THE FLMNH By: Sydney Westman

Nature on Display: The exhibit at the FLMNH that I fund to be most interesting was the butterfly exhibit, as it not only includes a butterfly garden with live butterflies, exhibitions of butterflies in cocoons, plaques with information regarding butterflies and the preserved remains of butterflies. This exhibit is very immersive and provides a large amount of information about these beautiful creatures in all stages of their lives, which is part of what makes it so impressive. I feel that, through the variety of biotic and abiotic components as well as through the multitude of different mediums, I learned more about butterflies and the natural world because of the many ways information was presented. I thought it was really enjoyable to have the opportunities to see the butterflies before they are born and in the cocoons, alive in the butterfly garden, and then preserved after they have passed. The uniqueness of this exhibit is what makes it so interesting and enjoyable to me, and the interactive component of the butterfly garden is part of what makes it so immersive and experientially educational.
Nature and Ethics: Yes, the FLMNH definitely provided a way for me to view the world and all it has to offer in the manner that Leopold intended. The picture that I included for this section gives information on conservation and discusses the importance of insects in our world. It also gives information about habitat loss and how we can get involved and become protectors of our community. By detailing the importance of conservation in our world, it educates guest of the museum on how vital it is that we keep all of our planet’s species alive so that our world can continue to flourish. Throughout the museum, the exhibits showed extreme reverence to our natural world and the species of the past and present. The museum also featured multiple informational signs and displays regarding the conservation of land and the preservation of species, which shows respect for our environment and educates people on the importance of making efforts to preserve nature. The other guests at the museum were as awed by the exhibits as I was, and I think the many interactive components (butterfly garden, displays that spin, rooms where children can complete environmental related activities) really added to and improved the overall positive experience of visiting the museum. Rather than having boring rooms where you just walk through and look at objects and displays, the FLMNH allows you to interact with them and, therefore, gain more knowledge regarding them. I definitely feel that my experience at the FLMNH opened my eyes more to the importance of conservation and demonstrated to me, in a unique way, all of the important aspects of the natural world that we have to strive to protect. Now, more than before, I feel an ethical responsibility to protect the world and participate in more sustainable practices in my everyday life.
Nature and the Human Spirit: The FLMNH allows us to step out of our ordinary lives by bringing us into an environment focused on nature and on the big-picture dynamics of conservation and preservation in our world rather than on our small-scale, everyday worries and problems. The immersive and intriguing exhibits we are presented with when touring the FLMNH allows us to get lost in a different world and provides us with perspective regarding what a small part we are of such a large world. I would say that it helps us better understand who we are because it reminds us that we are a part of something greater and that we have a responsibility to treat our world well and to focus on improving it rather than just worrying about ourselves and our own lives. The picture I chose to represent this section depicts a variety of people of different backgrounds, ages, races and genders standing together outside and is captioned: “Florida’s future. It’s up to us”. This represents our need to unify as a people, no matter our differences, and to preserve all of the many parts of the world.

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