Good Life Nature Activity at the FLMNH By: Melissa Gurney

Photo taken by Melissa Gurney in the Butterfly Rain Forest at the Florida Museum of Natural History

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This was my second time visiting the Florida Museum of Natural History to my recollection. Towards the end of my visit, I recognized an exhibit that made me realized that I had been there about six years prior to this trip. I was honestly surprised that the exhibits did not change at all over this six year span. During this trip, I went to all the exhibits but only chose photos from those that I could best apply to the Good Life concepts.

Nature on Display: The Butterfly Rain Forest is an excellent exhibit that immerses you in the natural environment of butterflies. The exhibit contained a beautiful garden that you could walk through or sit and enjoy. The many aspects of this garden such as the bridges and waterfalls added to the experience. What captured my attention most were the various types of butterflies flying everywhere around you. The feeding behaviors are something I had never seen or learned before so that was something interesting that I observed. The aesthetics of this exhibit were all encompassing from the sounds of the waterfalls to the sights of the butterflies.

Photo taken by Melissa Gurney in the Butterfly Rain Forest at the Florida Museum of Natural History

Nature and Ethics: In support of Leopold's argument, the museum's exhibits surround you in a way that make the individual feel much smaller compared to the environment. It is in this way that we realize the importance of our environment and our need to care for it. The Indian tribes in the South Florida People and Environments Exhibit demonstrate co-existing with the environment. The photo I took was a particular part of the exhibit that I appreciated and also found slightly amusing. The photo is of an American Indian woman dressed in traditional clothing using a Singer sewing machine. I think most people went through this particular part of the exhibit rather quickly and all the adults probably missed my favorite part that I photographed because it was lower to the ground. The other part of this exhibit that was more attractive was the Calusa Leader's House. This part of the exhibit allowed visitors to go inside and experience the cultural and environmental aspects of the living quarters. Ethical responsibilities were instilled in this exhibit and in others through the enforced themes of co-existing with nature and living in a world where humans are not the only things to care about.

Photos take by Melissa Gurney in the South Florida People and Environments Exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History

Nature and the Human Spirit: The museum helps visitors step out of their normal lives through all encompassing exhibits that surrounds them in the different environments of other living (or deceased) creatures. Exhibits such as these help society realize their places and roles in nature (if they even belong there). The mystery and majesty of the natural world is best learned by submersion either in real environments or in museums which are necessary if submersing yourself in an environment that no longer exists such as during the rein of dinosaurs. It is through museums alone that the typical person can experience the full scale or model of life in nature especially during time periods that no longer exist.

(Left) Photo taken by Melissa Gurney in the Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land Exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History. (Right) Photo taken by Melissa Gurney in the South Florida People and Environments Exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Credits:

Melissa Gurney

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