Mission Statement:

The primary mission of the Rochester Lapidary Society is education in the Lapidary Arts. This includes finding or collecting specimens, identifying and then, possibly using the finds in projects.

Children and rocks go together like peanut butter and jelly, so what could be better than encouraging this natural interest? Over the past few years we have expanded our community presence in the Brockport School District.

Two of our board members, Frank and Karen Rakoski, are long time mentors at the Hill Elementary School, working with enrichment specialist Archer Noble to offer opportunities to work on basic skills such as reading, math and scientific concepts, in the context of exploring fields of student interest such as optics or robotics. Two years ago, additional activities were needed for Science Fun Day, and the RLS sponsored a Crystal Dig using quartz points from Arkansas orchestrated by another club member, Hollis Heinzerling. This popular activity was repeated and expanded last spring.

This past fall, Mr. Noble approached the Rakoskis with a different request. Several students had formed a rock club, meeting over their lunch hour to trade rocks. The kids called themselves Rochester Rocks, or RO-RO, for short. Mr. Noble asked if a several week program involving rocks and minerals could be added to the enrichment curriculum. Karen took on the challenge, with other RLS members, Toni Hill, Hollis Heinzerling and out-or-town constituents, Cindi and Keith Newman, providing specimens and equipment. What started as a once weekly, four session, program turned into a 12 week exploration program with the students already asking about next year. The children were involved in:

• Exploring mineral identification of specimens in their own collections, using RLS club specimens, games, books and activities
• Traveling with their parents and club members to see the world class mineral collection of RLS founder, William Pinch
• Learning the fundamentals of crystals and crystal growing as they made 3D models, grew borax “snowflakes”, mixed up crystal gardens, and investigated nature’s handiwork
• Polishing amber
• Teaching fellow students with a lighted hallway display and mini presentations, using a showcase provided by the RLS
• Investigating tests to determine mineral hardness, specific gravity and other helpful information
• Exploring rock vocabulary and geography by describing their rocks and learning where they came from
• Posing for photos and interviewing for articles about their efforts for the school district newsletter and the local paper.

This year, “RO-RO” took their work to a new level under the tutelage and with the support of RLS club members. If asked, many of these members will tell you that is how they got started on this wonderful lifetime hobby.

Children, with their parents are welcome to join the RLS, and those aged 10 and above can learn to use Lapidary equipment under the direct supervision of a parent.

Come and visit us and see what new information you can learn.
 

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