My Experience through the Florida Museum of Natural History Mackenzie pierce

The Florida Museum of Natural Art was breathtaking, particularly the butterfly garden. When I went had the opportunity to talk to a few employees about the butterflies and how things are done around the museum. I am excited to share my experience with you.

I found the design of the butterfly exhibit very appealing because when you walk in it doesn't even feel like you are in a museum anymore. There are so many plants and flowers that it seems like you are actually in nature. The amount of green vegetation and blossoming flowers really caught my attention. Every where I looked was covered in green. There were even waterfalls and small ponds full of fish. Through this exhibit I learned that nature can still occur in controlled environments, which was surprising to me. The birds flying around seemed calm and accustomed to their environment, none of them appeared distressed. I found this exhibit enjoyable because it was very calming inside, everyone was appreciating the beauty and in awe of the butterflies. It was peaceful and relaxing to me.

I think the Natural History Museum gave me an opportunity to “love, respect, and admire” the land the way that Leopold recommends. I had a sense of peace as I traveled through the museum, particularly the butterfly garden. I thought that the butterflies were beautiful. Everyone around me seemed to really enjoy the exhibit as well, it looked like there was a class there on a field trip. All of the kids were amazed by the butterflies and seemed truly happy. On my way out of the exhibit, one of the employees stopped me and asked me if I wanted to stay for the butterfly release. I asked her a few questions and eventually found out that caterpillars are not kept in the garden, the museum gets shipped cocooned caterpillars that they then release into the museum. This made me think that maybe the exhibit is not so natural. Above are pictures of the cocoons that the museum is growing outside of the butterfly garden. So, I am conflicted as to whether or not the museum upholds the ethical responsibility to nature as Leopold imagined.

The Natural History Museum helps us to step out of our normal lives by putting a lot of nature that we see everyday into one place. By doing this we can appreciate its beauty instead of taking it for granted. It helped me appreciate nature more because I noticed things about a few different butterflies that I don't think I would have noticed if I had seen them in their natural habitat. For instance, the picture on the left shows four of the same butterflies, the one with it's wings spread open looks very different from the others. This is because when their wings are closed they are brown in order to blend in with nature, but when they fly and spread their wings you can see their true beauty. The butterfly on the right also has a camouflage it uses to protect itself- the top of it's wings looks like a snake in order to scare off predators. Taking the time to observe these things made me really appreciate the mystery and majesty of the natural world.

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