October 2022 

We had a wonderful gathering in September at St. Mary’s University.  I didn’t get a sign-in sheet distributed, but I’d estimate that over 20 of our members came out to see the work students had done on the mineral collections at the University.  Cataloging and creation of display stands can be an underappreciated and underestimated part of maintaining good collections… happy to see some good examples in the works!

The Blingfest event (17 September) wound up being a bit warm (OK, hot).  Many thanks to volunteers Don K., John E., and Michele L. for coming out and sharing their mineral and gemstone interests with Blingfest attendees. We handed out lots of flyers for Wonderland… which is right around the corner… as in this Saturday and Sunday!   

October’s meeting – 20 October – (3rd Thursday at the Garden Center) is coming up fast. Our presenter will be Dana Rowan and the topic will be “Geology of the Hill Country” with some interesting gem and mineral additions to the discussion since we are a ‘gem and mineral club’!  Many thanks to the volunteers who will bring our snacks and drinks.  We’ll be working to share that around the group this coming year as gatherings return to normal.

 The fall picnic will be at the end of October – expect to see an e-mail with details soon.  

October is packed with activities! 


President SWGMS


September 2022


Monthly meetings are starting up again!  Our 15 September 2022 meeting will be hosted by St. Mary’s University.  We’ll have presentations from some of the students who receive scholarships from SWGMS.  This is a great opportunity to see the difference the club makes in advancing science and particularly geology interests. Get there early (6PM) to see the minerals and fossils in the museum.  Otherwise, the meeting start is 7PM.  See below for the meeting location. 
October’s meeting (3rd Thursday at the Garden Center) is coming up fast. Many thanks to the volunteers who will bring our snacks and drinks.  We’ll be working to share that around the group this coming year as gatherings return to normal.
Also… We will have an outdoor table at BlingFest which will be held at the San Antonio Garden Center 17 and 18 September.  It will be very casual and a great opportunity to talk to people about our club and the things we do.  Please touch base with me and let me know if you are interested in coming out, or just hanging out!
The following weekend is our club event at the Wonderland of America’s Mall.
September is off to a ROCKING start!  🙂 
We will be holding the business meeting and program in Moody Life Sciences 101 this year. Members are welcome up in the museum starting at 6:00 pm if you would like to see what we have been up to. We have been working to update our displays and incorporate some of new specimens from the Oppenheimer Collection. The museum is located on the second floor of Garni Hall.
Visitors can park in lot A and lot V for the evening. These lots are located on Camino Santa Maria, so use 1 Camino Santa Maria as your destination in your mapping programs. If you just put in the University as your destination, it will send you to the wrong side of campus where the baseball fields are.
Please note that Garni Hall is Building 8 and the Moody Life Sciences Center is building 21 (if you look up a map).


President SWGMS


July 2022

e had another great turnout for the June meeting and seven of us braved the Texas heat to tour the Mammoth National Monument in Waco. It was a great trip and the facility was wonderful… and air conditioned! 

We will NOT be having meetings or field events until September.  Once fall classes start up, we’ll get our September meeting date set up and posted along with the location on campus and presentation topic.

Plans are in the works for field collecting trips… once temperatures cool down at least a little bit. 

For now, stay cool and stay healthy!

President SWGMS


June 2022

We had another great turnout for the May meeting.  Many thanks to Bob Bowie for a fabulous presentation on Australian Opals!

Also – Welcome to all of the new members who recently signed up with SWGMS.

Our next meeting will be 16 June at the San Antonio Garden Center (3310 N New Braunfels Ave.)  The doors open at 6PM and the meeting starts at 7PM.  This month’s presentation is on Crinoids of the Paleozoic (the old fossils plus some photos of their modern ‘relatives’).  Fossils for show and tell are welcome!

One major update:  we will NOT have meetings in July or August.  Meetings will resume in September with our usual gathering hosted by St. Mary’s University.  The location on campus, presentation topic, and date are being finalized.  We anticipate October’s meeting location will be back at the San Antonio Garden Center… but November is TBD since the timing may conflict with the garden’s holiday lights event which is reserved by the city of San Antonio.

Hope to see you at the June gathering!  

Joann Socash

President, SWGMS


May 2022

We had a great turnout in April and I’m very sorry to have missed the meeting. Welcome to all the new members who recently signed up with SWGMS! Our next meeting is going to be 19 May at the San Antonio Garden Center (3310 N New Braunfels Ave). I’m sorry to say that I won’t be able to attend the meeting, but Bob Bowie (former President) will be there to give a presentation on opals. The doors open at 6 and the meeting starts at 7.


Since I won’t be there… let’s get a head start on organizing the trip many of you are interested in to the Mammoth National Monument in Waco. I’ve spoken with their group coordinator and most key Saturdays in June are available, but we will need to let them know ASAP. I’m also working on getting a docent or park representative to guide us around. At this point, they haven’t reopened the main building. But… there is still lots of the monument grounds to ramble and paved/sidewalk areas for easier access.

There will be park fees… $5 adult, $4 senior… and I don’t recall the kids fees.

Please respond to the attached Survey Monkey survey so we know which day (11 June or 25 June) is going to have the most participation.

See you at the meeting next week.

President SWGMS

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April 2022

I hope everyone is energized and ready for our annual Fiesta of Gems show this weekend. It is just a few days away! Volunteers who signed up for stations/locations – many thanks in advance for your help. If anyone hasn’t signed up but comes and wants to pitch in and help, just let someone in one of the member managed areas know. Even a short break can help make the day pass more easily. Last month we had a combined show and tell session and a working session prepping boxes with minerals and labels for the silent auction and also prepping grab bags. Everything for the show has really come together, which is good since it is this weekend! Next up is our 21 April meeting. Yay! Back to Thursdays! Chris Cooley is going to present “Hunting Agate in West Texas, Part 1”. The focus will be on the Kokernot ’06 Ranch. See you soon. Joann Socash President SWGMS


March 2022

We had 30 people join us at the San Antonio Garden Center for our February gathering. The year is definitely picking up and we have a lot of great things to look forward to! Our next meeting date is 15 March 2022. This is a Tuesday and a week away! The doors open at 6 PM and we will have a brief club meeting at 7 PM. We’ll have lots of show flyers for you to pick up and take home for sharing around your neighborhoods… please do, this is a great way to spread word of the show. March Program: There will not be a formal program for the 15 March meeting… we’ll do “show & tell”. Bring in some interesting things from your collection to show and discuss with members. Fossils, minerals, crafted items, and even something you want help in identifying… Everything is ‘fair game’! We’ll also have a work area set up to start prepping things for the upcoming show. You can learn a lot and have a good time chatting with others. Update on SWGMS Annual Show: Please save and bring in your plastic grocery bags… we’ll need them for bagging people’s silent auction winnings. Volunteers: many thanks to those who have already signed up as volunteers for the show. Of course, we do still need more volunteers… Set-up Friday, Front Desk, Silent Auction, Lucky Wheel, and Club Booth. Everyone is welcome whether for a couple of hours or an entire day. Also – each area has experienced members to guide efforts. Annual dues are due this year. The proceeds support our annual picnic and holiday gatherings. I hope to see you soon! Joann Socash President – SWGMS


February 2022

We had 15 or so hardy souls show up for our January club meeting despite the horrible weather. Thanks to everyone that was able to come. Our next club meeting will be Thursday, February 17th at 6:00 p.m. We will be at the San Antonio Garden Center. We look forward to seeing you there. Our Fiesta of Gems 60th anniversary edition has been moved to a new venue and date. We will be holding our event on April 2-3 in the Morris Activity center behind the AT&T CENTER!

 We are organizing the work required to firm up vendors, contracts, advertising,etc. We will need many of our club members to volunteer so we can spread out the work to make our Show successful. The February and March Club Meetings will concentrate on the planning for the Show.

Our President is currently at the Tucson Show to obtain silent auction supplies. Prices are going up and our members are working to purchase supplies that can be used for multiple years in the future. The money we make from the silent auction, front door ticket sales, club booth raffle and the lucky wheel allows us to give out earth science scholarship money to the three San Antonio Universities.

Chris Cooley has set up a club hunt at the House Ranch near Three Rivers for Saturday February 12th If you are interested in attending contact Chris

For our club meeting, our President will have a summary of her Tucson trip and will be showing some of the minerals she picked up to sell at the silent auction.

Hope to see you on the 17th

Bob for Joann


Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2022!!


We have a lot to look forward to with our next club meeting on 20 January 2022 at the San Antonio Garden Center (3310 N New Braunfels Street, San Antonio). The program will be a DVD on The Mammoth Site (Hot Springs, SD). The DVD gives a virtual walk-through of the site which is now a museum/display with the fossils in the ground as they were found.

Depending on how the COVID-19 issue is we will start our club meetings up in January-more info on this to come.

Our Fiesta of Gems annual show is officially a… GO!! After several of us scrambled over the past few months to locate a new venue, Kitty Swoboda landed us an excellent new venue. We will be in the Morris Center (adjacent to Freeman Coliseum) with plenty of space and free parking too. The date did have to shift so we took the first available weekend. The show will now be 2-3 April 2022. Since this is also the first weekend of FIESTA, I’ve touched base with the commission, and we are working on becoming an official Fiesta event. We’ll update everyone on our push to get advertising out, as well as the rest of our event plans, during the meeting this month… and that also means we’ll start organizing volunteers to help out at the event. T-Shirts Available to Club Members: The club t-shirts have arrived! They will be at the meeting and are available to buy for $15 each. Need to Know for the Future: Renew Your Membership! With a ‘normal’ outlook for 2022, we will resume collecting annual membership fees (suspended during initial COVID) later this spring. I hope to see you at the upcoming meeting! Joann


December 2021


MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you


First of all-we will NOT have a Christmas dinner at the Garden Center on December 16th. We were advised by the GARDEN CENTER that the City of SAN ANTONIO will be having a light show at the GARDEN CENTER grounds through out December that will take up all the parking. The city is apparently selling thousands of tickets starting a week or so ago. Just about all of the events at the GARDEN CENTER have been cancelled do to this CITY EVENT. Depending on how the COVID-19 issue is we will start our club meetings up in January-more info on this to come.   Some very disappointing news we received in December is that the SAN ANTONIO EVENT CENTER has CLOSED!! As of this time our FIESTA OF GEMS is totally up in the air as we have no location for the event. We have been contacting other possible locations with no success at this time. WE will continue to look for possible locations but time is passing fast to do all the ground work required to put on our show early March. If any of you have ideas on a location please let us know. We do have rock hunt scheduled for February 12th at the House Ranch. We were planning to vote on new officers at our Christmas Dinner but of course this will not take place. New OFFICERS are JOANN SOCASH — PRESIDENT DON KOLLE — VICE PRESIDENT LONNIE FRENCH — TREASURER KITTY SWOBODA — VENDOR SHOW CHAIR LARRI HAMPTON — NEWS LETTER EDITOR ELIZABETH CLARK — SECRETARY SAM ROGERS — HUNT JOHN SPECK JOE NOONAN ROBERT BOWIE KURT MENKING JAMES MELOCHE BILL SHIPLEY — WEB SITE Personally I have enjoyed being your PRESIDENT for the past 15 years or so and will stay involved to support our club. Bob Bowie


November 2021

The We had a beautiful day for our Club Picnic at McAllister park on the 30th with a good turnout.
We are having some issues with our club roster and getting emails out to the membership. We are working on getting a better system in place and hopefully will have things working smoothly soon.

Our November club Meeting will be held on November 18th at the San Antonio Garden Center [3310 N New Braunfels Ave, San Antonio, TX] at 6 p.m. We are allowed to bring food items. Bring refreshment contributions if you wish. Chris Cooley will be speaking about a recent trip to Tonopah, Nevada hunting turquoise. Chris, Don Kolle and John Speck went to the Ottison Brothers Turquoise Mine for a tour and rock hunting. They also made it to Gemfield Nevada to hunt for chalcedony. They will bring some samples of their finds to look at.

We had some BAD NEWS regarding our FIESTA OF GEMS SHOW this coming March. The San Antonio Event Center has been sold and will not be available for our show in the future. Our Board Members are looking for other venue options. We are hoping to find something in our price range for next year. Please let us know if you are aware of a facility that would be a good replacement.



October 2021

The club meeting at St. Mary’s University on the 16th of September was well attended. Thanks to everyone that was able to attend.

October is our picnic month and we have made reservations at McCALLISTER PARK PAVILION #1 at around 12 noon on October 30th,a Saturday. We will have a lunch shortly thereafter with the Club supplying HEB brisket and chicken. We ask that club members bring a side of salad, beans, deserts, etc. We ask for a small donation of $5 per person. There are a limited number of tables and chairs at the Pavilion so you may want to bring along a folding table or chair.

This is an opportunity for members to bring along items for show and tell or to sell. No tables and chairs will be available so load up your own chairs and tables if you want to participate. We will try to have a selection of Club Minerals to sell at cost.

We will also have some announcements from our new Board.

We are getting ready to send out contracts to vendors for our 60th Fiesta of Gems to be held next March.

We will send out an email reminder for the Picnic towards the end of October.



September 2021

I am hopeful that many of you had the opportunity to visit the ROCK, GEM AND JEWELRY CLUB MEMBER SHOW organized by John Speck and Sam Rogers at the Wonderland Mall August 14-15. The show was an outstanding success and the exhibitors enjoyed the successful experience. Many thanks to John and Sam for their efforts for organizing the club sponsored event. John tells me they are thinking about having 2 of these mall shows a year in the future. Some 40 visitors have asked for club information!!!

We have been invited to St. Mary’s University for our September 16, 2021 meeting for a presentation on cave minerals in the visit to the University Museum. We will also present the SWGMS Scholarship. This scholarship has been presented for some 40 years.

Please note the following information provided by our host. Some of the details are still pending.

1. Masks are required in buildings on campus. Please bring a mask that you are comfortable with.

2. We are currently not allowing eating or drinking in the classrooms, so we will not be serving refreshments. SWGMS members are encouraged to bring a water bottle if they feel they will need it.

3. We will welcome people to visit the museum on the second floor of Garni Hall starting at 6 pm, but the main meeting at 7 pm will be in Moody Hall room 102. The student scholarship winners will be present to help everyone figure out where to go.

4. I am working with UPD to reserve spaces for parking in lot A and V. The attached campus map should show these as well as the fact that members will have to enter campus from Camino Santa Maria.

5. I will be giving a talk on Cave Minerals for the program as recognition of the International Year of Caves and Karst.

Please let me know if there are any questions. I look forward to seeing y’all.

Evelynn J. Mitchell, Ph.D.
Professor of Environmental Sciences
Department of Physics and Environmental Sciences
St. Mary’s University
One Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, TX 78228

We have set the date for our picnic at McAllister Park on October 30th. This will be our meeting for October (no meeting at the Garden Center). We will have the wonderful HEB barbeque and opportunities for members to show their hobby or sell some items.

We are looking to a November meeting at the Garden Center pending COVID Guidelines and availability of the Center.

I hope to see you at St. Mary’s,

Bob Bowie


August 2021

John Speck and Sam Rogers will be having our club member show at the Wonderland of the Americas mall the coming weekend of August 14-15. Please try to come by and greet your fellow club member’s sale tables. This show, organized by John and Sam, was set up support members who have rock, mineral, fossil and jewelry items for sale.

No club meeting at the garden club in August

For September, we have been invited back to St. Mary’s University for SWGMS scholarship student presentations, some refreshments and of course viewing their excellent mineral museum. The date is September 16th. More info on this club meeting will be sent our early September.

Please stay safe and try to come by the Wonderland of the Americas mall the weekend of September 14th.

Bob Bowie

Wonderland of the Americas mall

4522 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio, TX 78201


July 2021

THANKS for all the members that attended in June. I heard the meeting was well attended and Joann gave a super presentation on Hawaiian volcanics.

We will have NO MEETING IN JULY. Most of the Board that organize the meetings are travelling out of state and I am still recovering from some surgery.

We will also have no meeting in August which is normally a Dark MONTH for us. St MARYS has agreed to again have our club meeting in their GEOLOGY DEPARTMENT were we are treated with a view of their super mineral museum and some presentations by the scholarship recipients. MORE TO COME ON THIS.


Bob Bowie


June 2021


Personally, I did not know what kind of turn-out we would have at our first meeting in over a year-but it was super and I want to thank all who were able to attend. I think our attendance was around 40!!

OUR NEXT MEETING IS COMING UP PRETTY FAST AS THE THIRD THURSDAY IN JUNE IS JUNE 17TH!! We will continue to meet at the SAN ANTONIO GARDEN CENTER located at 3310 N NEW BRAUNFELS STREET. The front door should be open by 6pm and the City has removed all restrictions on REFRESHMENTS so if you have the time to prepare a few snacks, please bring them to the meeting. We will provide soda, cups and utensils.

JOHN SPECK has provided information on the ROCK,GEM AND JEWELRY SHOW he and Sam have organized for AUGUST 14-15 at the WONDERLAND MALL. It is available for club members to sell their minerals/jewelry. Contact John or Sam for info on this event.

JOANN SOCASH has a super presentation prepared for the meeting on June 17th entitled HAWAIIAN VOLCANOES PART 2 – ERUPTION DECEMBER 2020-MAY 2021. The talk will provide a brief look at how the how the Hawaiian Islands formed. The recent eruption cycle [2018-2021] provides a perspective on what has happened for the past hundreds of years and will likely happen for millions of years to come!

We will have name tags available for members that could not attend our MAY meeting and I have submitted the names of members that requested tags at our May meeting to KURT AND KITTY to have them made for us at the MEXICO FACTORY. These might be available by June 17. Also we have a few CLUB LOGO golf shirts left and will take orders for any one that want one made. WE ARE NOT CHARGING FOR NAME TAGS AND ARE NOT COLLECTING DUES FOR 2021 due to the crazy year we have all been through. We have to charge $20 for the golf shirts.

The members indicated they were in favor of a picnic this year in October and a Christmas party in December which we may have catered by HEB. The brisket is to die-for!

Larri Hampton ( has volunteered to take over the monthly newsletter from Joe Noonan so please let us know if you haven’t received our newsletter as we need all current emails. We will also have new MEMBERSHIP CARDS AND CLUB BUSINESS CARDS available for anyone that wants one thanks to ELIZABETH CLARK. WE WILL ALSO be posting our MONTHLY MESSAGE ON OUR WEB SITE [] and Facebook page.

Bob Bowie