Nature at the Florida Museum of Natural History by brett gajewski

Nature on Display

A butterfly from the Butterfly Garden at the FLMNH

The Butterfly Garden exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History is very appealing because it allows people to walk into another world and get up close and personal with some unique creatures. While exploring the exhibit, butterflies fly around and often come into contact with the humans observing them. I learned a lot more about butterflies in this exhibit than I would have from simply walking around because I was there for a butterfly release with one of the museum workers and she answered a lot of questions about butterflies. Her excitement and expertise was enjoyable. Also, being able to walk freely around a garden and observe butterflies in a state close to their natural habitat was much more enjoyable than seeing still pictures and reading placards with information.

Nature and Ethics

A display board from the Monarch Butterfly exhibit at the FLMNH

The general feel of the Florida Museum of Natural History created a sense of admiration for the natural world around us. Its various exhibits offered insight into a variety of ecosystems: some that we may encounter daily and others that are more foreign like the depths of the ocean. I felt like a kid walking through the exhibits and seeing jaws of sharks on display and stuffed critters and even a statue of dinosaur bones. All of this led to my building excitement. Other people seemed to react similarly, especially those guests who were actually young children. The Natural History Museum allowed visitors to connect with nature through interactive exhibits like the butterfly garden and other cool features like microscopes showing scales on butterfly wings. My trip to the museum certainly instilled in me an ethical responsibility to nature as Leopold imagines. The museum managed this by building a child-like excitement for nature in me and then appealing to my intellect by posting information on how our human footprint is impacting nature in ways we may not even realize. The placard from the monarch butterfly exhibit pictured above is one example of this.

Nature and the Human Spirit

A picture in front of a Megalodon jaw at the FLMNH

The Natural History Museum helped me step out of my ordinary life by bringing me to a place that wasn’t a classroom, a cafeteria or the gym. Its exhibits were diverse and colorful. They inspired a child-like excitement within me and forced me to stop and wonder about the beautiful nature that surrounds me. It helps us better understand who we are through exhibits that teach us how our actions can influence even the tiniest of species in the world around us. It also helps us appreciate the majesty of the natural world by helping us get up close and personal with some beautiful creatures. My favorite part of the museum was walking past the display of jawbones from various species of shark both past and present. This made me feel small and wonder more about the incredible animals that live in places that I have never explored. Seeing that an ancient Megalodon could swallow me whole with ease helped me appreciate the mystery of the world around me.

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