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BEST BET

March 24, 1991|SUSAN PATERNO

First it was killer spiders in "Arachnophobia." Then a threatening tarantula in "Home Alone." Now come preying death's-head moths in "Silence of the Lambs."

"People have a real fear of insects and Hollywood doesn't help," said Arthur Evans, director of a traveling insect museum that will visit the Los Cerritos Center as part of a monthlong Celebrate Mother Earth festival.

"Most people see bugs at the end of a spray can so they tend to have this bias against them," Evans said. "Our goal is to dispel the myths." Evans brings his herd of spiders, scorpions, tarantulas and other assorted furry and fanged arachnids, insects and arthropods to the mall for a, believe it or not, hands-on exhibit.

He will join dozens of other exhibitors for Celebrate Mother Earth, an effort to make the public more environmentally conscious. The exhibits include a full-scale re-creation of natural habitats--complete with a live bear, eagle and monkey--to show the human threat to wildlife.

Also on the agenda: State transportation officials will use special computers to advise drivers on avoiding traffic jams. Water officials will distribute free conservation kits and lawn watering guides. And a Santa Monica environmental group publicizing the hazards of dumping garbage in the ocean has a trash-filled tide pool where children can fish.

The Easter Bunny holds forth until March 30, distributing free Monterey Pine seedlings instead of candy. Woody Woodpecker is expected to appear April 20 to discuss curbside recycling. The schedule of main events:

Today: Water officials distribute kits and information; Heal the Bay sponsors an interactive trash pool for kids; the Easter Bunny distributes seedlings.

Saturday: Transportation officials let commuters use a computerized navigational program.

April 18 to 21: Animals and their habitats go on display. April 19 to 21: The Los Angeles County Natural History Museum's Insect Zoo appears.

Other groups participating include the Oak Canyon Nature Center (April 13 and 14); the South Coast Air Quality Management District (April 20 and 21); the Wildlife Way Station (April 20 and 21); the Sierra Club (April 27 and 28) and Science and Space Expo (April 26 through May 5). Los Cerritos Center is at the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway and South Street exit.

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