Wintergathering 2012

The 11th annual gathering of micromounters at Dowling Park, Florida.
by: Earl English,
Forest City, NC

For me the event started early in the morning of Feb. 22, when I began the 9 hour drive to Dowling Park.
I arrived before lunch, and discovered that the conference room was available for setting up our equipment, and that I was not the first to arrive.
We spent the afternoon chatting and looking at a few minerals, and greeting another arriving couple. The evening was spent at the home of our host & hostess, Ed & Martha Cunningham, who had prepared a dinner buffet feast for the five of us early arrivals.
We spent a couple of hours chatting about the micromineral world, and then returned to the conference room.

Thursday saw more micromounters, and their wives arriving so that by 6:30 we had 13 microscopes set up, and 18 names on the sign in log form.
Every new arrival was greeted and asked to fill us in on their well being and any news. More minerals were loaded onto the "Freebie" table, and the conversation about collecting areas, methods, and other rockhounds was lively.
We managed to stop for lunch at the Village Cafe, and for Dinner at the "Lopin' Gopher".

Friday morning started at 08:00 with breakfast at the Village Cafe. They were expecting us, and had several tables pulled together and reserved. After breakfast we continued with micromounting talk, raiding the pile of free material, and some went for walks along the Suwannee River, or shopping.

By 4:00 O'clock we had 16 microscopes and 23 names on the list. There were attendees from Canada, New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida.

Saturday morning started just as Friday, breakfast at the Village Cafe, then upstairs to the Conference room for the scheduled programs.

Julian Gray started off with an announcement about a 2 day Micromineral Symposium at the Tellus Museum Aug. 17 & 18 2012
(Click here for more information.).
Then he gave a very interesting talk and slideshow presentation about the Red Oak Quarry in Fulton Co., Georgia. So far 20 minerals have been identified from this location, which promises to produce dozens more to come.

Lunch was a tasty Sandwich Buffet, put together by Martha Cunningham and a bunch of volunteers. Fixin's for sandwiches, deviled eggs, pickles, a jelled salad with cranberries that was simply great, Desserts were Brownies, several pies, cakes and cookies.

After lunch Bob Rothenberg showed us a presentation he had set up titled "Some of My Favorite Things". Some wonderful photographs in that presentation.

Next, we had Bill Lechner with a slide show on the Aris Phonolite. Very informative, and more wonderful photographs.

Henry Barwood had a talk and slideshow about microfluroescence, specifically describing the set up to use a 405nm laser to excite fluorescence in some minerals. These lasers are widely available at very reasonable prices.

The last scheduled presentation was by Bob (Big Bob) Stevens, a very nice photographic slide show on the Jones Mill Quarry Calcites.

Most of the presenters mentioned having used "stacking" software to increase the depth of field of the photos used during the presentations. These programs have added greatly to the enjoyment of the presentations, and do add a considerable amount of time to the production efforts. I want to take this opportunity to thank each of them for a Job Well Done.

We then broke for supper, and afterward spent the remainder of the evening chatting, and raiding the rather large pile of free mineral boxes.

Around 9:00 P.M. We had our gear packed, cleared out the room, and said our goodbyes until next year, when the event will be Feb. 21, 22 & 23.

Have a program that you would like to present next year? Ask, and I'll give you the contact information of our Program Director.

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