UNO’s Society of Earth and Environmental Sciences hosts mineral auction


Terry Shields, Contributor

Fool’s gold, stone-carved animal figurines, fossilized teeth and many other gemstones and beautifully crafted pieces were up for sale at the UNO Earth and Environmental Sciences Department’s 43rd Annual Mineral Auction held on Friday Nov. 19.


Started in 1974, the event includes both a silent auction and a traditional auction where buyers can bid on one of 103 different items, including assorted minerals, geodes, fossils, ammonoids, meteorite fragments and statuettes. Auctioneers Dave Cope, Brittan Kime, Ryan Price, and Jaret Levesh, provided a festive atmosphere for bidders in attendance.

Jennifer Housey, President of the Society of Earth and Environmental Sciences, explained, “Student bonding tends not to happen at desks in a classroom, but more often when working together for a common goal.” She continued, “The mineral auction allows our department to experience event planning and execution, as well as the viewing and study of a menagerie of minerals, fossils, meteorites, and whatever else we manage to find during the fall semester.”

“Plus, the money raised allows us to go on numerous trips through the year where we can better immerse ourselves into what we study. We have a great time hosting and know you guys love coming out,” she said.

The organization’s auction raises thousands of dollars to fund EES scholarships and field

trips benefitting students of the department. The Society also provides networking opportunities

to those interested in Earth and Environmental Sciences and aims to improve knowledge of

geology through community outreach and volunteering activities for the betterment of UNO’s

general academic welfare.


Former UNO students and sisters Courtney and Ashley Gullo attended the event held at the Cove on UNO’s campus. “I found out about the mineral auction through my high school science teacher, and we’ve made it a tradition every year for seven years now,” Courtney Gullo said. “It’s a good way to keep in touch with the people who started your passion for geology.”


“I love minerals, especially the shiny ones,” said Ashley Gullo, former UNO student and soon-to-be graduate of Charity Nursing School. “Minerals are my life.”       


“I haven’t missed a mineral auction since my freshman year of college. I’ve bought many

cool smaller gems, ammonoids and such. Ashley has purchased other rarer items such as a Megalodon tooth, [a] dinosaur tooth, and a meteorite,” Courtney said while admiring her

newly won slab of South American jade gemstone.


“I come back every year because of the people. Even if you’re not there to buy anything, it’s always a fun atmosphere,” Courtney added. “There’s no better people to be around than geologists. They know how to have a good time.”


The UNO Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, founded in the 1960s, offers B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees with concentrations in geology, petroleum geology, coastal and environmental science that provide the next generation of geoscience stewards with

professional knowledge and expertise in protecting Louisiana’s coast and natural resources.