WUFT News

How Santa Fe College Ended Up With One Of North Florida’s Largest Rock Collections

By on September 11th, 2013

Twenty-four new display cases filled with gems, fossils and minerals that date from every era of Earth’s history are now housed in an exhibit at Santa Fe College.

The collection, one of North Florida’s largest, is part of a new Santa Fe effort to provide an intriguing natural history exhibit to its students and the public, and it include a 4.6-billion-year-old meteorite from Namibia, petrified wood, dinosaur fossils and various minerals.

“Since the Florida Museum of Natural History doesn’t have minerals,” said Santa Fe College geology professor Mike Patrick, “we’re the big boy in town now.”

A geological timeline, painted to scale, sits on a column in the exhibit’s lobby, which is located at Santa Fe’s Building X .

Mike Patrick, 66, examines a display case filled with sulfate minerals. Patrick obtained and arranged 24 cases of minerals, fossils and gems for an exhibit in the lobby of Building X at Santa Fe College.

James Thicke / WUFT news

Mike Patrick, 66, examines a display case filled with sulfate minerals. Patrick obtained and arranged 24 cases of minerals, fossils and gems for an exhibit in the lobby of Building X at Santa Fe College.

Patrick, 66, spent the summer putting the exhibit’s minerals display together. About 80 percent of the collection was donated from the former Earth Wonders Geological Museum in Flagler County, he said.

Earth Wonders closed about two years ago, and its collection was housed for display in Flagler County office space, where school children could visit, according to Patrick.

Over time, children stopped visiting.

“They just lost interest,” he said. “But we saw what an incredible collection it was.”

Patrick said he competed with many other organizations for the Earth Wonders collection, including the Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society.

He managed to finally acquire it in June with the help of donations and loans, which laid the groundwork for the exhibit.

Geology professor Greg Mead, 57, helped Patrick organize the exhibit and loaned part of his own personal collection of minerals.

The collection is still a work in progress, Mead said. He expects an increase in donations.

“We have things that a major university down the road doesn’t have,” Mead said. “Students that are taking classes here are absolutely noticing it.”

Cody Cole, 21, a student in one of Patrick’s geology courses, said the exhibit has students talking.

“This is my favorite building,” he said, adding that once he got the chance to hold the meteorite.

“I think (people will) get more interested in the science programs,” he said. “It gives them a reason to come in here.”

The exhibit is set to join the Teaching Zoo, the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium and the Jean Klein Rock Cycle Garden at Santa Fe, a location informally known as the “Circle of Science.”

Patrick, who also created the rock garden, said he will continue trying to get funds and donations to upgrade the exhibit.

“I think you’re seeing the maturity of Santa Fe,” he said. “The campus is starting to get collections like a major university would have, and we start to have graduates giving back to the school.”

“It’s a cooperative effort. Santa Fe is proud of this.”


This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Cathy

    Great article. However, is it open to the public? What are the hours? Can this information be retrieved from Santa fe’s website or has it not been posted yet?

    • James

      It is open to the public, and it’s open for all school hours, since it’s housed in the lobby of Building X, the natural sciences building. This information has not yet been uploaded to Santa Fe’s website as far as I can tell, it’s too new.

 

More Stories in Education

Physics Bus Gainesville has hosted events around the area to connect people with science. “It supports our mission to make science accessible to everyone and to bridge the gap,” said Medina.

Physics Bus Rolls Into Gainesville To Spark Creativity and Science

Physics Bus Gainesville is a new non-profit organization rolling into Gainesville this spring. It uses air dryers, microwaves and old projector TVs to raise the publics interest in science.


Hernando County Proposes School Rezoning Plans

Hernando County public schools may be rezoned for the 2016-2017 school year. Plans to rezone several schools in the county came about due to overcrowding in some schools.


Judy Beverly's summer migrant students perform "The Three Little Pigs" at Alachua Elementary on June 25. The play marked the end of the three-week camp.

Summer Programs Keep Migrant Children Learning

Counties around north central Florida are keeping migrant children learning throughout the summer. The programs are put into place to reduce disruptions migrant children face in their education due to frequent moves.


Postdoctoral Student Creates STEM Program For Girls

Charlotte Germain-Aubrey, a biology postdoctoral student, created a camp for middle school girls where they can be exposed to the different STEM fields. A different field of science is covered each day at WiSE Girlz Camp, including biology, chemistry, astronomy, engineering and computer science.


Alachua County Delays Approval Of Contract For Police In Schools

The Alachua County Commission met Tuesday to discuss police presence in schools. Discussions reached a stalemate as Superintendent Owen Roberts did not approve the request for police due to funding limits.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments