Nature on Display: I found the fossils remains of the giant ground sloth to be appealing because of how ginormous they used to be. This exhibit captured my attention by its size. I thought it was a dinosaur of some sort at first, but when I found out it was a sloth, it really appealed to me. What I learned about the natural world from the exhibit that I might not have understood through another medium was the actual size of the animals and the things that used to live on Earth in comparison to me and how much has changed over time as Earth has changed. Actually seeing the fossils and being able to stand so close to it made me realize really how big they used to be. What made my experience at the museum that I found to be so enjoyable was that with the amazing fossils, came an interesting description and facts about each animal.
Nature and Ethics: The Natural History Museum did provide me the opportunity to experience nature in ways that Leopold recommends by showing me some threatened species, and showing me what they are doing to save them from near extinction. For example, the Miami Blue butterflies are threatened to near extinction because of coastal developments and pesticides, so scientists established a captive breeding population in Gainesville to save them and reintroduced them on May 2004 in Everglades National Park. I felt amazed and was in awe as I went through the museum by seeing all the beautiful species we take for granted and also by seeing species that used to roam the Earth. I felt a sense of selfishness and shame for causing some species to be threatened or extinct because of our love of money and constant thought of only economic values. In contrast, I had a sense of shock of how far we have come and by how much has changed on the Earth. As I went through the museum, I thought that we take these species for granted and don't really think or care for them in our daily lives, and that if we don't start caring for them then there will be none left in the future. As I got near the extinction exhibits, I thought that I was lucky I didn't have to deal with sloths three times the size of me. From what I saw, other people reacted in shock and disbelief too, especially when it came to the giant ground sloth. The Natural History Museum allowed visitors of the museum to connect with nature in many ways, one of which was the Butterfly Rainforest. In the Butterfly Rainforest, people were able to get close to the butterflies and observe them as they go through their daily lives. My experience in the museum did instill in me an ethical responsibility to nature as Leopold imagines by allowing me to appreciate nature more than I used to before and informing me about threatened species primarily because of humans and their economic values.
Nature and the Human Spirit: The Natural History museum help us step out of our ordinary lives by helping us get close to nature and its species. For example, in the Butterfly Rainforest, that is the closest I have been to butterflies in a while. You don't really think about them in our daily lives, so we take them for granted. It's not everyday you get to see a butterfly eat a banana. It helps us better understand who we are by showing us what we are missing and what we are oblivious to throughout our daily lives. Moreover, it helps us better appreciate the mystery and majesty of the natural world by showing us nature at first hand and up close in person. For example, I never knew butterflies can change into the color of the food they are consuming and it was amazing to see this so close.
Butterflies eating a banana