Geology ROCKS!

Do you like rocks, geodes, fossils and shiny treasures from the Earth?  Come and enjoy a fun-filled, distinctly northwest presentation, sharing the joys of crystal and fossil discovery! We're so thrilled to welcome John Cornish, rock, crystal and fossil hunter extraordinaire!  John is a local Washingtonian who is fascinated by the geologic world surrounding him.  John will share his wonder and extensive eye-popping collection of large minerals, fossils and crystals in an hour long presentation called Geology ROCKS! Geared towards all ages, John has presented this talk to over 30,000 kids and adults over a 20 year period. This inspiring and exciting presentation is sure to thrill you and your family, so don't miss this exceptional afternoon of family crystal and fossil FUN!  John's program and exciting crystal, mineral and fossil show-and-tell is one hour, and if time allows we welcome you to hang out with John afterward to investigate a natural treasure you bring from home, so don't forget to bring along a crystal or fossil you have.  

attendees sitting in the Great Hall watching Geology Rocks presentation

John presenting in our Great Hall with his specimens center stage in 2017

Discoveries made by John are represented in many of our country's finest institutions including the Smithsonian, the American and Carnegie museums and here locally, at our own Washington State Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Burke Museum, where his most spectacular fossil discovery is displayed, Sitsqwayk cornishorum, a new species and genus of fossil whale, a discovery John made near his home in Clallam County.

John excavates an exceptional specimen of a crystal called crocoite from a mine in Tasmania, Australia!

  • Also, did we mention cookies?  We'll have our delicious housemade cookies for you as a sweet treat! 
  • Tickets are all $5/person, and infants on laps or in arms are free.  
  • John will also be gifting each participant a FREE fossilized shark tooth - wow!  
  • We welcome you to bring a mineral, fossil or crystal from home - John will have time after the program to visit with you and investigate your natural treasure with you, so you can learn it's name and how it formed.
More about our friend and fellow educator John Cornish...

Born in December of 1961, John, a native of Washington State, waited until age 29 to experience his first serious exposure to things crystalline and paleontological when he noticed treasures displayed at a friend’s home. Burning with a desire to learn more and to experience his own discoveries, a quick field trip soon resulted where marine fossils from local sediments immediately yielded a fascinating immersion into the exotic world of field collecting. It is here, in the field, that John flourished and his Life changed direction and focus. Never looking back, John hit the road. During his most active year, he visited 113 mineral and fossil localities, all documented in Field Trip Journals, now chronicling a 20 + year pursuit and totaling several thousand pages of text and illustration! Among his local Olympic Peninsula fossil discoveries is a new species of cetacean (whale) approximately 6-meters in length which was donated to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, and is there on full-time display. Another fascinating new vertebrate discovery, also donated, is a monstrous, flightless bird, the largest bird for mass yet discovered in the Western hemisphere (think of a Godzilla-sized-penguin!). Asthenognathus cornishorum, a fossil decapod (crab), is the first fossil species to be named in his honor and recently, Sitsqwayk cornishorum, a fossil cetacean (whale) was named in his honor.

John owns, or is a partner in, several specimen mining properties in the western United States. Among these, the most renowned is the Rat’s Nest claim located in central Idaho. Here John mines world-class mordenite and heulandite specimens from large crystal-lined vesicles up to just over 2-meters in length. Specimens from this, and other mining operations John has been involved in, grace the collections of many of the world’s premier institutions and collections. Recently, John has shifted a percentage of his collecting focus from the U.S. to collecting overseas in Tasmania, Australia, where he helped exploit an exceptional crocoite pocket which measured approximately 13-meters in length and took two years to excavate. From this spectacular occurrence, John set out to, and successfully collected, the largest specimens of crocoite known, specimens were routinely recovered up to a meter-and-a-half in length! This arrangement worked so well, John was asked to, and has become, a partner in this exceptional world-class property.

When home, John enthusiastically shares his passion for minerals and fossils through a presentation he calls, Geology ROCKS! Over 25,000 people have seen his talks, the majority presented within the Olympic National Park through an educational and environmental themed partnership. He owns and operates John Cornish Minerals and is represented at our country’s largest mineral shows as well as at local shows in the Pacific Northwest.

You can visit John's website here to learn more!