Good Life tour of the Florida Museum of Natural History Chessna Rose Valley, fall 2016

The Butterfly Rainforest Exhibit

Nature on Display

The Butterfly exhibit was the most stunning to me because the set up was so authentically natural that I had to remind myself the garden was artificially made. The natural lighting and the open skies above truly made me feel as though I was experiencing what I was seeing outside. This exhibit captured my attention so well that I could be sitting in the garden for hours and I wouldn't mind. In fact, I spent two hours in this exhibit alone. The breeze and the sound of the water made it feel so calming to be around the butterflies. The beauty of nature and the wish to protect it could not have been expressed in any other medium because the wonder of it all could not be captured on video or paper. Instead, one must be immersed in it to truly understand. The museum was so very enjoyable because of how one was free to roam independently. Furthermore, each exhibit seemed very enclosed and made one feel a part of the exhibit.

Nature and Ethics

It was not a complete experience of learning to love nature as Leopold says because we were in an artificial rainforest constructed by humans. However, the museum did offer some aspects that allowed us to connect to nature and love it for what it is. I was amazed as I walked through the museum because I could see the level of work it took to create the exhibits. The lighting and the sounds gave every exhibit a different mood. However, each one was similar in that it gave one a sense of what it must be like to be in that environment. The museum helped us to connect with nature as we were allowed to walk on our own and view the exhibits and the quiet tones and low lighting gave us the perfect atmosphere for reflection. The butterfly rainforest especially gave me a sense of ethical responsibility as it let me see how unique and fragile nature is and that its beauty is deserving of protection.

Nature and the Human Spirit

This museum helps us to step out of our ordinary lives in many ways. The Native American, Prehistoric, Aquatic, and Butterfly Rainforest each allowed us to escape the busy, metal and concrete world that we walk through everyday. The museum educated those who wished to learn about the true nature outside of our city walls and gave us a feeling of what it is like to be surrounded by nature and its animals. The exhibits helped me to understand that human beings are more than what society has shaped us to be, and that we too are a part of this beautiful nature.

Photos taken by Chessna Valley

All content in each photo is credit to the Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, Florida

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Chessna Rose Valley
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