Nature Activity By Haley Harp

Introduction: Going to the Florida Natural History Museum allowed me an amazing opportunity to appreciate nature and reflect on myself. It also gave me some perspective on life and on how people fit into this amazing earth that we call home.

Nature on Display: I chose the butterfly garden as my exhibit because it is the truest form of nature on display. You're walking through the museum, and you stumble upon a forest! The butterfly garden is a display of beautiful trees, flowers, birds, and butterflies for all to experience and explore. From this exhibit I learned a lot more about butterflies than I was expecting to. While exploring, we found one on the sidewalk and asked the attendant whether or not it was alive. He gently picked it up and discovered that it was dead, but he used it as a teaching moment and explained to us that when a butterfly's wings are stiff, that means they are dead. He also marveled at the great condition that the wings were in. He informed us that usually, by the time a butterfly dies, its wings are mangled and useless. It seemed that the butterfly we discovered lived a full life and died in peace there. As sad as it seems, that moment was actually really awesome. We got to go a little deeper into the life cycle of the butterfly and see some real world application.
Nature and Ethics: This exhibit was a perfect example of the appreciation that Leopold says we need to practice. This sanctuary for many different organisms to thrive provided the perfect opportunity for humans to step in and experience what it's like to just be part of a "biotic community". The butterflies just float around you as if they don't realize you're there. They live and breathe in the midst of many flowering plants, trees, birds, and other butterflies. You're not made to feel big or important, but the opposite. All focus is on the environment around you in this exhibit. I really liked this in particular because I agree with Leopold. Humans have adopted this mentality that all "empty" land must be dominated and used to further human wants or desires. The butterfly rainforest is the exact opposite. It invited people in simply to enjoy and observe. It kind of puts you in your place and reminds you that you are not the only thing that lives here and that you are not the only thin that matters.
Nature and the Human Spirit: Although seemingly simple, this exhibit really did help me step out of my daily life and ease my mind. While walking through, if you close your eyes, it sounds like you are in a jungle far away. The sound is so soothing and relaxing. Like I mentioned in the previous page, exhibits like the butterfly rainforest help remind us of our place on this earth and help us put our little daily struggles into perspective. Seeing so many beautiful creatures living complex lives right alongside us made me stop and consider my own life. In the midst of this stressful time of midterms, visiting the museum was a great way to calm my mind and soothe my soul. Seeing the butterflies and how each one had an intricate design on its wings also made me stop and marvel at the majesty of the natural world. Even ones of the same species had little differences, no two were the same, but non was any less beautiful than any other. This was a cool reminder to love myself, as cheesy as it sounds. No two humans are exactly alike, but we sometimes try to say that we aren't beautiful. No one would ever say that about a butterfly, so why should we say it about ourselves? Appreciating nature in the way I did at the museum can do many wonderful things to the human spirit, and the experience can allow you to step away from the hustle and bustle of life and just relax.

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