NATURE ACTIVITY AT FLMNH Adam Haubenstock

INTRODUCTION

On January 7th, 2017, I visited the Florida Museum of Natural History. Most of the organisms on display I had seen previously, but to my surprise I was still taken aback by the grandeur of the exhibits. The first thing to catch my eye was the enormous skeleton of a Colombian Mammoth. Clearly the people who organized the museum knew what they were doing because putting that display in the very front made exploring the rest of the museum irresistible.

Photographs by Adam Haubenstock; Taken on January 7th, 2017 at FLMNH.

NATURE ON DISPLAY

carcharocles megalodon

This exhibit was appealing simply because of its spectacular size. To put it into perspective, I could stand up completely inside this megalodon's mouth. I particularly like the way this display was designed because it allows viewers to directly compare the various sizes of the mouths of different species of megalodon. In fact, sitting just left of the huge mouth is the much tinier mouth of a close relative.

Physically going to the museum helped me understand the relationships between species better. Until I saw an exhibit like this in person I had trouble grasping the sheer splendor it has. Another thing that the museum showed me was how drastically the biosphere changes over time: this species of megalodon and many other large animals used to roam the Earth long before us humans but were reduced to bones in a period of time that is relatively short compared to the Earth's age.

NATURE AND ETHICS

butterfly rainforest exhibit

Visiting a live exhibit such as the butterfly rainforest exhibit gave me a sense of coexistence with the animals and plants as opposed to a feeling of dominance and ownership. Such a value I normally try to uphold in respecting nature and its presence in my life. What came to mind when touring the museum was the level of apathy and disregard for nature that we humans have historically had.

It is necessary to reduce waste and be more aware of what we are doing and what organisms we are affecting when we cut down trees to make way for new developments. I am glad to say that I felt a sense of duty to do my part in preventing the destruction of nature prior to visiting the museum, but seeing the beautiful displays presented me an ideal that strengthened my care for nature even further.

I thoroughly enjoyed the butterfly rainforest for its ability to allow people to deeply connect with nature through reflecting on its beauty. Being able to walk up to exotic-looking birds and magnificent plants generates a longing for more scenery like it.

NATURE AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT

butterfly rainforest exhibit

Entering the museum was like entering a new little world where time stopped at different periods in different rooms. Once inside, it was very easy to focus on learning about and experiencing nature's creations. During any normal day, there are so many distractions all over the place that keep us from taking time to find beauty in life. As a result, it is often hard to appreciate the things we are given and the world we live in.

The butterfly rainforest does a fantastic job of densely packing so many wonders of nature into such a small place that not being breath-taken is a difficult undertaking. When reflecting on my experience at the exhibit, I realized that we are normally so far removed from nature that it seems like we come from and belong in civilization and buildings, yet in reality, a setting of soil and plants and animals is our original home. To neglect that is to fight our nature. Not only should we be well aware that we once resided in the wilderness, I think it important to occasionally visit these kinds of places and gain a lasting appreciation for how far we have come and where we came from.

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