Field trip safety = Field trip fun

by: Wayne Corwin


1) Going on trips:

Some can be long drive or hike in

Always top off your gas, antifreeze, oil, check tire pressures

Car pool when possible, stop every 1-2 hrs for short break

Some trips have long walk to collecting area, carry only what you need

Keep track of where you are, stop and look around and back often


2) While collecting, take a break every couple of hrs, have some water,

look around, stretch


3) Don't get lost:

Compass, topo maps, GPS

Flash lights

first-aid kit, including medications you may need, and let the trip leader

and others know if you have any special needs or medical problems

Fire starter

Pocket knife

Plastic sheet shelter

Safety Glasses

Back pack


4) Safety in the woods:

Try to always have another person with you

Always let someone know where your going and
expect to be back

Avoid falls

Watch for Animals, Snakes, Bugs, Poisonous plants (poison ivy, oak, sumac and thorns)

Watch out for old mine shafts or holes in the ground or steep drop off's

Look around while hiking, talk loud and make noise

Move rocks and logs with your rock pick incase something is living under it

After the weather of last year, keep an eye up in the trees as you walk or dig

in the woods for widow makers hanging in the trees


5) Safety in the Mine's:

Safety equipment: PIP (Personal Injury Protection)

Steel toe footwear

Safety glasses

Safety vest

Hard hat


Don't work near the quarry face and falling rock

Watch out for quarry equip.

Watch out for unstable rock

Watch out for Snakes & Wasps

Move rocks with your rock pick incase something is living under it

Watch out for people working around you, especially above or below you,

never toss rocks

Take the time to check the stability of your dig, while working, fairly often

6) Comfort:

Check what the weather is expected to be

Be prepared for rain, cold, or sun ... the weather can change suddenly

Always bring food, water, Gatorade (and salty snacks on hot summer days)

Have sun-block, sun glasses and bug spray handy, even a mosquito net hat

Knee pad's or kneeling pad, kneeling saves on your back

Ware comfortable safe footwear, keep an extra pair of shoes & socks in your car


7) Protection of specimens:

Bring wrapping materials such as toilet paper (also good for it's intended purpose),

paper towels or news paper, hard containers (like plastic box's or pill vials, for the

most delicate specimens if the location has them, a hard pail or 2 (I often use a pail

for washing specimens in), also seed pouch's (that you tie around your waste for

planting seeds) is great for collecting less delicate small specimens


8) Study:

Pre-study on the mine or collecting area your going to be at

See what it is you'll find there, look at sites like or John to see

what specimens look like from that location

Look up old reference books, geology maps, old collecting location books, go see

collage collections and talk to local mineral clubs

Field trip leaders will try to bring specimens as examples on trips


9) Mineral Sign's:

Learn to read rock types, to follow mineralizing trends in the rock, look for

clues as where to collect, look for old mining dump's (known as tailings)

Look good at area's (before doing any work yourself) where others have dug,

there toss outs, they will often have washed off and expose a good specimen,

or at least give you a clue as what type of rock is in that particular spot


10) Misc. things to bring:



Compass, GPS and/or maps

Loup (be sure screw is tight)

Gold pan, turkey baster for sucking cracks, small pick to clean cracks and

a vial for your gold

Different types of hammers, crack hammers, and sledges
There NOT meant to be used on hard things! The claws can snap and
fly off and stick in your forehead (I've seen this happen) & (wrecks a
good field trip taking someone to Hospital)

Assorted chisels (keep chips, mushrooms ground off chisels and keep sharp)

Pry bar, shovel, hoe, scoop, etc.

Screens for sifting


11) Good collecting policy's:

Leave for others what you don't want or need

Never "cross contaminate" a site with minerals from another location