Good Life Nature Activity at FLMNH YEHYUN MUN

Florida Museum of Natural History

Going into the museum, I did not know what to expect. I had been to plenty of art museums, but not many nature-related ones. If there was one thing I knew, I knew there were butterflies; I had heard from many of my friends who had gone to the museum before I had. Once inside, however, I noticed that after the butterflies, there were frogs, sharks, extinct animals, etc. I felt as if I was an elementary student, and went around the museum with excitement and fascination.

Nature on Display

I have always been a fan of the nature--something about being outside sends out a very satisfying and fulfilling vibe that cannot be done with anything else. I enjoy brisk breezes, and hearing leaves rustle, and seeing the innumerable amount of colors in the sky. How would I find these sensations inside a room? Well, one option is to mock it. My favorite places in the museum were those that had wall-to-wall paintings of the nature, with trees and sand and the ocean. One room even had a speaker that played the sound of waves crashing on the shore with seagulls cawing alongside the hint of breeze that can be heard as well.

I could not help but imagine myself at the beach, watching the butterflies and birds fly away with the clouds, and relaxing under the warm sun. I was truly immersed into the atmosphere that the artists were trying to elicit. Yet, I was wishing that I was physically at the beach, not virtually by mimicking the visuals and sounds from the beach. I realized that certain feelings cannot be truly brought out until I am experiencing it firsthand.

Nature and Ethics

Size of a Giant Ground Sloth (my favorite extinct species in the museum) relative to my height

The part of the museum that made me think about the "biotic community" was the area that depicted many extinct species over time. There were so many that I had not known of, including some species that made me wonder why they would become extinct. For example, a canine with large canine teeth went extinct, and thinking from a Natural Selection point of view, I would have assumed that it would outlive regular canines. This thought provoked a question whether humans were the cause of these extinction, and such question made me feel guilty and uneasy. While others were solely fascinated at the extinct animals, the realization of humans' obsession with conquering land and harvesting it for more artificial technology allowed me come to an agreement that it is also our ethical responsibility to protect certain lands, especially those that serve as habitats for other animals. We are not the only animal that exists in this planet; plants and animals have the right to live in their homes as well. The sight of all the species that no longer exist helped me connect to nature as a component of this natural and ever-changing biosphere, not as an outsider who has control over every aspect of the environment.

Nature and the Human Spirit

The world is a crazy place, and there is no way one is able to understand every little element of it. Not everyone appreciates the same things to the same extent, or this would be a boring world we live in. For example, my friend, Annamarie, who went to the museum with me was extremely excited at the sight of butterflies and overjoyed at the sight of frogs. Those two animals, I did not have much interest in. I felt that butterflies were just another bug in despise, and frogs are just slimy and scary. Annamarie helped me understand why butterflies may be better than I imagine them to be, and how frogs could be considered "cute." The combination of the natural environment we were surrounded by in the museum and her excitement allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and understand aspects of life that I chose not to appreciate.

While I try to appreciate all components of life and nature, there are some that simply cannot be understood, let alone be found, which is what makes life that much more fascinating. I believe that life is magnificent, and nature, full of trees, land, and water hold so much potential that I genuinely strive to love, whether or not I fully understand what this "potential" holds. While I admit that butterflies are beautiful, just like many other things in life, I will never admire them as much as Annamarie does.

And frogs are still scary.

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