(Butter)flying Through the Good Life A Tour of the Florida Museum of Natural History

The Butterfly Rainforest.

Nature and the Human Spirit

The human spirit is often described as being light, colorful, and free. In many ways, the Butterfly Rainforest is a symbol of the human spirit, as it encompasses beauty and freedom. The multitude of butterflies beautifully flying around greatly symbolizes the freedom of human thought and creativity. As well, the Butterfly Rainforest perfectly captures the majesty and mystery of the natural world. The Butterly Rainforest is a unique experience where instead of viewing nature from behind a window, viewers are immersed in an environment where nature roams free. One can only truly understand nature and their influence on nature if they experience it firsthand instead of passively viewing it. For me, the exhibit allowed me to step outside of my every day life and instead see myself as a part of a larger ecosystem where everything works together in harmony to create the balance of the natural world. To me, this provided a one-of-a-kind interaction between the human spirit and the natural world, allowing ourselves to be engaged with the Butterfly Rainforest as a whole.

Florida's future. It's up to us.

Nature and Ethics

The Florida Museum of Natural History left everyone with a resounding message in their minds: Florida's natural and cultural history is to be protected and preserved at all costs. The museum allowed patrons to view cultural aspects of tribes that used to thrive throughout Florida while displaying how their culture interacted with nature and relied on natural elements to survive. At the end of the exhibit, patrons were exposed to how Florida's natural world was in danger, much like the old culture of native Floridians. As shown in the photo above, the exhibit reinforced the idea that Florida's future is up to us, whether our future will be marked with progress or the abandonment of what makes Florida beautiful and unique. The future of Florida's landscape lies in the balance, and this was a huge ethical consideration for me as I walked through the exhibit. Like others walking through the exhibit, I was made aware of the impact we have on Florida's natural world and how desperately our conservation efforts were needed. After experiencing the exhibit, I felt an ethical responsibility to take into greater consideration the consequences of my actions that the natural world faces.

A replica of a Floridan cave.

Nature on Display

The museum included many exhibits displaying the variety of nature found throughout Florida. One of these exhibits highlighted the caverns of Florida. For me, this exhibit was unusual because, despite living in Florida for most of my life, I never realized the extensiveness of Florida's caverns. Although the majority of Florida lies on top of the Florida Aquifers, a large network of underground water-filled limestone caverns, Florida is not particularly known for their caves. This exhibit was also appealing to me because I find caves to be mysteriously beautiful, as they hold a plethora of secrets inaccessible to many. As well, this exhibit included a multitude of different rock formations, each one intricate and a display of how nature can create beauty out of everything. Learning about the system of caverns through a textbook is one method, but actually stepping into a dimly lit cave surrounded by stalagmites and stalactites is a completely different, hands-on experience that allows one to view the beauty and mystery of caverns in person.

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