Afternoon InquisitionScience

AI: International Rock Flipping Day

Just wanted to remind everyone that September 11, 2011 is International Rock Flipping Day!  This is the 5th annual IRFD, and I think it could not happen on a better day.

What better way to remember the events of 10 years ago?  Take a break from the constant, disturbing images and voices in the media about 9-11. Go outside, and spend some time with your inner kid (Or an actual kid).

There are beautiful and amazing things in the world, despite the best efforts of humans.  Rediscover them.  Rejoice in the joy of secret complexity hidden under a rock.

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

  • On September 11th, find a 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 your photos online; it can be on your blog, or load your photos to the Flickr group. (You don’t need a blog to join!)  Send Wandering Weta a link to blog posts. If you’re on Twitter, Tweet it, too; the hashtag is #rockflip.)
  • There is a handy IRFD badge available here.

Important Safety Precautions:

A reminder 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: (from Wandering Weta)

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.

What did you find under a rock today?


Bug_girl has a PhD in Entomology, and is a pointy-headed former academic living in Ohio. She is obsessed with insects, but otherwise perfectly normal. Really! If you want a daily stream of cool info about bugs, follow her Facebook page or find her on Twitter.

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  1. “Oh! Goodie,” I thought. I have a legitimate excuse to find a lake and play Ducks and Drakes, aka “Rock skipping.” Then I read on and found that “Rock flipping” is something quite different.
    It’s not disturbing rattlers that worries me about looking under rocks, it’s waking up Creationists and being told that evolution is only a theory.

  2. I have never been so disappointed to live in the city. No rocks to flip in this neighbourhood. :(

    But the pillbug in the pic is adorable.

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