Future Rockhounds of America


Calling all Junior MGS members. MGS' own Fossil-tastic Finders want you. Earn badges as you learn about fossils, rocks, and minerals.

MGS is now participating in the Future Rockhounds of America (FRA) program, sponsored by the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies. Participating youth can earn badges for completion of activities in a host of areas related to fossils, rocks, and minerals. Detailed information on the program and badge requirements can be found on the AFMS Future Rockhounds webpages.

MGS parents, if you are interested in having your child participate, please email or see him at the next MGS meeting.

The patch and badges that participants can earn are displayed below (this image is reproduced with the kind permission of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies).




Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the National Museum of Natural History

FRA members and their families had an unforgettable tour of the paleontological holdings of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in March, 2017. Paleontologist Dave Bohaska was a wonderful guide to the group. Some of the amazing fossils they saw are featured in the montage below, including bones from the Astrodon dinosaur found in Maryland. The tour included a visit to a fossil preparation lab and a chance to play with garnet sand used by preparators to cushion fossils undergoing repair.




Newsletter Articles

FRA members have begun to contribute articles to the MGS newsletter The Rostrum. This is exciting because, not only has it been a long time since articles written by junior members appeared in the pages of the newsletter, but their articles are excellent - well-written and informative.

Brooke wrote a piece for the November issue of the newsletter titled Garnets offering readers an introduction to this mineral and gemstone. Her article covers garnet's composition, history, and geographic sources. Her article can be found at this link.

David also contributed to the November issue with an article titled Fossiltastic. Here he tells about his testimony on an ivory trading bill before a House committee of the Maryland General Assembly. It also weaves in an account of how he came to join MGS, and about his experience as a junior member of MGS and a Future Rockhound. His article can be found at this link.

Brooke's Earth Processes Project Appears on YouTube

Brooke prepared a stop motion movie titled Earth Processes Badge which can be found on YouTube. It explores the three rock types and movements of tectonic plates.

Recent FRA Activities at MGS Meetings

  • At the July, 2016, meeting, MGS Future Rockhound of America Brooke received two badges - one for Earth Processes and the other for Rocking on the Computer. Sponsor Rick Smith presented the badges to her (first picture below). As part of her Rocking on the Computer work, Brooke created an interesting and informative PowerPoint presentation on the Lapidary Arts (see second picture below). A PDF version of her presentation is available here.

  • At the March, 2016, meeting, MGS Future Rockhounds engaged in many different activities. They received badges for past work and studied species diversity in samples from the Little Cove Point Member of the St.Marys Formation.

    As part of their work on the World in Miniature badge, they talked with MGS member Jim Stedman about microfossils, specifically ostracodes and foraminifera. Here he is demonstrating how to use sieves to separate sediment into samples of different sizes.

  • At the January, 2016, meeting, MGS Future Rockhounds gave presentations on geology. Brooke described her successful hunt for the mineral vivianite in Maryland.


    David spoke about the 18th century British geologist William Smith. His presentation was titled William Smith and the Map That Changed the World.


    David and Brooke display FRA badges.


    FRA members gathered with Rick Smith.

  • At the November, 2015, meeting, the MGS Future Rockhounds focused on geology. They worked with individual MGS members to learn about different aspects of rocks and minerals.

    Bob Farrar talks with the FRA members about the differences between minerals and rocks.

    FRA members ponder which of the many rocks and minerals Bob Farrar brought in they will add to their collections.

    Flo Strean shows the FRA members some of the distinctive features of quartz.

    Brooke presents her poster on the rock cycle to the MGS meeting. She also presented a poster on the Patuxent River Agate.


  • At the September, 2015, meeting, the Fossil-tastic Finders heard about the Maryland state fossil, Ecphora gardnerae gardnerae, from MGS vice president Eric Seifter, and about the Maryland state dinosaur, Astrodon johnstoni, from MGS editor and FRA sponsor Rick Smith.

    Eric discusses one of the different Ecphora species he brought.


    FRA members react to a question posed to them by Rick.


    FRA member Brooke is seen below presenting her poster on what a fossil is and how it's made to the MGS meeting.


  • At the July, 2015, meeting, the charter members of the Fossil-tastic Finders had their first meeting. They received their FRA patch, completed the requirements of the Collecting badge (based on fossil collections they brought to the meeting), and received that badge! Not bad for a single meeting.

    Members of the MGS Fossil-tastic Finders are shown below receiving their Future Rockhounds of America patches from MGS editor and FRA sponsor Rick Smith.


    Fossil-tastic Finders are seen below meeting with sponsor Rick Smith, discussing their collections, including how to organize, display, and label their specimens.

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