Thursday, September 03, 2009

Rock Flipping Day, 2009: Mark your calendars

We're in September already, and it's time for the Annual Rock Flipping Day. This year, I will be trying my hand at co-ordinating it.

Rock Flipping Day was started by Dave Bonta and Bev Wigney in 2007. The idea is simple; in Dave's words,
we pick a day for everybody to go outside — go as far as you have to — and flip over a rock (or two, or three). We could bring our cameras and take photos, film, sketch, paint, or write descriptions of whatever we find. It could be fun for the whole family!
37 bloggers joined in that first September.
On 9/2/2007, people flipped rocks on four continents on sites ranging from mountaintops to urban centers to the floors of shallow seas. Rock-flippers found frogs, snakes, and invertebrates of every description, as well as fossils and other cool stuff.
And someone, I remember, too busy to get away, flipped over a rock on her desk, and showed us the bottom. (Or was that in 2008?)

Possible rock-flipping subjects. Cougar Creek.

So here we are in September, 2009. Dave isn't able to co-ordinate this year, and I came to the table too late, so we won't be going with the first Sunday in September this time. Let's make it the third, September 20th. Mark that day on your calendar!

If you're joining in for the first time, here's a quick rundown of the procedure:
  • On or about September 20th, find your rock and flip it over.
  • Record what you find. "Any and all forms of documentation are welcome: still photos, video, sketches, prose, or poetry."
  • Replace the rock as you found it; it's someone's home.*
  • Post on your blog, or load your photos to the Flickr group.
  • Send me a link. My e-mail address is in my profile, or you can add a comment to any IRFD post.
  • I will collect the links, e-mail participants the list, and post it for any and all to copy to your own blogs. (Maybe we can Tweet it, too, this year. Use the hashtag #rockflip.)
There is a handy badge available for your blog, here.

Prizes? Dave handed out purely imaginary prizes in previous years. I'll have to think about that.

One thing I forgot to do in the initial post is to caution people about flipping rocks in poisonous snake or scorpion habitat. In that case, I’d suggest wearing gloves and/or using a pry bar — or simply finding somewhere else to do your flipping. Please do not disturb any known rattlesnake shelters if you don’t plan on replacing the rocks exactly as you found them. Timber rattlesnakes, like many other adult herps, are very site-loyal, and can die if their homes are destroyed. Also, don’t play with spiders. If you disturb an adjacent hornet nest (hey, it’s possible), run like hell. But be sure to have someone standing by to get it all on film!
I'll post updates as we go. Keep checking back.

And most of all, have fun!

*Update: from David Steen, in a comment on The Obligate Scientist,
A reminder to all rock flippers that they should be flipped back into place. If there are critters underneath, don't place the rock back on top of them, move the animals to the side, replace the rock and let them scurry back.



  1. Thanks for coordinating this very fun event. I had a great time participating last year.

  2. I've started using the tag #rockflip on Twitter for posts related to the event.

  3. I forgot Rock Flippin' Day ... glad you remembered ... and took up the coordinating. May be down at the coast on the 20th ... which may well turn up more interesting things than in our own country side.

  4. was a fun to participate last year!

  5. Looks like fun - I'll keep that day free! ;)

    Thanks for hosting :)

  6. I'm penciling in that date and scouting out some good locations - unfortunately it looks like the best low tides up here are at 1:00am in the morning so perhaps I'll be doing a terrestrial flip!

  7. I found you through, and this is right up our alley! I teach Environmental Science, and I'm trying to teach my kids ecology at an early age...heehee, thy're both under three. I love your blog...see you on the 20th!

  8. Anonymous2:41 pm

    I just came across this and I think it's great - count me in!

  9. SoSmrt and naturalnotes3, Glad you found the blog in time for this year's flip!


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