Earth Science Fair attracts variety of gems

By Kurt Hyde
Whitney Harp

Staff Writers

More than 800 geology enthusiasts attended the North Texas Earth Science Fair Feb. 25-26 at Brookhaven College. According to Melanie Gamble, outreach and recruitment coordinator for Emerson Miles Geotechnology Institute, 553 people attended Saturday and another 310 attended Sunday.

Volunteer Michelle Cervantes welcomed guests at the fair. Cervantes said there was a large group from Richland College, and there were many Boy Scouts in attendance.

Forty volunteers and geology representatives stood behind their tables waiting to interact with interested guests. The fair included museum representatives showcasing gem and rock exhibits and hobbyists selling merchandise.

Laurie Eley, a wire sculpture artist, displayed her gemstone jewelry. She made jewelry on-site and answered questions from attendees.

According to event sponsors, the fair was aimed at piquing interest in earth science. The event was designed with eye-catching exhibits – including items attendees could pick up and touch. Dr. Nick Theis, retired mineralogy professor and event sponsor, said the booths were set up for student demonstrations.

Brett and Shannon Burkett from The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney brought a female corn snake named Rusty and distributed brochures.

“Our purpose is to showcase The Heard Science Museum and its sanctuary,” Brett Burkett said. “Most people don’t know we exist.”
Representatives of the Dallas Gem and Mineral Society were at the fair with brochures highlighting their activities – including field trips, rock swaps and other educational activities.

The fair was not all gems and rocks. Fossils were also displayed at booths.

Philip Virgil displayed many of the fossils he has found in Dallas County. “I found these within 30 miles of here,” Virgil said. “I’d say Dallas County is a fossil hunter’s paradise.”