The Micromounters Winter Gathering 2009

Earl English
Henderson County Gem and Mineral Society

This year's event, again held at the Christian Advent Village in Dowling Park, Florida, was exceptional. By Thursday evening, everyone had arrived except the Program Director, who had a very good excuse to be late.

I made the trip down on Wednesday, and arrived at the village around noon. We were allowed to start setting up in the conference room later that afternoon. I entered the room and discovered that all of the tables were in place, electrical outlets were set up, and the "Freebie" tables were starting to take on a load.

Martha Cunningham had started loading up the snack table with a goodly number of diet busting treats. Jimmy Sheehan again brought in some of his delicious cookies, and was later awarded a certificate for his prize winning baking.

We spent the evening swapping stories and looking at micro-minerals.

Thursday:
A busy day, with all hands busily engaged in peering through 'scopes, swapping collecting stories and rocks.
There was enough time available to walk a couple of the Village's Nature Trails, to burn off some of the excess calories available at the snack table.

Friday:
The planned field trip to the phosphate pits had to be scrapped, and a replacement trip by pontoon boat up the Suwannee River filled in nicely.

The Pontoon boat was supplied by the Village, and operated by a volunteer crew. Very nice people running that village.
We donned lifejackets and suffered through the required safety briefing before leaving the dock.
Our Captain and guide James (Bud) Royal and his wife (and first mate on the cruise) Joyce, explained a lot about the river, and had us laughing with the stories they told. The scenery, and wildlife along the river, made it a very enjoyable trip.

The afternoon was spent in the conference room, looking at more minerals. By this time the "Freebie" tables were overloaded, and the materials were starting to occupy the tables set aside for lunch on Saturday. This was a potential problem because the lunch provided required a place to sit and spread out, and the working tables were filled with microscopes, minerals, and notebooks.

Friday evening we were treated to a photo slide show of minerals by Bill Lechner. He has some wonderful pictures, is very knowledgeable of minerals, and really enjoys sharing the information.

Our Program Director, Julian Gray was the last to arrive during the evening.

Saturday: We had 16 registered micromounters set up, and several non-participating wives who did assist with food and snack preparation.

Morning presentation by William Lechner, was a slide show of minerals from the Francon Quarry in Montréal, Canada. Bill maintained interest in the program with several questions about the subject, rewarding the first correct answer with a mounted specimen from the quarry.

Lunch:
The noon meal was prepared by Martha Cunningham, and several other volunteers, and once again it was a treat. Hopefully Martha will stay on the good side of the volunteer that made the deviled eggs.

Afternoon presentation by Julian Gray, was an informative slide show on the newly opened Tellus Museum.

Evening:
We played a Rerun of the Free is Good slide show by Earl English.

Then back to the minerals.
Henry Barwood was kept busy answering questions about mineral identification, and is a real treasure to have when it comes to getting mineral identification.

The deteriorating weather forecast of thunderstorms caused us to pack up early for the trip home in order to avoid getting the equipment wet.

Most, if not all of this years attendees have made reservations for next year's Winter Gathering, which will be on the last weekend of February, 2010.

Some photos can be seen

Earl English
HCGMS Micromounter