Discovering the Good Life (FLMNH Addition) By jessica lien

Nature on Display

Inside the Butterfly Rainforest

One exhibit that really piqued my interest was the Butterfly Rainforest. I am a very logical person so my initial thoughts while I was inside was about the logistics behind creating the environment and maintaining the butterfly's living conditions etc. At first I was also surprised that there were birds and other animals inside the rainforest, but then I released that their presence probably had to do with maintaining a balanced ecosystem; needless to say I was filled with thoughts and internal dialog while inside. The exhibit was particular appealing in the fact that the height of the screened ceiling was so tall, this made it possible to look up and fully appreciate the delicate movements happening above. I observed butterflies landing on flowers and the motions thy make when eating and it was a scene you had to see first hand rather than being told. Overall, the combination of the breeze whilst inside the Butterfly Rainforest with the various bright colors made the experience very enjoyable and uplifting.

Nature and Ethics

Process of Preservation

The Natural History Museum did not provide me the opportunity to experience nature in ways the Leopold recommends when he calls on us to "love" and "admire" nature rather than being "conquerers of the land". I would have believed that I did experience the museum according to Leopold if I had only been to the Butterfly Rainforest and left right after, however, this was not the case. I am not a naive child who has to be shielded from death at museums, but I did find it a little disconcerning when I found the display pictured above. I am all for learning from nature, but I did not see the need to visually demonstrate the process of butterfly preservation. Yes the butterfly has been dead, but the second step picture does project a bad feeling to its viewers, myself included. There is a scientific process that is depicted with this display, however, I see no "love" or "admiration", the only thing I see is man's "conquer[ing] of the land". This display is not an isolated example, further into the museum there are displays of conquistadors arriving and using the natives as free labor.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Bear skeleton found in Devil's Den, FL

This part of the Natural History Museum helped me step out of my ordinary life with the numerous skeletal displays. As I turned the corner into this exhibit I was only looking at the skeletons and trying to imagine seeing these animals out in the wild. This skeleton caught my eye initially due to the human-like pose using its' hind legs and it took me to another place. I began to think about how different people truly are at their core from animals. Not as much present day, or even centuries ago, people eras ago lived around these natural animals. I say natural because these animals are in raw form and have not evolved into the smaller or visually appealing descendants we know of today. Being able to see how I measured up against these natural animals was terrifying. This exhibit took me to the place of the aborigines and natives of these lands long ago and gave me a new appreciation for mankind to be able to survive so long.

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