April 2024 Business Meeting Summary

by Andy Thompson, MSDC Secretary

Total solar eclipse on April 8th, 2024.

President Kenny Reynolds welcomed everyone and thanked them for joining the evening’s meeting. Two of the club’s past presidents were in attendance and he thanked them for their service to the club.

Kenny then called for and received a motion to accept the March business meeting summary as published in the April Mineral Minutes newsletter. Members unanimously approved the minutes as published, without any suggested changes.

Geology in the News

Members discussed the recent 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the east coast of Taiwan earlier that day, its damage, human casualties, and its many aftershocks.

The coming solar eclipse on April 8th then took center stage with an extended report on its astronomical variables (total vs. partial eclipse and visibility of the corona), changing weather conditions throughout the country, members’ travel plans, and helpful websites for further information.

Old and New Business

With no issues raised for discussion, Kenny moved on to remind MSDC members to be thinking about and leaning into setting aside their donations of minerals and related books for sale at the next Northern Virginia Mineral show. He cited the success of last year’s fund-raising event at George Mason University last November and said he expected even greater success from sales at the upcoming 2024 November show.  

Additional Upcoming Mineral Shows

Kenny also cited the mineral show in Franklin, NJ. More information is found at Friends of Mineralogy NJ Chapter (njmineralclub.com).

Reports from MSDC Officers

Secretary Andy Thompson provided information on the extensive and growing use of the club’s YouTube channel  with videos of 24 previously recorded club monthly presentations. Four of those programs have had a total of over 34,000 views. Each of the other 20 videos has had viewing audiences ranging from hundreds to a thousand. To gain access to all of these mineral and geological videos, click on this link: Mineralogical Society of DC - YouTube

Members are encouraged to note the EFLMS annual sponsored week long retreat at Wildacres in the mountains north of Ashville, NC, which will take place May 13 to 19.  For more information on this very popular event, go to: https://efmls.org/wildacres/

Treasurer John Weidner reported that the club’s finances continue to be stable. Our membership has continued to rise and we now have 63 paid members, the highest number we have enjoyed in more than a quarter of a century.  

John also shared a relatively new and exciting development, MSDC’s “Junior Geologists Lab,” which John and other MSDC volunteers have been holding at a library in Springfield, VA.  They have held four meetings so far with several having over 30 children show up with rocks in hand. The adults enthusiastically share information about the rocks and support the kids’ interests and imagination.

John suggested that it’s always best to begin with sharing with the child, “Wow. That’s a neat rock,” even if you do not know what it is.  “Any club can do this,” John said. “It’s important also to have some activity to engage the kids’ interests, such as photos of rocks or having coloring books for the younger children.”

John’s report was in part a response to a broader discussion among MSDC members concerning the challenges many clubs face to successfully support rock collectors’ interest in having field trips and gaining access to quarries and other collecting sites.

Vice President for Programs Cindy Schmidtlein announced that for our May 1 meeting, Dr. Dave Powars of the USGS will speak on the “Chesapeake Bay Crater.” See the program announcement in this newsletter for further information.  On June 5, Dr. Gabriela Farfan, the Coralyn Whitney Curator of Gems and Minerals at the Smithsonian, will be presenting on a topic to be announced later.  As traditional for many mineral clubs, we take the months July and August off from having programs and instead focus on mineral collecting and then we regather for our first fall program on September 4.

Newsletter Editor Ken Rock reported that there is a new requirement for email providers to protect against an increase in phishing attacks for updating their web links in accordance with the new requirements. These new requirements affect not only mineral clubs, but many others, as well. Although most club members are not familiar with how to accomplish the needed updates, Ken was pleased to report that our co-webmaster, Casper Voogt, understood the requirements and has already made the needed changes to MSDC’s links. “So, thank you Casper. Now we are in good shape, at least for the near-term future,” Ken said. Kenny Reynolds also expressed his gratitude for Casper’s “awesome” contributions.

With no further reports or discussion, Kenny called for and received a motion to close the business meeting and turned the program over to Cindy to introduce the evening’s presenter.