Saturday, September 08, 2012

It's tomorrow!

International Rock Flipping Day, that is. Sunday, September 9.

A whole beach full of rocks I'd love to flip. Ocean Grove, Campbell River.

What is International Rock Flipping Day?

It's a day set aside to explore a too-often forgotten part of our world, one we walk past every day, and rarely are aware of; our nearest neighbours, the vibrant life under our feet.

Once a year, people all over the world go out into the fields, the beaches, the creeks, the hills and mountains, or scout around their own backyards or urban spaces, looking for intriguing rocks. We go alone or in groups, with grandparents and kids and students. And the cameras, of course.

We then carefully flip those rocks upside down, and record what we find underneath.

And we see some amazing critters! Everything from roly-polies to slimy salamanders to lazy lizards to a swimming caterpillar ... What will you discover?

Just a reminder: here are the basic instructions:

  • Sometime on Sunday, find a good rock or rocks and flip it/them over. If Sunday's impossible for your people, Saturday or Monday is fine.
  • Record what you find. Take a photo or video, if possible.
  • Replace the rock as you found it.
  • Write a post on your blog, in any format you are happy with (someone suggested haikus this year), and add your photos. Or load your photos to the Flickr group. (So even if you don't have a blog, you can join in. You can write a note describing your experience with any photo you add to the Flickr group, too.) If you're on Twitter, Tweet it, too; the hashtag is #rockflip.
  • Send me a link to the blog post or Flickr photo.
  • I will collect the links, write up a blog post including them all, e-mail participants the list, and post it for any and all to copy to your own blogs. 
  • There is a handy badge available for your blog, here. (Or copy it from this post.)

Important Safety Precautions:

A caution from Dave Bonta:
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!

About Respect and Consideration:

The animals we find under rocks are at home; they rest there, sleep there, raise their families there. Then we come along and take off the roof, so please remember to replace it carefully. Try not to squish the residents; move them aside if they're big enough; they'll run back as soon as their rock is back in place.

Have a wonderful Rock Flipping Day! I'll be watching for your results with bated breath.


  1. I shall have to arrange a date with my husband, so he can do some flipping, and I can be in charge of the photos...

  2. I have just seem this post. Too late to meet the deadline but I am going to claim international dateline interference and do it next week instead. In fact, up the valley from me they still keep to the ancient Celtic calendar so everything is ten days behind!

  3. Mark, Sounds logical to me!


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