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What Grows Underneath
 Exploring Earth History at Surprise Mine

This workshop has passed. Send us an email if you would like for us to do this again!!!!!!


Saturday February 17  @ 12pm 


A sustainable suggested donation to the Non-profit Retreat Center would be $80; but choose your own viability and valuation, students in particular. Limited to 15 people.

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                                      Tentative Schedule

12PM: Intro to Surprise Mine Heritage; about the Retreat Center


12:30PM: History of Ramona mining. Mineralogy of the Region. Samples of gems and specimens. 


1:15PM: Prospecting intro. What is a pegmatite? What to look for. What not to do. Tools how-to and safety tips. 


2PM: Questions, snacks, and bathroom break. 


2:30PM-Sunset: Digging


5:30: Dinner


6:30-8/9PM: Fire-pit with Q&A, share insights from personal experiences, open discussion and stories. More snacks (s’mores).

Resources/Materials: Wear sturdy shoes, and clothes you are comfortable getting dirty. Please bring several bottles of water, sunscreen, and snacks as desired. Dinner and small snacks will be provided. Tools like screwdrivers, brushes, or small shovels will help at the dig site but are not necessary.

Note that this workshop does not provide access to Little Three Mine. We are staying at Surprise Mine & Retreat Center.

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Meet Your Guide:

Kimberly Abruzzo is a GIA graduate gemologist, photomicrographer, and writer specializing in communication and education. Through a lifelong passion for prospecting gems and minerals she has visited mines and digging sites across the nation with a focus on pegmatites. Since relocating to southern California in 2013, Kimberly has worked alongside the LA Natural History Museum and Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society to catalog countless San Diego County specimens, and is an active part of the local digging and collecting community. She has also contributed to GIA’s publication, Gems & Gemology.

You can learn more at

and follow her on Instagram

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Saturday February 17  @ 12pm

A sustainable suggested donation to the non-profit Center would be $120

but choose your own viability and valuation, students in particular.

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