What Grows Underneath
Exploring Earth History at Surprise Mine
THE WORKSHOP FEB 17 @12pm
About the Workshop:
This Saturday workshop paints a vivid picture of gem mining, history, and mineralogy at Surprise Retreat, which hosts the former Surprise Mine onsite. Participants will learn about Ramona gem mining history dating back to the early 1900s and become familiar with basic terms and techniques for prospecting crystals in Southern California. As part of SFRC heritage, we will explore our fascination and connection to searching for rocks, tour the site, and do a little digging at Surprise Mine before gathering around the fire to share and expand on our experience.
We will look beyond commercial value to explore why and how prospectors seek to uncover gems below the surface. With a greater understanding of the geological and mining history of the Ramona area, participants will learn to hone their eye in the field and find treasures. We will have a show and tell of different gem and mineral specimens found in Ramona throughout the years. The hands-on workshop will allow time to put learning into practice at our dig site in hopes of uncovering something special to take home.
Participants will leave with a greater understanding of what it takes to find crystals, and the processes that uncover them. The chance to look for crystals and minerals at Surprise Mine will bring newfound understanding of the unique local geology responsible for creating some of earth’s hidden treasures. We hope you will leave with a greater respect for the earth’s history, a feeling of connection to the ground below, and understand the skills that go into prospecting for crystals.
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.
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.
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.
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 https://linktr.ee/kimberlyabruzzo
and follow her on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/kimber.ly.marie/.
Facilities & Accommodation
Amenities include bathrooms, showers, kitchen, and shaded areas in case too much sun.
Note: 3 Overnight glamping yurt tents with queen beds available, or bring your own sleeping bag for a comfortable cot in the Kodiak stand-up tent. Reserve at the workshop rate: $80 for Yurt, $50 for Kodiak.
Morning coffee and breakfast makings available. Overnight reservations are booked separately.
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.