Don VanDyke looks forward to the annual Gem & Mineral Show at Rogers Plaza every year.
“Some people come to sell, some people come to look, me, I come to just share my passion,” said the 82-year-old who calls himself a Rockhound (a nickname for an amateur geologist).
In fact, VanDyke lights up the minute a young girl comes to the table and he immediate starts talking about the rocks and minerals sitting in front of him.
“This is chlorastrolite,” VanDyke says as he points to a greenish stone with a turtle back pattern. “It is Michigan’s official gemstone and more commonly referred to as Isle Royal Greenstone.”
Turnout for this year’s Gem & Mineral Show, which marks its 41st year, has been high with Rogers Plaza pretty busy on the opening day of the show. The show continues today through 9 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday, April 9.
On opening day, the club’s Junior Rock Club Leader LaDonna Siebelink, who oversees all the children’s activities at the show, already was estimating that the group would go through 1,000 mini rock collections and about 500 grab bags.
“The bad weather does pretty well for us,” said Indian Mounds Rock and Mineral Club President Kreigh Tomaszewski with a laugh. Tomaszewski contributed some of the draw from the weather being cold and snowy. The group also has seen an increase in attendance due to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) incentives along with other science-related programs.
“Geology includes chemistry, physics, meteorology…paleontology – we’ve got the fossils – which touches into biology,” Tomaszewski said.
A must-see at this year’s show, according to Tomaszewski, is the rock and mineral displays put together by Indian Mounds Rock & Mineral Club members. “The members really dug deep into their personal collections and pulled out some amazing specimens,” he said.
The Indian Mounds Rock and Mineral Club meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month, September – May at Wesley Park United Methodist Church, near the corner of Michael Avenue and 36th Street in Wyoming. June – August, the group meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Tuesday at Wyoming’s Pinery Park, off of DeHoop Avenue across from the Wyoming Department of Public Safety.