Florida Museum of Natural Historyby laurel emerson
(I apologize for the picture quality)
Nature on Display
The exhibit that was most appealing to me was the Florida Fossils exhibit. I have always found fossils to be fascinating, and so immediately upon entering I was engaged. The way in which the exhibit was designed was helpful to those viewing it. The animals to which the fossils belonged, were not simply described with a sketch of what they were thought to look like, but instead came to life in the arrangement of their bones in the museum. The exhibit allows you to actualize the size and shape of the animals that previously roamed in Florida. Many of these animals I did not know even existed, much less resided so close to my home.
Nature and Ethics
The exhibit that spoke to me in terms of ethics is the one pictured above. This particular exhibit took you "underwater." When reading the plaques in the exhibit, I began to see why we should not see ourselves as conquerors of land, nor sea. One plaque stated how invertebrates are important to the estuary ecosystem because they filter out many things in the water including pollutants and heavy metals. These pollutants would not be there if it were not for humans, and what do the humans do? We continue to over harvest these animals and pollute their waters. This exhibit allowed me to really connect with nature by seeing the homes of these underwater dwellers, and the potential consequences of our actions.
Nature and the Human Spirit
I have always found nature to be something that I can appreciate, but often take for granted. The Butterfly Rainforest exhibit, as well as the cocoons in the rearing lab, brought back the appreciation for nature. It was interesting to see the different types of cocoons and think that a butterfly will soon emerge. From observing the cocoons, I entered the Butterfly Rainforest and was taken aback by the beauty of not only the butterflies that flew overhead, but the landscape in which they did. The coloration of each butterfly was unique to its species, and thus created a rainbow of flying creatures. Some sat still long enough for me to snap a picture, but as I became aware of the phone in my hand, I also realized I was not paying attention to the nature. I put my phone down and drew in the serenity the Butterfly Rainforest created.