FLNHM Anaeva Nelsas


I had the privileged of visiting the Florida Natural History Museum. Through this, I was able to gain a great insight on Florida's history through human and environmental perspectives. I went through all of the exhibits, but found the Butterfly Rainforest, Florida Fossils, and Chorus of Frogs exhibits the most interesting. This museum brought my closer to

Nature on Display

To the common person, museums may seem boring and tedious to go to. However, the Florida Museum of Natural History uses innovative and interactive exhibits in order to display exciting information to its viewers. The most enjoyable exhibit was the Butterfly Rainforest by far. The exhibit consisted of hundreds, maybe thousands of examples of butterflies around the world, through the use of actual preserved butterflies. This however, was only the entrance. Once inside the exhibit, you step into a whole different world of tropical plants, waterfalls and insects. What first attracted me to this exhibit was the inherent interaction between nature and man that this exhibit provided. It is something that is few and far between in museums across the nation. Most of the time, you can't touch the art, but in this exhibit, the art touches you. This exhibit captures your attention in the first place because it is actually outdoors. On such a beautiful Florida day, the last thing people want to do is stay indoors. The outside and free ranging nature of this exhibit calls to the wild being within everyone. This exhibit features many informational signs about butterfly behavior scattered throughout the walkway, as well as picture books of every species of butterfly to be found in the exhibit. While the information is present to you in text, you can also observe it, and watch it happen around you. That is the key difference that makes this exhibit stand out from the rest. I could read about butterfly feeding habits, and then actually see it happen right before me. Things such a behavior are better understood when observed. I could have read multiple paragraphs describing butterfly behavior, but I could only really have understood it if I observed it happen. Being able to roam free and have butterflies land on my hair and nose at free will was an incredible experience, and there is no doubt that I would visit again and again.

Nature and Ethics

Throughout all of the exhibits, the Florida Natural History Museum (FLNHM) placed an emphasis on human impact on the environment, as well as human development and interaction within nature. The FLNHM had exhibits, including the 'South Florida People and Environments', which showcased humans in a different light. It was able to put people into the perspective of evolutionary transitions, and how as the landscapes were changing, they changed with it. It showed the evolution of man, before they became the conquerors of land, and rather how they had a relationship with the land instead. This can be seen a reflection of Leopold's views and ideas that we should rather love and respect our land instead of butcher and conquer it. It can be seen in the early ages, people lives off the land, and therefore depended on it. This meant that they also took care of it, because the survival of the land meant survival for them. The museum as a whole explored the early relationships of man within nature, focuses on the aspects of how they benefited from the land without destroying it. As I went through the museum, it was prevalent that a time progressed, human's interactions with nature became more and more negative. This made me feel really sad and guilty, as I am in the generation that is killing the environment. At the end of the Florida Fossils exhibit was a wall full of pictures of endangered species, follow by an excerpt depicting the "Sixth Mass extinction" aka the era we currently live in. This hit home, as it listed dozens of native Florida species that we are killing slowly. Over 99% of Earths species are extinct, and this issue is only posing greater threats to our future. Other people found the joy and the heartbreak within the exhibits, just like I did. I talked to another girl and we discussed how many species have gone extinct, and how the problem is only continuing within this time period. I felt a deep connection within nature during these exhibits. I was able to read, and learn more about hundreds of species, and learn facts I had never known before. This allowed me to have a greater understanding of nature as a whole complex being and how it works. When the end of the "Sixth Mass Extinction" excerpt said "Will the endangered species pictured in this gallery disappear in your lifetime?" I gained a greater sense of guilt and responsibility for what is happened to the Earth around us. Only we have the power to reverse our damaging effects, and now is a time more than ever in which we need to utilize it.

Nature and the Human Spirit

The Florida Museum of Natural History allows us to step back in time and in space and look at the world around us in a light of wonder and respect. Through the Florida Fossils exhibit, we are able to step out of our ordinary lives and into the lives of those that lived millions of years ago. Through the exhibit itself, you step into an underwater world, surrounded by barnacles the size of your head and fish that span from the ceiling to the floor. This part was particularly interesting as we are able to dive, literally, into a world that isn't ours, and experience life from a perspective that isn't our own. I never thought that I would see the world from a fish's perspective on the sea floor, but that's exactly what this museum allowed me to do. This further answered questions, but proposed new ones, and made me realize that you need really know whats going on in the world, and that nature is still just as whimsical and mysterious as we might imagine. Science may be advancing, but nature still holds its secrets. Through this, we are able to gain a greater respect and admiration for nature, as we realize that we may never truly understand it, the least we can do is respect and admire it. This holds nature it a higher, mysterious power than what we can understand, and furthers the notion that we are responsible for taking care of it. Through seeing the world in eyes that are not ours, we are able to see where we are in respect to the world around us. Sometimes it takes an out-of-body experience in order to be able to truly see ourselves in the place that we belong. It is humbling to us as humans, and this notion allows us to see where we belong in nature, as a coexisting and beneficial force, that we should take care of, not destroy.
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Anaeva Nelsas

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