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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Since then, I have shown this same slide to many students, and I get similar reactions. In fact, research I have been doing with colleagues since this incident seems to be indicating that our preservice teachers have a discomfort with nature. This discomfort seems to be most profound when messes or creatures are involved, for example, in situations where the individual is close to plants and, presumably, “bugs,” such as sitting in the sunflower house. Students also showed anxiety about walking close to tall flowers, holding a bird’s nest, and allowing children to mix water with dirt or sand. If you are an administrator and your goal is to introduce a school garden, it is important that you be aware that your teachers may not be comfortable working with children and nature. They may have some degree of biophobia, or a fear of nature. In our experience, it is difficult to change someone’s com- fort level. We have had success, however, educating students about how to work with children outdoors. Talk with your staff, and encourage them to share their feelings. When teachers with no background or hands-on experience are presented with a garden, they tend to be afraid to become involved for fear they will make 18  •  Chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL