Florida Museum of Natural History Dan Turk

Nature on Display

This mastodon skeleton was perhaps the most impressive thing I've seen in a museum in my entire life. Regardless of what can be read in a book or on the internet, numbers mean nothing in comparison to a physical manifestation. The halls and exhibits of the museum contain countless fossils, however, the sheer size of this one is what captured my attention. This showed me that first hand experience definitely has a leg up on conferred advice, which applies to the good life through the fact that you have to experience life in order to get something out of it. On a side note, I have always been interested in natural history, and this being the first natural history museum I have ever been to made the experience that more satisfying.

Nature and Ethics

The hall that I am standing in front off in this picture is bluntly named the "Extinction Gallery," which holds a rather depressing collection of species that have become extinct along the course of time. A species' extinction represents the ultimate failure of human efforts to sustain them and prove to be an inescapable result of haphazard human expansion around the world. When gazing at the pictures enshrined in the gallery, an overwhelming feeling of guilt and an impetus for conservatory action filled me. As a hunter, I am home to a deep appreciation for all that nature can provide, perhaps more so than those who call themselves environmentalists. As the saying goes, you do not recognize what you have until its gone, and this gallery proves that to every person that sets foot in the museum.

Nature and the Human Spirit

The mural behind me depicts what Payne's Prairie resembled in prehistoric times. When I saw this representation, I saw something I knew and recognized: this is exactly how the area where I am from looks. When I go hog hunting, its through open plains like this that we trek. When we camp out and hope for the ducks to fly, it is in swamps like this that we wait. And indeed, the prairie looks much like this today, as well as the landscape surrounding Gainesville. In this way, my experience at the museum brought me back to some of the most cherished memories of my entire life, forcing me to recognize my own adamantine connection to the natural world around us.

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