The Florida Museum of Natural History Brighton Hakimian

One exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History that I found particularly interesting was the one that allowed the visitors to watch the newly formed butterflies emerge from their chrysalides. It was definitely not something that I expected to see when making my way towards the butterfly garden but it was definitely a pleasant surprise. Even though I had seen the transformation through videos and slides millions of times since elementary school, the process still amazed me. It amazes me how something so different from us can live in the same space we do and breathes the same air as well. This creature that was once pudgy little caterpillar built a chrysalis based purely off of instinct, completely liquified itself inside it, and emerged a light and fragile butterfly.
The Florida Museum of Natural History did not provide me with the opportunity to experience nature in ways that Leopold recommends. Each exhibit was filled with taxidermy. These animals did not die of natural causes. They were hunted, killed, and stuffed only to be displayed to an audience that could learn much more about the creature’s natural habits through video rather that one stationary scene designed by taxidermists. Even if the animals were not killed but died of natural causes which is highly unlikely considering the fur and skin would not be intact, promoting the use of animals and wildlife as trophies should not be promoted by an institution designed to promote the conservation of wildlife. Not only is this practice hypocritical but it is totally disrespectful to the animal.
As we go through our daily lives we rarely encounter the purely natural world simply because we have centralized cities where most people live and are not anywhere close to a wild environment. We slowly forget that we are not the only species that lives and thrives on this planet but every once in a while we are reminded. In the times that we remember, we are truly taken back by the fact that we are to alone, that this world belongs to so many other creatures that are equal to if not more important to their ecosystems. We often forget that we are greatly outnumbered and must earn our place on this planet by protecting the ones who inhabit it.

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