Nature Activity: FL Museum of Natural History By: jacuqeline Mumford

Introduction The Florida Museum of Natural History is a place of knowledge and sanctuary. Each exhibit gives beautiful insight to the natural wonders and human impacts that have shaped the terrain of the state of Florida. The Butterfly Rainforest, the museum's main attraction, provides a first-hand experience to what it is like to truly connect with nature.

Nature and Ethics: This museum allowed me to view nature in the way in which Leopold suggests: with love and respect. The Butterfly Rainforest allowed me to observe these beautiful creatures in their own environment, rather than in a small cage. I loved every second of this experience. While walking through the rainforest, I felt a sense of liberty and courage emanating from the butterflies. These animals felt comfortable enough in their, synthesized, natural environment to fly freely and were courageous enough to fly so close to the humans within their homes, sometimes even landing on us. Many of the other visitors were in awe throughout the winding trails of the rainforest. Children giggled, and many adults asked the museum volunteers questions. The museum's design of the forrest allows one to connect with nature by creating a sense of full submersion into the depths of a butterfly's natural environment. My visit to the museum further encouraged me to side with Leopold on his stance that nature should be observed, not conquered. I now feel ethically responsible to protect nature as much as I would protect something that I find valuable, like my laptop. Material items can be replaced, but nature cannot, therefore I feel the need to honor Leopold's views.
Nature on Display: This is a photo of a Calusa Earthwork. I found this display particularly appealing. The life-like human figures and authenticity of the display truly gives me an insight to how native floridans lived. Although the layers of shells and sediment caught my eye, what really struck me in this display was the trueness of the straw structure that, according to this display, many natives lived in. Through this exhibit, I learned that the buildup of rock, shell, and sediment was no slow process, but took thousands and thousands of years. Through this medium, I really got a grasp for how deep the natural history of Florida's runs, and this really put into perspective how wonderful these natural structures are. The layout and wide variety of medium exhibited throughout the museum really made my experience enjoyable.
Nature and the Human Spirit: This photo encapsulates Heschel's beliefs of connecting with the majesty of the universe. The Natural History museum allows us to step out of our ordinary lives by providing sites, exhibits, and medium we would not experience otherwise. This butterfly, pictured above, for example is a natural beauty that I would have no other knowledge of, for had I not seen it first hand at the museum. This butterfly represents how massive, yet how small nature can be. Large in the sense that nature connects every individual on this earth by providing us with resources and our history. Small in the sense that, like this butterfly, nature is made up of once tiny individuals, from seeds to caterpillars to eggs to baby animals. Nature, as represented by the museum, gives us better insight to where we came from and who we are in the grand scheme of things.

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