My friend and I attended the Butterfly exhibit at the Natural History museum and I was able to capture some pretty amazing moments. I really enjoyed the working of multiple mini waterfalls into their mini rainforest as it added to the relaxing feeling of the whole room. They provided an additional feeling of wilderness to my experience. This trip reminded me of a vacation my family took to Puerto Rico a few years back. Just sitting and listening to the sound of water falls created that same emotional attachment to my surroundings. I will definitely be visiting again.
Nature on Display
When I crossed through the doors I immediately felt I was traveling into another world. What caught my attention most was the incredibly large amount of different species present in what physically was a small space but felt so huge. When I was walking I felt every step had to be placed so carefully as to not harm the natural aura of the exhibit. This opportunity that was provided gave me the chance to learn and identify specific species as well. There were books placed on certain handrails with information about each butterfly. I've had the pleasure of traveling to a rainforest in Puerto Rico and this felt like a little piece of that. However, here, I feel I was exposed to more factual information and had a more close up view of wildlife. Here we are face to face with butterflies, fish, lizards, birds, and turtles, only inches away from our touch. The smaller space provides us with the ability to see so much in so little time. Benches are along the paths that allow us to sit and reflect on our situation. It makes you want to grab a notebook and write poetry.
I truly found the peacefulness to be alluring. I looked around to see all sorts of animals and with in that just a few humans. We were outnumbered by nature, and in a way, being that small made us a little part of nature. I enjoyed how close I felt to them. There is a rule that you cannot touch the butterflies, I this enhances the experience. Humans are known for destroying habitats, however, here we are in their arena. Here we see them at work and must wait for them to come to us. There is something about being out of one's comfort zone that is so comforting.
Nature and Ethics
Like mentioned before, there is something about being out of one's comfort zone. I think the butterfly exhibit specifically gives the visitor to experience nature as Leopold felt nature was intended to be admired. Reiterating, it felt like I was a little fish in a big pond. I didn't walk in through the doors wondering how much it costs to replicate a rainforest or what the price tag per butterfly was. Instead, I walked in a was at a loss for words. I was able to interact with nature without harming it. Others walked through beside me with High definition cameras just trying to capture a little glimpse of natural beauty to take home with them. With the permission of photography, the Natural History museum allows us to interact directly with the exhibits.
I feel this exhibit gave us not only the opportunity to come closer with nature in a way pleasing to Leopold, but the desire to do so as well. I think my experience provided me with a want to love nature. Seeing such a peaceful and beautiful scene instills so much happiness and a desire to 'do good'. When walking through the museum it made me question why I have seen so little of nature. I have been camping and hiking, but I feel I haven't experienced it quite like that. This exhibit made me think that it isn't about the scale at which you see it, it's about the depth to which you understand it. Hiking atop huge mountains is gorgeous no doubt, but it takes a very special and specific experience unique to an individual to truly understand and become one with nature.
I feel the part I related to most regarding what Leopold wishes, is becoming a part of nature and not so much an outside or intruder. This experience really helped me to understand that we as a human race are nature. We step foot outside into nature everyday. It takes just one moment to move from a parking lot to a mini rainforest and that moment prepares you to see something amazing. We have to understand that removing ourselves from nature as much as possible is not a solution, but a problem. As living creatures nature is something that helps us to grow. Society is something that fosters us, and society whether we admit it or now, is nature.
Nature and the Human Spirit
Ya know, it's not every day that we are in such close proximity to thousands of butterflies and other creatures. This exhibit in the natural history museum allows us to introduce ourselves to a situation unheard of on a daily basis. I feel taking this time to visit the exhibit and just spend a few minutes listening to the sounds only created by nature allowed me to fully relax and come to terms with myself. I find that this is something I want to incorporate into my daily life. Perhaps something on a smaller scale and more achievable than visiting this exhibit daily, nonetheless, something of equivalent value.
It takes patience to enjoy nature. For some it is the moment you come into contact with it. For others, it takes years to fully appreciate and understand it. I find that this exhibit allows us to be surrounded by so much more nature than on a daily basis that the process of recognizing it's importance is heightened. This exhibit allows me to seriously recognize the vast majority of the universe as a mystery. There is so much unknown to mankind and even more unknown to myself. Rainforests, for example, are something that will outlast so many of us. We are just an individual blip in the timeline of nature and I find it's important for us to recognize that. Combining Leopold and Heschel, it's vital for us to understand our role in nature and how small we are with in this vast ever expanding universe. We must know the importance of preserving as much as we can, even in such simple ways such as the butterfly rainforest. A small and simple building provides so much joy to those who visit it, and at the same time, provides a home to a vast number of species. This is the ideal role of humans in nature. (Few more pictures below)