Art with Wings By: Hope Molinelli

Nature on Display

-This is a picture of the entrance to the exhibit on the left, and the two pictures on the right are of butterflies perched on top of brightly colored flowers. The one on the far right was in the process of fluttering its wings when I chose to take the picture.
-The picture on the left is of an informational sign put in place by the zoo to talk about the butterflies need to drink. The picture in the middle is of the water environment in the center of the exhibit where the butterflies love to go and fly over. The picture on the right is of a booklet that includes all of the types of butterflies in the exhibit and more information about them.

I chose the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit because I have heard numerous people who have taken a trip there and absolutely loved their experience. I knew that I had to go to the exhibit as soon as I could and witness all of the butterflies. When I walked into the exhibit, I couldn't stop smiling. There is this moment when you walk from a crowded air-conditioned room into a hot, noisy nature environment where you experience a complete overflow of all of your senses. Walking into the exhibit, I was immediately in awe by the abundance of greenery and plant life that reached almost the top of the butterfly enclosure. The people at the museum truly made a scenic exhibit that made you feel as if you were in the rainforest itself. There was the sound of trickling water from what I assumed was a waterfall somewhere and there was a hot, dry wind wrapped all around me. I found the design and layout of this exhibit extremely appealing because upon immediate entry, you feel yourself connected with nature with the abundance of wildlife and colorful visual stimuli from all of the blooming flowers and trees surrounding you. The exhibit captured my attention because while I spent an hour inside of it, examining all of the butterflies and taking my snapshots of them, not once did I think of the inside world, I was completely immersed in nature and I was having an amazing time. During my stay, I was able to learn many things not only about butterflies and their abilities, but I also learned much about nature itself and its impact on us. I learned that nature truly possess this ability to make us think about the world around us and who exactly we share it with. The little flying critters that I examined at the museum were just one species among thousands that we share this world with. I also learned that nature, once fully immersed within it, has the ability to make you appreciate it and look at it from an entirely new perspective than just walking by one on your way to school or work one day. It is truly interesting to see this power that nature seems to hold on everyone. My experience at the museum was enjoyable because I was able to witness the environment that butterflies call their homes and I was able to spend an hour away from my everyday life and just be one with nature.

Nature and Ethics

-These are snapshots of butterflies that I was lucky enough to take during my stay at the museum. And the right picture is one of me!
-The picture on the left is of a butterfly that landed on one of the people also enjoying the exhibit. The picture in the middle is one of a butterfly that only a couple of people noticed in the exhibit, including me! The picture on the right is of the same butterfly but with its bright blue wings open.

Visiting this exhibit provided me with the opportunity to experience nature in ways that I never thought I could. There is something about being surrounded by trees, not seeing a door in sight, that has the ability to completely change our perspectives on the things that we are seeing. We aren't fast-walking down a street to get to a destination or arrive on time somewhere, in fact, we stop and take a long moment to look at the world around us and question its purpose and admire its beauty. Nature has this power over us when we are fully immersed in it and I was able to experience this during my visit to the butterfly exhibit. During my stay, I found myself completely spellbound by the butterflies and their environment that I thought more about their species and how they are faring in the real world today. It made me feel connected to them since I was sharing their environment at the time. Every time I spotted a butterfly perched on a flower, I found myself enthralled as I just stood there, watching it for a couple long seconds, waiting for it to do something. I admired it from a distance because I did not want to get too close and frighten it and I appreciated it from that respectable distance much more. The other people in the exhibit were just as piqued with curiosity as I was going through it and witnessing the butterflies. They all repeated the same actions as I where they stopped to examine a butterfly from a respectable distance. I saw so many smiles that day and realized that people were so happy to be immersed in nature, whether it was the sight of the butterflies, the wildlife surrounding them or just the fact that they were away from their normal lives for a brief time. It was truly amazing to witness. The exhibit gave this people, including me, the opportunity to enter through a door that would not take them to another part of a building, into their workplace or their houses, but into an environment that would cause them to not think about anything outside of the enclosure and just focus on the nature around them. My experience definitely made me rethink my role in this society and what I can do in the position I am in now to promote the protection of wildlife like the butterflies. My experience has strengthened my belief in the importance of preserving wildlife and protecting the areas that many animals call their home and now I hope to advocate this importance to anyone willing to listen because there are millions of other species that share this world with us and they are important to.

Nature and the Human Spirit

-These are more snapshots of butterflies that I was lucky enough to take during my stay at the museum. The picture on the right is of me after leaving the exhibit.

Nature has this unique ability to draw us away from our everyday lives. Nature consists of so many elements and it is always changing. Most of us are surrounded by this worlds that rarely ever change, like our work lives or family lives. The many elements of nature, once we are immersed in it, have the ability to hold us spellbound and examine all it is that we can. In this particular exhibit, I felt that so many people were tantalized by the wildlife around them because they do not experience nature in that way on an everyday basis. Everyone in the exhibit, including me, took a moment out of our busy schedules to witness nature and forget just for a brief moment about our everyday lives and instead connect with nature on a deep level. The Natural History museum contains of other exhibits that allow you to do this exact thing because it is that special moment of being in nature at a museum where just a step outside and the real world is waiting that people find themselves craving from time to time. Walking through this exhibits and witnessing nature allows us to better understand what we are and where we fit into the grand scheme of things. We find ourselves asking ourselves questions about nature and the things we are seeing, not ever having witnessing them before but realizing just how beautiful and spectacular some of these sights can be. On an everyday basis, we rarely see things that prompt us to be curious and stop and take a moment to just think about ourselves and the world around us. History museum exhibits, like the nature butterfly rainforest exhibit, have these unique abilities, because many people realize during their stay that the beautiful wildlife they see is out there and it is has always been out there but time has somehow purged that realization from our minds. It also makes us realize that there is more stuff out there that we have yet to discover and that there is so much beauty in the world if we just take the time to stop and look.

All photos in this Spark story were taken by me!

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