Explaining Friends of Mineralogy

FRIENDS OF MINERALOGY (FM):  Mission Statement and Affiliations

Friends of Mineralogy (FM) is a national organization of professional and amateur mineral collectors, founded in Tucson (AZ) on February 13, 1970.  FM operates on a national level and also through seven regional chapters.   FM is comprised of professional mineralogists, mineral museum curators, and amateur collectors who share a love of mineral specimens and the desire to promote understanding and appreciation of mineralogy and geology.  Anyone who shares those interests may become a member of FM.


FM's objectives are to promote, support, protect, and expand the collection of mineral specimens and to further the recognition of the scientific, economic, and aesthetic value of minerals and collecting mineral specimens.  FM also holds as important the development of positive relationships with landowners and mine operators and is committed to safe collecting.


The Friends of Mineralogy is affiliated with the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA), as well as with Rocks & Minerals and the Mineralogical Record magazines.  FM is co-sponsor with the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society (TGMS) and the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA), of the annual Tucson Mineralogical Symposia.  Among its activities it also sponsors awards for best articles each calendar year in The Mineralogical Record, Rocks & Minerals and extra Lapis English and gives special recognition at the February Tucson Gem and Mineral Show for educational displays that help explain an aspect of mineralogy.  Both of these magazines provide FM space and publish news of its activities from time-to-time.  FM in turn supports these magazines in various endeavors.


FM members do not just go into a quarry to collect nice specimens to take home.  Our members like to know what they are collecting and the geologic environment in which it formed.  Considering this, every field trip can be a learning experience for our members.  We share this information and specimens with quarry personnel so that they can help educate young students in their area.  The result is that the quarry can impact science education in their area by affiliations developed through FM field trips.  At the same time, quarry personnel often share information with us about their operation, whether their quarry mines materials for cement, ag-lime, decorative stone, or road aggregate.  With information coming from both sides – the geology of the field trip – and the products of the quarry's operation, all parties can share in the learning experience.  FM also works closely with the Ohio Earth Sciences Teachers Association, which provides mineral samples for teachers.  It is through our commitment to education and safety that we hope to develop positive relationships with host quarries.


A majority of our field trips are to quarries where the host asks for MSHA hazard and safety training certification.  Therefore, only those members who have completed an MSHA hazard and safety training refresher course within the past year are permitted to attend field trips where MHSA certification is asked for.  If, on a given trip, a collector finds nothing worth taking home (which is rare!), when that collector leaves a quarry in good health, that collector has had a successful day.  An important goal is to have everyone in our membership employ safe collecting procedures and follow the directions of our host.  We feel that, because our commitment to safety is so important, this is an important first step toward developing positive relationships with our host quarries.  In addition, through a program initiated by one of our members who is an associate MSHA instructor, senior Ohio Department of Natural Resources geologist, and veteran collector, we are working to standardize MSHA training tailored for collectors throughout the region of the FM Midwest Chapter (IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, and OH).