If you’re afraid of spiders, you’re not the only one. According to Health Research Funding, arachnophobia ranks as the third most common phobia in the U.S.
Hunter Klingensmith is the visitor experience coordinator for Swaner Preserve and Ecocenter in Park City. She is helping to coordinate an upcoming exhibit called the Art and Science of Arachnids. I spoke with her about the event, but first, she clarifies that the term arachnids includes more than just spiders.
“Arachnids are actually a whole bunch of different animals," she said. "Ticks are actually considered arachnids.”
So, arachnids include scorpions, mites and ticks, as well as spiders. And if you’re wondering what these 8-legged creatures can do for you, Klingensmith says a lot.
“The whole goal of the exhibit is to make arachnids less scary and more interesting because they are amazing creatures and they do a lot of beneficial things for us. So they eat a lot of the insects that aren’t helpful to humans, they help to keep our ecosystem running well and so arachnids are actually very important,” she said.
Many of these creatures get a bad rap from popular science fiction, historical associations and even children’s books, like Harry Potter. However, the organization known as Build 4 Impact, which creates and manages the traveling arachnid exhibit, is hoping to change that.
For those that are still wary of the critters, Klingensmith reassures that all of the live arachnids when not kept in terrariums will be carefully managed.
The exhibit runs from September 15th through December 9th. Find a link to Swaner events and programs here.