The following pages explore what my visit to the Florida Museum of Natural History encapsulated.
Nature on Display
The natural history museum was great for many different reasons and I was a fan of all of the different exhibits. However, the exhibit that I would have to say was my favorite was the butterfly garden. I loved how all it is is just a caged in area that is home to an array of butterflies and different greenery and flowers. I enjoyed the fact that it was an outdoor exhibit, allowing you to be fully immersed in the nature of the setting. The exhibit initially captured my attention because it was the first thing that I saw once I walked past and checked in at the reception desk. I loved the inviting wall that directed you to the outside exhibit. It was so captivating for me because it was like you were walking into a new world, leaving the confines of the internal museum and walking out into a world of bliss. I think if this butterfly garden were not outdoors that it would not have had the same effect because it would not allow one to get a natural sense of what it is like to encounter the beauty of the butterfly.
Nature and Ethics
The thing about nature is that it is only appreciated as much as the one experiencing it is willing to appreciate it; in other words, nature is out there for all to see and yet so few people are willing to go out and soak in the beauty of the world surrounding them. As Leopold says, people are too focused on what they can get out of a piece of land, rather than focusing on what the land has to offer not from a monetary perspective or something of this sort. However, we will no longer be able to reap the benefits of the beauty of nature if we do not make an effort to conserve the land around us. It won't be until people want to just be able to "love, respect, and admire" the land around them that conservation efforts will be successful. I believe that the museum provided me the opportunity to experience nature as Leopold explains it. For example, I was able to experience the nature around us, strictly with a focal point of taking it all in, rather than looking at it with a scope of seeing how I would be able to benefit monetarily from it. As I went through the museum, it was a neat experience to be able to go through all of the different exhibits- from the frog exhibit, to the butterfly garden, to the underwater exhibit. It was great to experience a broad variety of different natural settings while being able to grow in appreciation for the world that I encounter on nearly a daily basis.
Nature and the Human Spirit
I firmly agree with Heschel when he says that we need to take time in our daily lives to connect to the eternal so we can recognize the mystery and majesty of the Universe. The Natural History Museum allows people to step out of their ordinary lives and essentially take a break from the busyness of the world we live in. The butterfly garden was incredible because of the overwhelming sense of peace and serenity that falls upon you when you are completely surrounded by the beauty of nature. It is easy to get stressed with all of the little things in life, but nature has a unique ability to calm the human spirit, allowing it to rest from the things that worry us. The museum helps us to better understand who we are because it allows us to understand the role that we have in nature; we are not supposed to approach nature with a dominating stance, rather we should approach it with awe and wonder. The museum helps us to better appreciate the mystery and the majesty of the natural world because it gives us the opportunity to focus on nothing except what we can learn from the nature in front of us. When there is nothing else to focus our attention on, it becomes easy to see just how much there is to be thankful for and to be appreciative for in nature.