Rock-Flipping Day 2008

International Rock-Flipping Day, September 2, 2007
It’s International Rock-Flipping Day! If you haven’t flipped yet, please review the guidelines. Be sure to replace all flipped rocks, and do so as carefully as possible: if rocks aren’t returned to their exact footprint, some of the creatures underneath them may be crushed. We also advise wearing gloves as protection against poisonous snakes, spiders, and scorpions, if that’s a concern in your area.

If you don’t have a blog (and even if you do), you can upload photos to Flickr (it’s free to join) and post them to the IRFD group there. I will also be glad to post photos and other material here for anyone who’d rather not bother with Flickr. (My co-conspirator Bev Wigney has been forced by circumstances beyond her control to step back from heavy involvement in the festivities this year.)

I will post about my own rock-flipping activities later today or tomorrow, but I will continue to add links at the bottom of this post to all the IRFD-related posts I can find — I’ll republish it multiple times a day for the next several days as more stuff comes in. And just like last year, we encourage everyone who blogs about Rock-Flipping Day to link to everyone else, as well. Let’s keep things as decentralized as possible, read and comment on each other’s posts, and share the link-love. If you email me with a link (bontasaurus [at] yahoo [dot] com, or use the Contact form on this site), I will include you in the list of folks to email daily for the next three days with all the links I can find. Alternately, you can simply plan on bookmarking and revisiting this post and copying and pasting from here; scroll down for the complete list.

Also, as I noted in this year’s guidelines, we’d like to award two prizes, one to whomever documents the greatest biodiversity under a single rock, and the other to whomever appears to have the most genuine epiphany as a result of flipping rocks. Bev and I haven’t had a chance to discuss how we will choose the winners, but it seems to me that the latter prizewinner in particular could be decided by popular acclamation. Leave comments here or email me with your nominations in one or both categories.

Here’s something you can sing while you’re out peering under rocks, from a Via Negativa reader and regular commenter who is tragically blogless.

The Rock-Flipper Song
by Joan Ryan

(with apologies to Fiddler on the Roof’s “Matchmaker”)

Rock-flipper, rock-flipper, flip me a rock.
Please do not knock
This game as “schlock.”
Rock flipper, rock flipper, look in the yard
And find me the perfect rock.

Rock flipping’s fun-dipping under a stone
Not far from home.
Hey, do not moan!
Day tripping, rock flipping yields so much fun
And even when you’re alone.

Chorus:

Our Johnny
Hopes for a lizard

Our Benny
Looks for some worms

Our Sara,
Just found a beetle

All kids like
Something that squirms.

Rock flipper, rock flipper
Find me a cache.
Careful! Don’t mash
Some of your stash.
Rock flipper, deep dipper
Into the loam,
Please find me a pet of my own.

* * *

Anticipatory posts (a selection)

Marcia Bonta — Rock-Flipping (summary of IRFD 2007)
fish without faces — the tanager and the scorpion (poem)
Fragments from Floyd — Today is Rock Flipping Day: Get Out There!
Going Like Sixty — International Rock Flipping Day: the First Sunday in September

* * *

Rock-Flipping Day Reports

Pohanginapete (Pohangina Valley, Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Blaugustine (London, England)
Nature Remains (Ohio, USA)
Pensacola Daily Photo (Florida, USA)
KatDoc’s World (Ohio, USA)
Notes from the Cloud Messenger (Ontario, Canada)
Brittle Road (Dallas, Texas)
Sherry Chandler (Kentucky, USA)
osage + orange (Illinois, USA)
Rock Paper Lizard (British Columbia, Canada)
The Crafty H (Virginia, USA)
Chicken Spaghetti (Connecticut, USA)
A Passion for Nature (New York, USA)
The Dog Geek (Virginia, USA)
Blue Ridge blog (North Carolina, USA)
Bug Girl’s Blog (Michigan, USA)
chatoyance (Austin, Texas)
Riverside Rambles (Missouri, USA)
Pines Above Snow(Maryland, USA)
Beth’s stories (Maine, USA)
A Honey of an Anklet (Virginia, USA)
Wanderin’ Weeta (British Columbia, Canada)
Fate, Felicity, or Fluke (Oregon, USA)
The Northwest Nature Nut (Oregon, USA)
Roundrock Journal (Missouri, USA)
The New Dharma Bums (California, USA)
The Marvelous in Nature (Ontario, Canada)
Via Negativa (Pennsylvania, USA)
Mrs. Gray’s class, Beatty-Warren Middle School (Pennsylvania, USA)
Cicero Sings (British Columbia, Canada)
Pocahontas County Fair (West Virginia, USA)
Let’s Paint Nature (Illinois, USA)
Sleeping in the Heartland (Midwestern U.S.)
Three Oaks (Ohio, USA)

* * *

Photos

IRFD group on Flickr
IRFD gallery on Via Negativa

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

14 Comments


  1. I got the flippin rock flippin blues. No rocks to flip, no rocks to pick in the Delta. For 100 miles in any direction. So — does this ‘Day’ discriminate against Alluvians?

    Reply

  2. robert johnson – The last time I was in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, I saw plenty of rocks used in landscaping and as rip-rap along the bayous. So you might have to sneak into the rich folks’ yards, but I believe you can find a rock to flip.

    Deborah – That’s good to hear!

    Reply

  3. We found a few things under rocks including worms, millipedes, a pill bug, an ant, and a strange red bug I cannot name. While rock-flipping, we decided to check down at our barn and while we were down there we found adorable baby bunnies!!!! Then, with bunnies on our mind, we made a big run pen for our two pet rabbits and they LOVED it! One of them jumped about a foot in the air!!!

    Reply

  4. Dave, my contribution to International Rock Flipping Day is without any photographic merit. Despite my miserable lack of skill and un-naturalist-like tendencies, I posted a photo on my blog for the folks who organized this terrific event, but especially for Bev.

    Reply

  5. Grace – Sounds like a good time. I’m glad that IRFD inspired you to give more freedom to your rabbits. It sounds as if they were flipping out.

    John – I’ve got you linked. I’m guessing you’re in Texas?

    Reply

  6. Thank you for posting my song, Dave. Way flattered by the term “tragic” that I don’t have my own blog, but it’s not all that bad since Riverside Rambles does give refuge to stray doggerels and you have most kindly sheltered this one. Hey! What an amazingly fertile Flipping Day. It’s now Wed., and I am still flipping new posts to see what is under them. Now I could just get that durn tune out of my head.

    Reply

  7. This was a really fun post to read. Especially enjoyed going through to see what people flipped! The funny thing was, I recently was trying to hide from my job, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if someone here had found me under a rock! Shaw

    Reply

  8. I did some mandatory rock-flipping (removing big rocks after the plumbers excavated our water line) this past summer, took some photos of it, but then never got around to posting it. I hope there’s a 2009 Rock-Flipping Day so I can strut my stuff.

    Reply

  9. Hi Eric – Yes, September 6 this year. Any help in spreading the word would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply

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