Good Life Nature Activity at the Florida Museum of Natural History By: Alondra Pimentel

This is a spark story about my trip to the Florida Museum of Natural History and my walk through The Butterfly Exhibit.

Entrance to the FLMNH.

Nature on Display

The different butterflies across the world, divided by their respective region.

I've been to many museums and aquariums throughout my life and in many different cities but I believe the University of Florida's Museum of Natural History creates an environment so unique that one can't possibly forget the experience. As soon as I walked into The Butterfly Exhibit, I was immersed into their world. Although it is a manmade environment, I truly believe it captures every aspect of the natural environment for our learning experience. What appealed to me the most in this exhibit was the existence of different life in the environment to create an ecosystem. Had this exhibit been strictly one of butterflies where no other organism existed, I wouldn't have truly understood the importance of each organism in the environment. I learned that one simply cannot live without the other, we must coexist in order for life to exist. I especially loved getting to experience this environment so up close and personal, almost as if I was originally apart of it. There were so many other organisms, like birds, lizards, and even fish. It was truly an unforgettable experience.

The fish inside the water in the exhibit contributing to the ecosystem. (image by Analiese Morales)
one of the many birds flying around the exhibit.

Nature and Ethics

This museum does a very good job at creating an environment in which the visitor is immersed so profusely that they feel as if they're almost apart of it outside in nature rather than in a museum exhibit. Not only does The Butterfly Exhibit create an atmosphere that makes us feel as one with nature, but many of the other exhibits throughout the museum as well. One of my favorites was one in which they created a beach scene and placed several species of birds on display as close to their natural form as possible. I believe this museum provided me the opportunity to live as Leopold recommends as I did feel like an equal member to the biotic community that surrounded me rather than "conquerors on the land." Other people reacted similarly to the exhibits: taking pictures of all the wildlife, mesmerized by the diversity, and careful not to harm any of the wildlife as their life is just as important as ours. I believe the set up of these exhibits allow us to realize the important role we all play in the environment, furthermore allowing us to realize that we must protect it.

One of the bird exhibits in the FLMNH, featuring my favorite bird: the Anhinga.
The exhibit had an array of butterfly species to look at and learn about.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Immediately stepping into The Butterfly Exhibit, you are immersed into their world, one that we are a part of but might not realize until it is right in front of you. Inside the butterfly exhibit, there's a sense of peace and serenity that flows throughout the air created by the presence of nature -- the trees, the butterflies, the birds, the water, the fish. You step into the exhibit and truly appreciate their presence unlike what we do in our normal everyday lives. As college students, our days are so filled with classes, jobs, extracurricular activities, etc. that we sort of go about our day oblivious to what is going on around us -- it has become our ordinary life, what is normal to us. Walking into this museum, and furthermore this exhibit, truly allowed me to take a step back and truly appreciate my environment and the beauty in it rather than brushing past it. This not only allows us to better understand who we are as a person when we come to realize the peace and serenity one can simply receive from the world around us, but it allows us to better understand how we all fit together in nature, how we all coexist and contribute to the world we live in today.

Florida Museum of Natural History: 3215 Hull Rd, Gainesville, FL 32611

Created By
Alondra Pimentel
Appreciate

Credits:

Image of fish in pond by Analiese Morales via https://spark.adobe.com/page/9AUfxf2gFMCeV/ ; All other images taken by Alondra Pimentel.

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