Good Life Tour at the Florida Museum of Natural History By Olivia Faupula

Nature on Display

Exploring the Butterfly Exhibit

My favorite part about touring the Florida Museum of Natural History was exploring the Butterfly Exhibit. When walking in, I felt like I was entering the Garden of Eve; luscious evergreens filled the entirety of the enclosure, bright and colorful flowers sprinkled across the sea of green plants, tall sturdy trees provided shady refuge, a small trickling waterfall created a sense of tranquility in the atmosphere, and within that atmosphere were all kinds of birds and butterflies of all flying all around. Following the winding stony path, I stumbled upon a small tree that had about 10 butterflies resting on the branches of it. Every butterfly was different and had colors that varied from royal blue and light brown to black and pale yellow. The colorful environment and colorful critters/creatures completely captivated me. After walking through the exhibit I learned that butterflies love bananas!

Nature and Ethics

Surveying the Calusa family's village midden

In the Florida Museum of Natural History, I had the opportunity to learn about the Calusa culture in one of the exhibits. After reading the signs, I learned that the Calusas piled their trash into mounds called middens, and later built their houses and temples on top of them. The display outside of the glass windows shows a replica of what that family, house, and midden looked like back in time. The people seem to be at one with nature, utilizing every resource they can reasonably use. Mounds of shells are piled on the ground. It is because of the Calusas' biodegradable trash that has returned back into the soil, leaving only shells behind. I find it extremely intelligent and efficient these people found good use in their trash, whereas ours today sits in a wasteland doing nothing. The Calusas' ingenuity proved that they were members of the "biotic community" and reminded me to become environmentally aware of all of my actions. I should be recycling my waste into good use just like the Calusas. Visiting this exhibit definitely instilled an ethical responsibility to nature within me.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Standing next to the fossil of a giant mammoth

This first exhibit I saw when entering the Florida Museum of Natural History was the most majestic of them all: the fossil bones of a giant mammoth. When comparing animals that we have today with those extinct, as well as comparing the sizes of animals of today with those of the past, I can't help but wonder what this giant beast would have looked like. Imagine a world where the animals grew to be about 100x larger than they are today. It is incredible to think about, and even more incredible that that was the norm in our world millions of years ago. The world was much different than it is today, and a million years from now it'll be different than it is today. Visiting this museum helps us step out of our ordinary lives and takes us back in time into the lives of cavemen, settlers, conquistadors, and even extinct animals.

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