FLMNH Spark Story Nicola Martens

Nature on Display

My favorite exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History was the cave exhibit. Caves are interesting because you have to give up your most precious sense-- sight. Virtually all animals on Earth's surface rely heavily on sight to survive. Cave animals, such as bats, have adapted over generations to better use their other senses, such as sound and smell. Recently, I filled out a prescription for glasses because my sight has deteriorated over the years. It was scary to realize that I could no longer see as far away as I once did, and even people who call out to me from across Turlington plaza are just ambiguous, faceless shapes. For an entire ecosystem to have no need for sight is fascinating to me. During my trip through the exhibit, I learned that cave-dwelling animals are usually colorless, due to the lack of sunlight.

Cave exhibit

Nature and Ethics

Leopold believes that the land deserves just as much respect as any of us. Branching off of that, animals deserve that same respect as well. Every day, more and more species are becoming extinct. Just like respecting the land that we live on, we should respect the animals that we share that land with. The American Mastodon has been extinct for thousands of years, and even though humans were not the cause of that extinction, this prehistoric creature serves as an example of Earth's creations. This Mastodon once walked around Florida just like we do now, ate the same plants as us, and shared the same land as us. Who are we to judge other creatures? How can we assert that our species dominates the Mastodons? Sure, humans are still around today, but Mastodons were certainly around before we were. Animals and prehistoric creatures have shaped our history as humans. Similarly, our environment has supported all of its creatures. Instead of demolishing it, paving over it, and destroying it, we should respect the natural beauty that surrounds us and all of the animals that we share it with.

American Mastodon exhibit

Nature and the Human Spirit

Heschel believes 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. How does the Natural History museum help us step out of our ordinary lives? How does it help us better understand who we are and better appreciate the mystery and majesty of the natural world?

One way to analyze and connect with our roots is to understand where we all came from. I am a blonde, blue-eyed caucasian with an Anglo-Saxon background. My family originated specifically in the southern region of England. My best friend's heritage comes from the Philippines, and she has long black hair and dark brown eyes. However, both of our families originated the same way thousands of years ago. Hunters and gatherers existed in all parts of the world and used the nature that they were placed in to shape their history. My ancestors hunted meat native to Europe, while my friend's ancestors relied heavily on a fish diet. My family had to learn how to cross mountains, while my friend's family had to learn how to swim across oceans. The nature our ancestors used helps define what we look like and how we act today. My dad once told me that those who fail to look back through history will never be able to look forward into the future. The Tribal exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History showed a fascinating display of the native americans of Fort Walton, Florida. These natives never had to learn how to cross mountains, but definitely learned how to ride horses. More people should learn about their family history in order to learn more about themselves.

Tribal Exhibit

Martens, Nicola. "Cave Exhibit." 2017. JPEG file.

Martens, Nicola. "American Mastodon." 2017. JPEG file.

Martens, Nicola. "Tribal Exhibit." 2017. JPEG file.


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