Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pick your rocks and mark your calendars!

September 14th, the second Sunday in September, is International Rock Flipping Day.*

It's the day we celebrate the wild things that live in their hidden homes just under our feet, so close but usually so forgotten. And all we have to do to find them is flip a rock!

Because I'm lazy, and it's late, I'll cut and paste the history and instructions from 2011:


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.


If you're joining in for the first time, here's a quick rundown of the procedure.

  • On or about September 14th, find your rock or rocks and flip it/them 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. (Even if you don't have a blog, you can join.)
  • Send me a link. 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. (If you're on Twitter, Tweet it, too; the hashtag is #rockflip.)
  • There is a handy badge available for your blog, here. (Or copy it from this post.)

Important Safety Precautions:

A caution from Dave:

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.

Previous Rock Flipping Days:

  • 2007 (In the halls of the mountain millipede)
  • 2008 (IRFD #2)
  • 2009 (The early bird gets the worm.)
  • 2010 (Mongoose Poop?)
  • 2011 (We Haz Critters)
  • 2012 (Great Expectations)
  • 2013 (And in 2013, I totally forgot until it was too late. Never again!*)

This year, another blogger has offered to host IRFD; if that works out, I'll post the address to send your contributions to. Otherwise, I will post the list, as before. In any case, you can also send your links here, and I will forward them.

Rocks, Crescent Beach. Much too big to flip.

Detail of layered sandstone.

*(I remembered this year, and on time, too!)


  1. Ah! I wasn't sure if I missed this last year or if it just didn't happen, but I guess it was the latter. (Happens to the best of us, no worries!) I'll mark my calendar, and I'll also see if anyone from the Children & Nature Network ( is interested - such a great, simple activity to do with kids.

  2. New sites for IRFD. and


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