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  Personal Stories Contest

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The 2024 MMS Club
Writing Contest

The Rules

CONTEST PERIOD: Now until August 31st, 2024

ELIGIBILITY: This contest is open to all MMS members in good standing.



When you first joined MMS, you were likely attracted to the idea of collecting, learning, sharing or identifying minerals. Over time, you have probably formed additional related interests and new friendships with other members. If you took the opportunity to talk to each other, you would be surprised to discover how much you can benefit from our wide ranging experiences. Some of us got into this field because we cannot stop ourselves from picking up shiny things. Others are retired geology professors with a mineral museum named after them. Most of us fall somewhere in between.


This invitation is extended to all members in good standing. You are invited to share your personal experiences related to rocks and minerals by entering your fascinating stories in the 2024 Personal Story Writing Contest. We are not looking for a master’s thesis on new theories of how dolomite crystallizes nor are we seeking the perfectly composed assignment from your senior year English teacher. Tell us about your trip to the Keweenaw Peninsula: the agates you found, the great places to eat, what tools you found helpful... Or your visit to your child’s science fair where the theme was earth science and the kids loved looking at your fossil collection...Or your recent adventures at the Tucson show.


PRIZES? We may not be able to publish all entries on the website, but certainly the winners will be posted. CASH? Yes, second place will receive $50 and the winner will be awarded $100.

Your story will be judged on originality, style, and composition. Your entry must be a minimum of 500 words, written in 2024, and submitted by August 31, 2024. Original photographs may be included but they are not a requirement. Winners will be announced at the Greater Detroit Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show in October, 2024.


Submit your story electronically in Microsoft Word or an easily read format, such as PDF or text file. Attach your entry to an email containing your name and contact information. Address your essay to AND AND Title your submission MMS Personal Story Writing Contest 2024. Include in the body of the email your name and contact information.


By submitting your entry, you agree to allow MMS to post your article on our website and in the newsletter, The Conglomerate, in perpetuity.

Get to typing and send in your stories today!!



 P. Graves-Wesolosky


            We were young(er). We were somewhat able-bodied. We knew it all! That is why Mike Trelfa and I decided to climb the Phoenix Mine tailings piles for that best piece of copper. The owner gave us permission, and gleefully we went about our merry way.  

            Oh what a beautiful day to cut steps into the side of a very slippery and steep tailings pile. Climb we did!! Slide backward-we did! The faint sounds of expletives as we often slid backward further than we climbed upward. At some points as we climbed our own Mt. Everest, we would stop for that Kodak moment. The one you make up so you can catch your breath as opposed to admitting the journey was probably a mistake.

             I was the first to reach the summit. “Hey Mike!! Get up here. I’m finding lots!” “Okay,” he replied. More faint sounds of expletives. More loose rock sliding downhill. 

            Eventually, both of us were on top of the world-in God’s Country-doing exactly what we loved to do. We sat and dug in silence as the sun warmed our souls. We breathed in the pine fragrance as the wind came off Lake Superior. We could see for miles and smiled at our triumph. Those smiles lasted until we fully realized that the way back down was steeper and more foreboding than the trek up. Neither one of us was ready to commit to rolling down the path we climbed up. 

            We searched for the easiest route downhill and amazingly not far behind us, on the top of the pile, we found the two-track that is used to drive up to the top of the pile. Not only that, you can drive down to the bottom of the pile on said two-track. 

            Really? Were we THAT stupid? I’d say on this one occasion…we were.

2024 April entries

Why I Joined MMS

by Emily Lunger


            I have had a passion for rocks, minerals, and fossils since I was a child. I always collected Petoskey stones and seashells on the beach when I traveled to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with my family for childhood vacations. I studied and collected landscaping rocks in my neighborhood. I even analyzed the rocks and minerals in the cement/sidewalk when I was outside. I always looked closely at each specimen to identify the crystals in the rocks. In 2011 I grew crystals for an elementary school science fair project with various chemical compositions/conditions to see which crystals grew best.  I visited Cranbrook Museum and the Detroit Science Center several times for school field trips and family trips. I loved viewing the giant amethyst crystal and mineral display cases. That was one of my favorite attractions at the museums.  In 2016 my mom, sister, and I purchased an amethyst crystal at the John Ball Zoo gift shop during a family vacation in West Michigan. I took online Earth Science, Environmental Science, and Marine Science courses in high school. After I graduated high school in 2018, I gained valuable knowledge of geology and continued my education at Macomb Community College. I earned an Associate of Arts degree at Macomb suma cum laude status in May 2022. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor of Environmental Science at Oakland University.

            I started Macomb Community College in January 2019. I took several science courses at Macomb Community College including Environmental Science, Earth Science, Geology, Chemistry, World Regional Geography, and Geography of Michigan. I performed several hands-on lab experiments with groups in these courses. I was fascinated by the chemical composition, Moh’s Hardness Scale, streak, luster, color, and cleavage/fracture of rocks and minerals.  I learned about the layers of the Earth, continental crust, oceanic crust, tectonic plates, volcanoes, and the rock cycle in each science course that I took at Macomb Community College. While taking these courses I started increasing my rock, mineral, and fossil collection. I would research specific rocks and minerals to purchase online. I ordered several unique specimens from Amazon and Etsy. I also purchased some specimens at Detroit’s Greater Rock, Gem, and Fossil Show at Macomb Community College South Campus Sports and Expo Center. I have Petoskey stones, coral fossils, several different varieties of quartz, gemstones, crystals, dinosaur bone, igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, and minerals that fall under each category in the Moh’s Hardness scale.

            The first time I volunteered for Detroit’s Greatest Rock, Gem, and Fossil show was in October 2021 for an extra credit assignment. The assignment was for my Earth Science course at Macomb. The show conductor Brad Zylman was very helpful and friendly. He gave me important tasks such as monitoring the doors, collecting tickets, stamping hands, dusting mineral display cases, and teaching children how to pan for gold.  The children had fun panning for gold and I loved teaching them. The other MMS members were helpful and friendly too. They assisted me with the gold panning station. I had such a wonderful experience with 2021’s show that I decided to volunteer every year. I helped Brad with the show in 2022 and 2023. I joined the MMS when I volunteered for the show in 2023.  I enjoyed helping Brad and viewing the rocks, minerals, and fossils displayed at the show every fall! I submitted work for the MMS photo contest and creative writing contest. I plan on becoming more involved with MMS by attending meetings at Cranbrook Museum and virtually on zoom.

Emily at the MMS Show!

Me Volunteering at Detroit's Greatest Rock, Gem and Fossil Show in 2021.

2023 MMS Show Amethysts

2021 Amethyst Samples at Detroit's Greatest Rock, Gem, and Fossil Show.

2024 June entries

My Life with Rocks

by Jennifer Hynes

My first introduction to rock hunting was a trip to the upper peninsula with my father in 1988. My brother and I accompanied him on a copper hunting expedition. We found a few old mines and dug in the tailings to find bits of copper, quartz, and silver. The rock collecting bug bit me, and I have been hooked ever since.

          Shortly after the trip, my father took us to the Light Guard Armory in Detroit where my brothers and I attended our very first rock show. My dad and family still attend the show together to this day though the location has changed. However, the love of rocks made my life’s journey a more pleasant one.

          My husband joined the Army after we were married. We were warned that military life could be difficult and hard for families. However, we looked at our moves as an opportunity to explore the outdoors and hunt for rocks, minerals, or geological formations. We embraced each move with the expectation that there is so much more to see and explore. 

          Once our daughter came along, we showed her the beauty of the outdoors and introduced her to the wonderful world of rocks and minerals. We all looked forward to what the next place had to offer and she too, took the moves with a sense of adventure rather than dread. Our visitors often saw geology before the tourist attractions simply because we thought they were more interesting. For instance, while living in the northern part of California, we took our visitors to places like the Buchanan Dam, Bumpass Hell at Mount Lassen, lava tubes, and Crater Lake. Our appreciation for rocks and minerals turned out to be a way of life for this family. Who would have thought that a small trip to the upper peninsula would influence our lives in so many wonderful ways? Many thanks are owed to my dad and Mother Nature.


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