Getting Started in Fluorescent Minerals:
Here are my "top 10" suggestions for getting started in rock collecting (and especially, in fluorescent rock collecting). You can get details to get you started on any of these suggestions on the web....
1) Join a club! There are literally hundreds of local rock clubs in the US; wherever you live, there is a probably an active rock club nearby, with members who are both knowledgeable and helpful. Dues are always inexpensive; there is generally a newsletter, as well as local meetings where you can swap specimens and stories, and I can guarantee you they are always looking for new young members.
2) Visit an exhibit! Most large natural history museums (and many small ones) will have great exhibits of minerals, along with lots of good information for beginners.
3) Read a book or magazine! There are lots of books on rocks and minerals in your local library, as well as in your local bookstore, addressing all age groups and experience levels. There are lots of magazines pointed at the hobby as well.
4) Surf the web! The internet not only has vast amounts of information, but also search engines which will put information on any subject at your fingertips in seconds.
5) Attend a show! Mineral shows are a great place to meet people with an interest in rocks and minerals, as well as observe (and purchase if you want) varied mineral specimens. Most shows will have free or very inexpensive activities and/or specimens for kids as well.
6) Take a hike! The best thing about rocks and minerals is that they're everywhere! But be careful: be respectful of private property, and obey all regulations when hiking in local, state, and national parks. Most have strict regulations about what you can and can't take with you when you leave....
7) Experiment with your lamp(s)! Even a small UV lamp will reveal that many common household objects are fluorescent - I could tell you what many of them are, but that would spoil the fun of discovering them yourself!
8) Get your friends/family involved! The hobby is really contagious, in a good way. Although an individual can enjoy the hobby alone, it's a lot more fun in a group. Also, parents or grandparents can lend encouragement that is invaluable in getting started in any new endeavor.
9) Try a field trip! Use the information gained from books, magazines, the web, your rock club, etc. to participate in a local club field trip, or to plan one of your own.
10) Visit a rock shop! Most areas have one or more rock shops that will have lots of things to see (as well as to buy).
If you are still having trouble getting started, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give me a call at (610) 203-9453 - I'll try to help, if I can....