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This Argiope spider and other arachnids will be the topic of biologist Denny Radabaugh’s “In Defense of Spiders” presentation to the Central Colorado Humanists Sunday, July 1, at the Salida Scout Hut (photo by Pete Walker, Colorado Parks and Wildlife).

Spider expert Denny Radabaugh will dispel myths and discuss the beneficial aspects of arachnids during his presentation, “In Defense of Spiders,” at the July 1 Central Colorado Humanists meeting. The Humanists’ monthly Sunday Science program will be held at the Scout Hut, 210 E. Sackett Ave., Salida at 10 a.m.

The program is an updated version of presentations about spiders given for the Central Colorado Conservancy and the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association in the past.

Radabaugh will dispel some of the myths and cultural fears of spiders and talk about their beneficial role in the environment and to humans.

“I will explain the odd and irrational roots of our culture’s distaste for spiders, their evolutionary origins and defining characteristics, their astonishingly influential roles in earth’s ecosystems, the roles they play in high-tech bio-engineering – and suggest how local residents can participate in citizen science by collecting these eight-legged wonders,” Radabaugh said.

A Michigan native, Radabaugh holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Albion College and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University with a focus in animal behavior. He taught a wide range of biology science courses over a 38-year career at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Radabaugh developed a love for the outdoors early and found spiders invaluable in research on predatory behavior and ecology.

His presentation will touch on spiders’ ubiquitous nature, the species found in Chaffee County and Colorado, their evolutionary origins, biology, senses and their role as predators in ecosystems.

The program is free and will include a question and answer session to follow. Donations to defer costs are welcome, and light refreshments will be provided.