Discover Secret Treasures

gold nugget on black background

CANCELED • Some people can’t resist the hunt. Oregon native Rick Schmitt, also known as “Smitty,” dreamed about being an explorer and working alongside National Geographic when he was a child. He loved to explore the untouched areas of Oregon and used jasper from his secret spot to fund his training in SCUBA.

Then Schmitt heard about an opportunity for a commercial diver in the Florida Keys in 1977. Under the warm blue waters of the Caribbean lie the remains of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atoche and her haul of gold, silver and emeralds. As a trained underwater salvager, Schmitt became part of a team that recovered some of the artifacts on display at the Maritime Museum in Key West, Fla. With National Geographic capturing the details, Schmitt achieved his childhood dream.

His love for Oregon brought him home and he continued his passion for recovering treasure in our own neighboring rivers. Schmitt has successfully recovered gold and gems using sustainable practices by identifying geological landmarks that lend clues where to search.

Schmitt will teach these skills in a new program called Minerals, Gems and Gold. Open to ages 15+, this class will teach the basics of roadside geology so students can know what to look for when participating in recreational prospecting. The class will culminate in a field trip toward some of Smitty’s favorite nearby spots. Join us June 21-23 for this exciting adventure!

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