Nature on Display
One exhibit that really captured my attention was the beginning of Northwest Florida: Waterways and Wildlife exhibit. This exhibit puts you directly into nature as if there was no human interruption of the environment. It shows you carnivorous plants to scale as if you were the size of a bug. It has a limestone cave that you are able to walk through. It even has a cut out in the floor so you can look straight down as if you are walking through nature not just on the museum floor. All of these features combined aid in understanding the natural world around us. I personally do not enjoy history or reading paragraphs about types of plants. This museum however, presented the information in such a fun way that encouraged me to stop and learn some facts about the environment of Florida which I have lived in for my entire life. My favorite part of the exhibit though, is the part where you get to listen to the different bird calls. Seeing the birds in the trees and listening to their calls was more intriguing and attention capturing than just a plaque with information listed on it.
nature and ethics
The Butterfly exhibit really forces those who enter to respect and admire the beauty of nature. Before you are allowed to enter you are reminded that you are stepping into the homes of the butterflies. This is a thought that many humans tend to avoid. We kill the ants that get into our home or tear down the woods which provide food and housing for many animals without batting an eye. We go through this world as if we are "conquers" and as Leopold warns, we are doomed if we do not begin to change they way we look at the environment. As I walked through I had to stop and wait for a butterfly to fly in front of me because this was their place and they have the right of way. In addition to respecting the homes of animals, we need to learn how to respect animals for their place in the world. Butterflies are not here just for the beauty of their wings to be observed by humans. The colors and designs of their wings are for mating and survival, neither of which include pleasing humans. As you reenter the building you are faced with floor to ceiling displays of butterflies and their place in the world. One that caught my eye was describing the potential extinction of the Miami Blue butterfly. This particular species is struggling due to the effects of humans, including coastal development, global warming, and pesticides. We go through our daily lives with the sole goal of our own pleasure, but if we want to continue to exist, we must also ensure the existence of the wildlife around us.
nature and the human spirit
This section of the museum demonstrates and explains the way of life of the Calusa people. The lives of the Native Americans are excluded from much of the history we learn in school. We keep the names of the tribes as the names of our towns, and yet we have no understanding of the people who were the origin of such names. The Native American culture is extremely intriguing to me. Each tribe had a very different way of viewing the world and afterlife. These specific people believed in three components of the body: one is the pupil of the eye, one is their shadow, and the other is their reflection in still water. When someone dies only the pupil remains in the body. Their spiritual beliefs along with their clothes and body ornamentation are much different from European cultures. It is often hard to understand that these Indian tribes were the true founders of where we live today. Learning about their culture can help us understand who's footsteps we are walking in. We are all living in a world that is a product of their existence and it is disappointing that their life prior to European involvement is so ignored. Native Americans have such a connection with nature and spirits that I believe the major western religions lack. The western religions focus so much on getting to a good place in the afterlife, people tend to ignore the true magic and beauty of the natural world around us. I also think that modern society has driven us away from our human connection to nature with inventions such as air conditioning and electricity. There is something truly beautiful in the mystery of the ways of life of Native Americans. I love how in touch they are with the environment around them and the souls of one another. This connection and appreciation of nature are components that I wish to incorporate in the way I view the world in which I live.