Good Life Nature Activity By Chait Singh

When exploring the various parts of the Florida Natural Museum of History, 2 parts piqued my interest the most: the area of flora and fauna of Florida, as well as the section featuring Native American life and artifacts. These sections seemed to encompass Nature on Display, Nature and Ethics, and Nature the Human Spirit quite well.

Nature on Display

Picture 1: Me pictured with an enlarged version of a carnivorous plant, the pitfall trap. Picture 2: A display of commensal species in Florida

While going through this section, many parts of it amazed me. Plants and animals that no longer exist were on display, and had me thinking about the role evolution played to shape today's ecology.

Some displays were interactive, allowing viewers to click buttons and hear the sounds of certain birds that are native to Florida. This, I believe, enhanced my experience. Though just a minor part, it brings the exhibition to life.

The harmonious nature of the environment was also showcased at the museum. One section, focused on commensal species of plants and animals in Florida. The display was not very large, however it served to highlight the equilibrium that is found in nature. Though we may not think about it often, it is these symbiotic relationships that shape the ecology that surrounds us.

Nature and Ethics

An informative board, detailing the importance of bog preservation.

I personally believe that we as humans have an ethical obligation to protect and preserve our environment in whatever way possible. The displays, such as the one pictured, only confirmed this belief. Many of the displays that included depictions of plants and animals highlighted the beauty that can be found in nature, thus furthering my passion for ecological preservation.

Though bogs are a large part of Florida's environment, many times we don't realize the importance of them as an ecosystem. This may be because they are not the most aesthetically pleasing environments. Despite that, I believe they hold a lot of beauty, just because of their ability to sustain so many organisms. The included visual about bogs changed my perspective to this, from one that didn't care much about these environments initially.

Nature and the human spirit

Top Left: Importance of various stones are detailed. Top Right: various arrowheads collected from all parts of Florida are displayed. Bottom: a depiction of Native American customs and gatherings.

Nature and the human spirit are certainly two very intertwined ideas. In today's technologically advanced world, it's easy to forget about the importance and beauty of nature, and the way it can profoundly impact us. I personally love nature, and love being outside. There's something about the harmony of the plants, animals, and abiotic factors that inspire a sense of inner peace.

Native Americans seemed to put a lot of emphasis on nature being intertwined with the human spirit. Many Native societies settled in areas where they could be one with nature, such as by rivers and lakes. They always utilized what nature offered them. Rivers were used extensively as a means of transportation. Rocks and minerals were turned into weaponry, pipes, and decorative objects, as displayed above. Even the forms of currency came directly from nature: marine shells, shell beads, pearls, and shark tooth ornaments.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this experience. I love going to museums; it almost wasn't even a project for me. This, however, was different for me, as I usually go to museums with art galleries. The change in scenery was a breath of fresh air. It only confirmed my appreciation for nature, and what the Earth has to offer.

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