The Florida Museum of Natural History Hannah VanBuren

Nature on Display:

Sharks and their evolution have been a topic of interest for me for as long as I can remember. Their efficiency and the ways in which they achieve it are best displayed through their powerful jaws. Simply looking at them - from the now extinct, but awe inspiring, Megalodon, to the still wondrous Great White Shark - makes you wonder what else the world has to offer. Showing the different jaws in scale next to each other allows for the museum goer to understand the sheer difference between the different species and evolutions that would not be conveyed as well in a textbook or picture. This exhibit made it easy to want to learn and find out more about a species that I already loved so much. It was also the case for exhibits that I had less of a connection to, when they compelled me to gain knowledge on the subject.

Nature and Ethics:

Although walking through a museum can be fascinating and educational, nothing compares to the sheer wonder that comes from being immersed in the natural world. This is exactly what happened when I first walked into the Butterfly Garden. It was overwhelming to be in the presence in such delicate and beautiful creatures, especially when they don't seem to be afraid of the humans walking through their habitat. For that reason, allowing students to come in contact with living animals forces a connection in their minds that most people forget about in their daily lives. The experience caused me specifically to ponder the necessity of preserving the environment and how it will affect human beings if we don't take the necessary actions. If humanity continues to go down the path it is already on, animals such as these could decline in numbers and eventually disappear.

Nature and the Human Spirit:

There were multiple diverse exhibits that caused me to stop and think about the world around me, but the display of marine creatures affected me greatly. I am frequently amazed by the vast scale of the world's bodies of water, and to me the idea that humans have not explored the majority of the oceans is magical. The world is truly a magnificent place that is captured in this exhibit, as well as many others, at this museum. It is imperative that we, as a society, escape from the grasps of technology and recognize the importance to the world and living beings surrounding us.

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Hannah VanBuren
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