Blanco County News
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Library Program To Feature Blanco Spider Naturalist
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 • Posted July 8, 2008

Utter the word “spider!” and most folks run the other way. Fast. But not one Blanco woman. In fact, whenever she can, Sheryl Smith-Rodgers likes to spread the “Good Word” about spiders.

This week, the Blanco Library will feature Rodgers during its Summer Reading Program, which starts at 10 a.m. Friday. She plans to read a children’s book entitled Be Nice to Spiders and tell kids about some of the spiders they may see in their yards this summer. She’ll also have a live spider or two for show-and-tell.

Rodgers, who’s lived in Blanco nearly 20 years, works as a full-time writer and photographer. She holds a journalism degree from Trinity University and worked many years as a newspaper report/editor. As a freelancer, she’s been published in a number of publications, including Texas Parks & Wildlife, Texas Highways, Texas Co-op Power, American Profile, Angus Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, and more.

Most recently, she started blogging on the certified Texas Wildscape that she and her husband, James Hearn, tend around their Blanco home (

Since childhood, Rodgers has always been fascinated with spiders. Several years ago, she decided to start studying them and bought as many references books as she could on the subject. For a time, she kept a variety of spider species at her desk (in jars) and even raised three pink-toed tarantula spiderlings.

Then and now, Rodgers–who calls herself a “self-educated spider naturalist”– gives spider presentations when asked.

“If more people really understood how important spiders are in the web of life, they’d be less likely to squash them,” she says. “They’re truly fascinating creatures, and I just love to talk about them. Did you know that female wolf spiders are great mothers?”

If you want to learn more about spiders, join your children this week at the library!

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