September 7 is International Rock-Flipping Day

International Rock-Flipping Day, September 2, 2007
Yes, that’s right: everyone’s favorite holiday, held since 2007 on the first Sunday in September, is less than a month away. So make plans now to round up the kids, go outside, and flip some rocks.

Again this year, Bev Wigney and I will help coordinate things by acting as distribution points for blog links. Drop me a line to join the email list. On the day itself, and in the days immediately following, we’ll circulate a list of blog links to every participant to publish at the bottom of his/her own IRFD post, or in a separate post if they prefer. Or they can simply link to Bev’s or my posts containing the links list.

You don’t have to be a blogger to participate. We encourage everyone with a Flickr account to join the International Rock-Flipping Day Group and post photos or sketches to the photo pool. Those who would prefer not to join Flickr can send images to Bev (bev AT magickcanoe DOT com) for posting in a gallery on her site.

In case you missed all the hoopla last year, here’s the post that started it all, and last year’s participants are linked here. 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. As before, we advise wearing gloves for protection, and getting the whole family involved — or if you don’t have a family, rope in some neighborhood kids. Be sure to replace all rocks as soon as possible after documenting whatever lies beneath them.

Any and all forms of documentation are welcome: still photos, video, sketches, prose, or poetry. We encourage those of a scientific bent to try and identify everything they find, but we’re also open to purely lyrical or impressionistic responses. Our coveted, if wholly imaginary, Grand Prizes this year will go to: 1) whoever identifies the most species under a single rock; and 2) anyone who appears to have a genuine epiphany as a result of flipping rocks. This second category may seem like a long shot, but the Zen literature does record that a monk named Kyogen achieved Great Satori when he heard a stone strike a bamboo trunk, so it seems at least conceivable. So mark September 7 on your calendars, and get ready to rock-flip, y’all.

IRFD badge by Digital Frontiers Media — get yours here.


  1. This sounds like fun. I’ve never flipped a rock as part of a movement, although I’ve flipped my fair share of them just because. Once I found a huge hairy spider under a ledge-like rock that for some reason I felt compelled to lift. I set that sucker back down pretty quick.

    I’m in!


  2. Great! Yeah, spiders are always a possibility – one good reason for wearing gloves.


  3. what an excellent idea.. happen to love rocks, there everywhere.. will try my best to participate.. oh, the wonders of live…above and beneath… “..anyone who appears to have a genuine epiphany as a result of flipping rocks..”.. this one excites me…


  4. Thank you for reminding people to replace the rock. In a recent post, I showed some of the damage done to glade habitats south of St. Louis by those who flipped rocks and failed to return them to their original position. In some cases it may not be so important, but it could be critical in others.

    When replacing rocks, keep in mind that the act of replacing the rock can still crush invertebrates and even small vertebrates such as lizards and salamanders and destroy previously constructed galleries and nests. Even a small shift in its position relative to the original position can expose previously hidden eggs and other quiescent life stages to predation.

    Best regards — Ted


  5. Thanks for the excuse to go wade in the Watauga River and flip out over rocks. What fun it is to be a complete geek!
    I posted my rock flipping on my blog just now.


  6. Just missed this, but I’ll do it next year for sure. Any excuse to flip rocks!


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