Florida Museum of Natural History Breana Mendoza

Nature on Display

Left and Middle: Photo taken by me. Right: Sophia Castro and I at the Butterfly Garden. Photo taken by Glena Gomera. Permission allowed by Sophia and Glenda.

Growing up, I became more of a nature kind of person, therefore, I found this exhibit to be extremely appealing. I loved everything about the Butterfly Garden. My friends and I went on a day when it was not busy at all, hence, the quietness played a role into the admiration of the exhibit. The Butterfly Garden caught by attention easily. It was something different and most of all, it was beautiful and colorful. Additionally, I like the idea of a Butterfly Garden because not only am I up close to the butterflies, but I am also close up with the flowers and plants. Moreover, the garden also had a small pond with a little waterfall, which was perfectly added into the atmosphere. What I learned about the natural world from this exhibit that I might not have understood through another medium is the interaction with other animals and the way they live. For example, there were birds flying around building a nest within the garden, as well as, fish trying to find food within the pond. I learned how the these different animals and insects interact within this atmosphere or ecosystem. Additionally, I learned and understood a couple of plant and butterfly names. Consequently, I understood how the butterflies' camouflage work. My friends and I would try to spot as many butterflies as we could and as I did, I understood their way of living and protection from harmful animals. This experience was enjoyable because it was unique and exciting. I was able to explore the garden and see live butterflies fly around the garden as they plant themselves on flowers. I was able to walk around and enjoy the environment rather than staring at a painting or another display.

Nature and Ethics

Left: Photo taken by me with the exhibit. Right: Photo taken by me of the exhibit.

The Natural History Museum provided an opportunity for me to experience nature in ways Leopold recommends. I felt and sensed as though this experience was eye opening because not everyday do I see people actually interacting with the land around them. As I went through the museum, I was able to gain knowledge and get an idea of how people in the Calusa village used the land in the old days. For example, how they fished, made canoes, gill nets, etc. Because of this, the museum indeed instilled in me an ethical responsibility to nature by becoming more aware of how I treat the land around me and helping to make it a better place. I feel as though other people also reacted the same as I did. It was very eye opening for my friends as well. Additionally, for example, the model of the people in the Calusa village was well made and allowed a visual representation of understanding nature and ethics. The Natural History Museum allowed other visitors to connect with nature through the detailed exhibits, as well as the Butterfly Garden. Also, during some exhibits, there were animal sounds that sounded as if the animals were there with you.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Top left: Photo taken by Glenda Gomera of me. Top right: Photo taken by me. Bottom: Photo taken by Glenda Gomera of Sophia Castro and I. Permission allowed from Sophia and Glenda.

The Natural History Museum definitely helped me step out of my ordinary life through exhibits, such as, fossils of a shark's teeth and jaw, the wholly mammoth and preserved fish. The exhibits also provided information about the past animals before humans roamed the Earth. This helps us understand who we are because the exhibits allow us to think about how humans became to be in this world and where they fit in amongst these fascinating creatures. They also show us how different we all are and the capabilities we all have. Additionally, the museum provided facts with these exhibits, allowing us to gain more knowledge about the world and its creatures. These exhibits within the museum allow us to better appreciate the mystery and majesty of the natural world through understanding how diverse it is through the creatures. For example, I never imagined how huge a wholly mammoth was until I was up close to it side by side. I also did not know how wide a shark's jaw is nor the amount of teeth it has until I was there experiencing the moment. These exhibits educate us and provide us displays of real life animals in the world we live in. They allow us to think and remind us how mysterious the world is.

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Breana Mendoza

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