March, 2022

March 15, 7:00-8:00pm. Friends of Sheri Capehart Nature Preserve meeting, Community Room of the Arlington Police Department – West District Service Center, 2060 W Green Oaks Blvd, Arlington, TX 76013

Don’t Fear the Creeper – We humans come fully equipped to respond to nature with wonder, gratitude, amazement – and sometimes with fear and revulsion. Our brain and body can warn us of danger, but if that alarm system overreacts, we may come to fear things that are not really dangerous. That is especially true for spiders and snakes, but we can become afraid of lots of things in nature. 

Michael Smith will talk about how those fears can get started and how we can decrease fears of things in nature. Is the fear of creepy-crawlies mostly inherited or learned from experience? Is my fear of spiders arachnophobia? Most importantly, what can we do to become less afraid? Michael will draw on his career as a Psychological Associate to give some answers. 

He will bring a friendly, crawly friend or two, which will be safely tucked away and out of sight until the end of the program. If you are afraid of snakes and want to join the discussion, please join us, and if you need to step out before the small, harmless snake joins us, that’s fine. No one will be expected to do anything they would rather not do.

The rationale for what’s called “exposure therapy” is that gently, gradually confronting what we fear in a safe context lessens the fear. So come hear the facts, join the discussion, and stay for the animal ambassador if you like. 

Here are the kinds of things I ordinarily do:

  1. Mindfulness-based walks in nature
  2. Presentations to groups using PowerPoint to show lots of photos of ecoregions as well as reptiles and amphibians in Texas. Programs include: Ten Best Places in Texas to See Reptiles (And Lots of Other Things); The Amphibians of Early Spring; Venomous Snakes of North Texas; Field Herpers: Partners in Conservation.
  3. Interpretive walks with natural history information, in conjunction with organizations such as the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge or Friends of Southwest Nature Preserve. These typically focus on the lives of reptiles and amphibians (herps), with additional discussion of the habitat and the community of plants and animals in which herps live.
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