rocks, minerals and fossils, and are eager to share their discoveries at their 52nd annual show this weekend.
"My husband spends the winter looking on the Internet for places to go," said Lori Nettles, club president and head of this year's Rock & Gem Show, which is Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31, at Bloedel Donovan Community Center, 2214 Electric Ave. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
Nettles said people enjoy searching for rocks, fossils and minerals because of their natural curiosity about the world around them.
"It's one of the things that people enjoy, is getting that knowledge, the thrill of the hunt," she said.
Nettles said her most satisfying discovery was a kind of geode, a ball-shaped rock with a crystal center.
"I actually found a blue thunder egg, that was pretty cool," she said. "Sometimes it may look like an icky brown rock and you never know what may be inside. We were just poking around and I happened to come across it."
Nearly two dozen display cases will be featured at the show, including the popular fluorescent rock collection and two displays from the Geology Department at Western Washington University. Included in those displays is an exhibit of petrified wood from Leah Boan, a WWU sophomore geology student who won the club's $1,500 annual scholarship.
In addition, there will be vendors selling rocks, gems, minerals and fossils, plus jewelry, crafts and lapidary supplies. Nettles said the show features some new vendors, a new food concession, door prizes and a raffle to raise money for next year's scholarship, special activities for children, and demonstrations of how rocks are cut and polished.
Also, the popular gold-panning exhibit will return. That demonstration usually takes place in a covered area behind the community center.
"He always gets quite a few people out there learning how to pan," Nettle said.
Club librarian Bob Deurbrouck recently returned from a collecting trip along the Oregon Coast, where they found agates and fossils.
"(They were) all so much older than I am that they always make me feel young again," he wrote in an email.
Deurbrouck and his wife will show some of the books the club makes available to members, and will have a collection of rocks and fossils that feature "rose" in their name, such as rose rocks from Oklahoma.
For more information about the show or the club, go to mtbakerrockclub.org.
Suggest your ideas for family-friendly events or day trips to Robert Mittendorf at 360-756-2805 or firstname.lastname@example.org.