Emerald Hollow Mine has been featured on the “Cash and Treasures” show on Travel Channel, National Geographic and Discovery channel. These shows told how to dig, find gems, and how the natural stone was made into a piece of jewelry right here at the mine!
The idea that “learning can be fun” is epitomized in our Earth Science program. Our world-famous mining locality is steeped with the treasure hunting lore of all “Old Mining Towns”. As you drive down the narrow road to the mine, signs will prepare you for the bounty to be found here – Emeralds, Sapphires, Amethysts, Aquamarines and of course, there are gemstone Hiddenite. As you round the last turn, a mining camp appears… small wooden buildings that look as if you were stepping back in time to the late 1800’s… after all, mining has not changed that much since then.
We have designed an interactive Earth Science Program which will bring your classroom lessons to life. The students will see the reality of past earth movements, such as plate tectonics which caused gemstones to be formed in hydro thermal veins in the earth. They will also learn about soil and erosion, see a demo of Creekin’ by panning and sluicing the creek bed for gems and gold. They will learn to wash “gem-bearing ore” at the sluiceway to find their gemstone treasures. Our program is tailored to meet the educational level of your students from first grade to the college level.
Your Journey Begins...
We will greet you at the bus and assist you in parking. We also have off site bus parking nearby. There are two locked storage buildings specifically for storage of your students lunches and any thing you do not want to leave on the bus. Restrooms are always the first stop and is done in the order of the groups we create.
Our designated Staff will gather your students in groups and prepare them for their visit. The field trip has multiple stops along the way and each group will have a different entry as the field trip starting point. Below is a description of the stops along the way but are not necessarily the order the field trip will follow depending upon which group you fall into. By the end of the field trip every student will have stopped at each point and completed each station.
You are here to participate in our Earth Science lesson and hear about the different kinds of rock and soil. This Earth Science lesson will teach you about natural earth movements such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics and what they have to do with forming gemstones. Students will learn about rocks, soil, minerals and gemstones that you use and even eat on a daily basis. Students will also hear of many job and career opportunities created by using gems and minerals from the soil.
Surface Collection – finding gemstones on the soil’s surface. Here everyone will learn about erosion and what it has to do with finding gems on the surface of the ground. This is a hands on experience and your students will put their new found skills to the test by surface collecting for gems. You find it, you keep it!
Creekin’, this activity is everyone’s favorite. Here you will learn about density weight, gravity and what they have to do with minerals/gem stones and why gemstones are found in the creek bed. We will demonstrate how to pan for gems and how to find the gemstones in the creek bed. Emerald Creek is only ankle to knee deep, so your students can go creekin’ to find more gems. Be sure to watch for the many varieties of wildflowers along the trails; they are beautiful. (Do not pick them, please.)
At the Sluiceway your students will be told the history of our area and how we learned to wash the ore to find the gems. Each participate will receive one bucket of ore to sluice through. We will help you and your students to identify your gemstones and answer your questions. The gemstones found will be natural and formed by natural earth movements. The gemstones will be of four possible grades: Facet, Cabochon, Tumble, and Specimen.
Environmental- Now we need to talk about some of the mechanisms that allow us to operate. We are an active mine with a mining permit and as such we have to comply with all safety and environmental standards. As we walk down the road in front of the pond we stop to discuss that it was built by the Army Corp of Engineers and serves a very important purpose. All water is controlled and recycled to this pond through 4 settling ponds. The road in front of the pond is actually a dam. This system has to be maintained to protect the environment. We further discuss the details of how we do this.
Dig Site- Finally we take a tour of the dig site and show what it looks like to actually mine. We very rarely use heavy equipment and most of the digging is done with a shovel, pick ax and a bucket. It’s hard work but very rewarding. Next, it's finally time for Free Time!
Free Time! Your students may now enjoy the remaining time before leaving by returning to any activity that they enjoyed. The Creekin’ and Surface Collecting are free. If your group is interested in returning to either of those areas, please ask a staff member for directions to the general public areas (must still be accompanied by an adult). For sluicing, an extra bucket of ore is $5.00, and Super bucket of ore is $15.00 – areal super deal for the field trip. This is also the time to visit our gift tables and show us your support to help keep growing our educational program. Last years gift tables helped us: rewrite the entire program and add two new stops along the experience (dig site walk through and the environmental speech at the pond), create a new and more exciting surface collecting area, expand the paths so your students are safe to walk the dig site, add a second creek location for student exploration and we were able to add a lot of picnic tables.
Thank you for all your help and support. We couldn’t do it without you.