Good Life Nature Activity at FLMNH By: Justin Horbacz

Nature on Display: My favorite exhibit by far was the butterfly rainforest. The design of this area was unique and one that I had never experienced nor seen before. Most museums I have been to have all been entirely indoor and the layout of most of them has become fairly predictable. Part of this may be from being up north and cold preventing additions like this to a museum. I believe that this design is entirely unique and should be used by more museums. This is the first exhibit I have ever visited where I was able to be a part of the exhibit. I was able to walk around a beautiful scenic path while the main attractions in the exhibit were flying all around me. This exhibit captured my attention for obvious reasons. Being outdoors on a beautiful day, walking on a scenic path with a babbling brook running underneath, magnificent butterflies navigating the skies, and coy fish in the pond are just a few aspects that grabbed my attention. Through this exhibit, I didn’t learn, but I relearned a very valuable lesson. In the butterfly room, I relearned how beautiful nature can be. In this day and age especially with people always on their devices, there aren’t many times where people truly appreciate nature’s beauty. In fact, instances like this make you feel like a kid again. Seeing how beautiful nature can be brings me back to a simpler time in life where I spent all of my days exploring and enjoying this world. This exhibit helped me relearn a very important lesson. In my time in the butterfly exhibit, I had a brief period of blissful happiness. All of my deadlines were forgotten, all of my problems didn’t exist, and I had no problems to worry about. For about 10 minutes, I was just able to enjoy nature, something I haven’t done in a long time. It made me realize how even though we get caught up in our own lives, it is important to remember to step back every once in a while and appreciate this life we’ve been given.

A couple of butterflies in the butterfly rainforest

Nature and Ethics: Leopold wants us to “love, admire, and respect” the land. After my trip to the natural history museum, I can honestly say that I experienced exactly what he wanted us to experience. There were many parts of the museum where I experienced this love and respect for the land, but the exhibit I felt the strongest sense of this was at the one exhibit that was simulating a beach scene. It has white sand, shells, a background of the ocean and it just looked beautiful and peaceful. All of my life, except for my first 2 months of existence, I have lived no less than 10 minutes from the beach. It’s where I first learned to walk, it’s where I grew up as a kid, and it’s where I spend every day in the summer, working as a lifeguard. The beach is going to mean more to me than it may to others, but this beach scene made me realize the beauty of nature. All over the country but especially in New Jersey (where I’m from) there is constant construction going on. It seems like every day, more and more nature is torn apart so that another neighborhood or another mall can be built. The one place around me that has immunity to these expansions is the beach. In this day and age, almost everybody is a conqueror of the land instead of coexisting with it. We continue to tear apart nature for our own selfish reasons. One of the many reasons I love the beach so much is because there, people and nature exist as a biotic community. It brings us closer to nature instead of tearing it apart. As I stated earlier, many people may not have the same views of me at this exhibit since most people don’t have the same background as me. Although the exhibit might not have been as significant to others, there were many other exhibits that could have reached out to its visitors. That’s another reason why I loved my visit so much; there were so many opportunities for visitors to reconnect with nature. Each room reached out to nature in a different way so that it could cater to all kinds of people, which I thought was awesome. This experience didn’t instill Leopold’s values into me, since I already carry many of them, but they did exemplify existing values. The many exhibits helped me reconnect with nature in a way I didn’t’ think would happen when I first walked in. I was reminded about how beautiful this world is and how instead of putting up another parking lot in paradise, we should be coexisting with this planet and its beauty.

Beach scene

Heschel believes that we should take time out of our everyday lives to appreciate nature and I couldn’t agree more with this statement. The visit to the Natural History museum truly helped me do this. When I first walked in to the museum, I won’t lie; I was going in strictly for a project and nothing else. Once I began to go through exhibits though, I was given the opportunity to take a step back from the craziness of everyday life and just appreciate the beauty of this world. It’s difficult to step back and appreciate life, especially at this time in a person’s life and the day and age we live in. In college, there isn’t always much free time. Sometimes, there is so much work, stress, and deadlines to make that we forget about the big picture. On top of that, today everyone has some sort of device that they are constantly hooked to. Between crazy busy schedules and, I think safe to say, and population-wide addiction to technology, hardly anyone actually takes a step back to appreciate life and its beauty. The Natural History Museum, even with all my stress and worries, allowed me to forget about all my problems and allowed me to appreciate the fact that I was alive. Over the course of my life, I’ve come to realize that many of us don’t step back and think about the preciousness of life until they’ve lost a loved one. I am just as guilty of this as the next person. For once though, it was pleasant to think about the preciousness and beauty of life in a positive light. This is one thing I’ve tried to do more often because it truly is important. Not only do you learn a lot about the world when you step back out of reality for a bit but you also learn a lot about yourself and who you are. You learn about your morals, values, and who you are as a person. Not enough people do this and it truly is a shame because the world is an amazing place.

Me th the FMLNH
Created By
Justin Horbacz

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