Florida Museum of Natural History By: Samantha Albino

Introduction:

On Saturday, January 7, I went to the Florida Museum of Natural History. I explored the many various exhibits the museum had to offer, including some of the museum's permeant exhibits such as the Northwest Florida Waterways & Wildlife exhibit and some of the museum's limited time exhibits such as the Wicked Plants exhibit. However, I spent the majority of my time losing myself in the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit. I found the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit to be particularly peaceful and relaxing. Amidst losing myself in this exhibit, I realized how often we, including myself, neglect the beauty of nature and do not give it the respect it deserves. I initially went into the museum with the mind set of just completing an assignment. However, I was surprised to find myself enjoying the museum. I walked away from this experience with a new respect and perspective on nature and the beauty of the world.

All photo and video credit belongs to myself and my friend, Nicole Marie.

Nature on display:

Waterfall in the Butterfly Rainforest

I found the Butterfly Rainforest to be the most appealing and captivating exhibit. It is an exhibit that makes the museum unique from others. While most museums simply display photos or videos of nature and its wildlife, the Florida Museum of Natural History allows one to come in contact with nature physically and immerse oneself in its wonder. The Butterfly Rainforest grasps one attention from the very first step in. A seemingly endless amount of butterflies fly through the area. There were so many butterflies that I had to watch my step, so I wouldn't accidentally step on one. I was able to see and interact with these butterflies, not in a cage, but in their natural habitat. Butterflies are such small creatures and we often ignore them; but when we are forced into contact with them, in such a small enclosed space, you cannot help but admire their beauty. It is a beauty that is acknowledged and appreciated so much more so than if this scenery and wildlife was viewed through a photo or video.

Nature and Ethics:

ONE OF THE MANY BUTTERFLIES

Leopold, an american philosopher and conservationist was most well known for his beliefs about how mankind and nature should interact with one another. He pointed out how mankind has been under the notion for too long that they are the only “conquerors of the land.” Additionally, he believes that we need to stop viewing nature as strictly a source of income and instead start viewing it as part of our society. In his words, we need to become part of the "biotic community," meaning we must view ourselves as part of "the circle of life" in a sense. As I immersed myself in the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit, I was exposed to a wide diversity of plants, birds, butterflies, moths, and much more. I was fascinated by how well these different creatures worked together to make this small exhibit a thriving community. One of my favorite sightings was of two small finches huddling together for warmth in the rare Florida cold.

If two birds without a conscience or soul can find a will to care for each other, then man should be able to find it in his heart to care for and respect nature as Leopold had hoped for us to do. After experiencing the beauty and wonders of the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit, I felt a sense of obligation to preserve and protect nature for the future generations to come. What influenced my decision even more so to preserve and protect nature for the future generations was seeing the pure amazement, wonder, and joy on the young children's faces who where accompanied by their equally delighted parents.

Nature and the Human Spirit:

DELICATE Blue Morpho Butterfly

The Butterfly Rainforest exhibit helps us step out of our ordinary lives. In a typical urban or suburban area, people do not get vivid interactions with nature and its wildlife to such a large extent. By observing the nature of the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit, we are able to understand and apply many principles to our lives. For instance, observe this tree of various butterflies:

Each is a different size, color, and shape, yet they are all differing variations of the same species: butterflies. Just as diverse as these butterflies are so is mankind. We are comprised of people from different nations, of different cultures, of different religions, of different appearances, yet, we are all the same species: mankind. As different as we may seem to be, we must remember what we do hold in common, our humanity, and remember to treat all mankind with the same respect. We cannot let our physical and cultural differences separate us. We should allow them to make us unique. We should overcome our differences and learn to inhabit and interact peacefully on this planet, just as the varied butterflies do in their small enclosure.

Created By
Samantha Albino
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