Families learn about stones at "Fox Rocks!"
By Paul Karpenko
photo by Riley Hays
Landon and Ashlyn Vosters of Greenville make a purchase
from Phillip Oliver from Agate and Wood in Edwards, Wisc.
at the Fox Rocks! rock and gem show March 10.
The Weis Earth Science Museum hosted Fox Rocks!, a family-oriented event, March 9 and 10. The event brought ancient fossils, deep earth minerals and eye-catching jewelry to the Fox Valley.
About 1,000 people of all ages attended the free event. Proceeds went towards sponsoring the museum's ongoing programs.
"It's exactly what we were hoping for. I think that the most successful part was the fact that we had tremendous amount of children and families here this weekend," Gary Richards, museum director and event coordinator, said.
Event activities included scavenger hunts, gemstone cutting, wire wrapping, silent auctions and fossil exhibits, along with thousands of rock specimen displays.
Some of the exhibits held a special history.
"Our feature exhibit is a crocodile skull that is millions of years old," Richards said.
Twelve different rock and jewelry dealers were invited to "Fox Rocks!". Most came from Wisconsin.
There are over 4100 different minerals throughout the world and 200 of them are in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is one of the most geologically diverse areas on the planet, bringing in scientists from around the globe to study the formations. This is because the northern part of the state is glaciated and the southern is non-glaciated.
Selling rocks and minerals was a new experience for some vendors.
"We are members of the Weis Geology Club, and we have been on trips and we've always wanted to have a table and to sell stuff and have some fun," Fox Valley local Steve Gear, said.
Sandy Brandl, who owns a day service program for people with cognitive physical disabilities, decided to tumble the rocks her patients collected. She attended rock clubs and learned how to name, cut and cap rocks. She also taught herself how to wire wrap after reading a craft book. She now she travels all over the country in search of rocks to cut, cap and polish.
Brandl is enthusiastic about getting children involved.
"If we don't have kids involved in the cutting, polishing and collecting of rocks, the art will just die," Brandl said.
Rocks and minerals are Brandl's passion.
"When you do it from the rough to the finished piece you will never forget it. It's just amazing. I am just at awe because I've been doing this for ten years, and still to this day I'm just awed how rocks do it. You open it up and there's so much that goes on in an agate, what it took to make it, the mineral make up, the hot silica, the fluids. I still to this day open one up and go 'oh wow'. The excitement never leaves," Brandl said.
There were hundreds of different stones and crystals from all over the world at Fox Rocks.
The Science of Being Healthy also set up a booth to bring the spiritual and healing side of stones to the event. As a compliment to crystal therapy and healing stone jewelry, they offer weekly yoga classes and nutritional education at their shop located at 192 Main St. in Menasha. Owners Kimberly Jennings and Scott Resch had a vision to assist others in having more energy and healthier bodies .
"So many people don't understand why they are getting sick, why am I unhealthy, so we created this wellness center to bring in the natural world, bring in the stones and show what these properties can do, where you can tap into not only the energy center of the body but allow your body the easiest way to heal its own self, the body is an amazing machine," Resch said.
"We use the body's own ability to heal itself. With part of that we use nutrition, exercise, and meditation because if you heal yourself spiritually you might need to heal yourself emotionally or physically," Resch said.
Many attendees of all ages enjoyed the rock and mineral show.
"I loved the variety of things they had there, from the fossils, to the gemstones and the more energetic part of the stones. I thought it was great that there was a great variety of ages, families as well as people from the upper senior category all enjoyed the same things," Swanek said.
To learn more about the Weis Earth Science Museum and the Weis Geology Club visit www.uwfox.uwc.edu/wesm/index.html.