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.
- 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.
National Moth Week is a new project celebrating moths and biodiversity in the US.
July 23-29, 2012
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:
You might have heard of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation as a sponsor for NPR or PBS shows about nature or environmental issues. They have awarded a grant to The Keystone Center to conduct a “listening project” that is intended to gather answers to the following question:
“What are the major challenges to biodiversity conservation over the next 5 to 10 years and beyond and what might be the most significant opportunities for philanthropic impact?”
It has the official title: “A National Conversation and Survey on Philanthropic Investment Opportunities for Biodiversity and Wildlife Habitat Conservation.”
Put in your 10 cents: Visit the Keystone website to participate in the survey and to tell the Foundation how you’d like them to invest/spend their money.
Note that the survey has quite a few open-answer questions, so allot some time to this, if you want to participate. The survey is only open until April, so time is running out!
File this under “More depressing confirmation of what we already suspected”:
O.R. W. Pergams and P. A. Zaradic. 2008. Evidence for a fundamental and pervasive shift away from nature-based recreation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0709893105.
In this paper they compare the US, Japan, and Spain across a wide variety of environmental recreation variables. This work stems from earlier research (see below) investing decreases of US National Park visits of up to 25% since 1990.
“all major lines of evidence point to an ongoing and fundamental shift away from nature-based recreation.”
Now, I know, correlation isn’t the strongest of analyses. But when you combine it with a multi-factorial linear regression, it is pretty compelling–especially when it confirms something I think a lot of us have long suspected.
This is actually just the latest work by these authors, on the same topic; I liked their earlier paper a lot better, simply because the scope was smaller. I’ll let this excerpt from the abstract explain what they found:
Is love of nature in the US becoming love of electronic media? 16-year downtrend in national park visits explained by watching movies, playing video games, internet use, and oil price. Journal of Environmental Management 2006. 80:387-393.
“Spearman correlation analyses found this decline in NPV [bg-national park visits] to be significantly negatively correlated with several electronic entertainment indicators: hours of television, (P<0.001), video games (P<0.001), home movies (P<0.001), theatre attendance (P<0.025) and internet use (P<0.001)….
Multiple linear regression of four of the entertainment media variables as well as oil prices explains 97.5% of this recent decline. We may be seeing evidence of a fundamental shift away from people’s appreciation of nature (biophilia, Wilson 1984) to ‘videophilia,’ which we here define as “the new human tendency to focus on sedentary activities involving electronic media.” Such a shift would not bode well for the future of biodiversity conservation.”
They also have a review paper:
Videophilia: Implications for Childhood Development and Conservation. Journal of Developmental Processes 2007. 2(1): 130-144. (PDF version of paper)
So there you have it–the internet did kill nature. I guess it’s a bad sign that these papers made me depressed and that I wanted to stay in bed and eat chocolate.