International Rock Flipping Day!

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Just wanted to remind everyone that September 9, 2012 is International Rock Flipping Day!  This is the 6th annual IRFD.

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 9th, 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.

Mark your calendars: National Moth Week!

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National Moth Week is a new project celebrating moths and biodiversity in the US.

July 23-29, 2012National Moth Week logo

Why moths? Moths can be found everywhere from inner cities to heavily forested remote areas.  You might dismiss moths as boring brown fluttery things, but Moth Week is a great time to look more closely.

They can be amazing mimics; they can be as tiny as the head of a pin. They can be huge with surprising underwing patterns, like the moth on the Moth Week Logo.

The purpose of Moth Week is two-fold; to encourage people to go outside and look at the life around them, and also to encourage people to document and submit what they see as part of a larger citizen science project.

You don’t need to know what you are looking at to participate–if you post your images on the Discover Life site (following the protocol), they will identify them for you!

You can find instructions for having a Moth Party at your house on the Discover Life website, too.  I plan to have a Moth Night Celebration at my house in Connecticut; let me know if you are interested!  I live in a perfect area for mothing–streams, a big pond, forest, and agricultural land all near me.  We’ll get lots of interesting insects, including moths.

Join me in being one Bad Moth-er…
(Shut your mouth!)

Some great resources: