Fossils are the naturally preserved remains or traces of organisms, animals or plants, that lived long ago. This preservation requires a unique set of circumstances to occur: sudden burial with sediment accumulation and a lack of oxygen or heat that could alter the organism. Generally, fossils predate recorded human history – 10,000 years or older. Minerals, in contrast, are naturally occurring, usually inorganic substances of definite chemical composition and definite crystal structure. Each is a unique statement about our earth’s history and growth. They remind us of the past, and challenge us to create and preserve a positive future for the next generation. I hope to encourage others to pursue their joy of collecting.