Above is a picture of the outside of the FLMNH. You cannot see it in this picture, but as soon as I entered the museum, I had to wait in a 20 min line to get my stamp so that I could enter the butterfly exhibit. I was truly amazed by the experience that the FLMNH presented for me especially as I learned so much about nature and wildlife. Picture by Meaghan Norus.
NATURE ON DISPLAY
The museum as a whole had so many different exhibits that were all so interesting and appealing. But, my overall favorite was definitely the Butterfly exhibit. I enjoyed how I was able to actually experience real life wild life instead of just looking at pictures and reading about it. As I was walking through, there was a tour guide who was telling us about the many different native and foreign butterflies, explaining their characteristics and lifestyles. I was amazed at how many butterflies would just fly up to me and sit on my shoulder. It honestly scared me the first couple of times. I learned that many of the butterflies are actually poisonous and shipped in crates from other countries. One of the most interesting things I learned was that the UF butterflies favorite food is Gatorade (GO GATORS!). Because this experience was so hands- on, I really enjoyed it. I even got to watch a butterfly hatch!! It was shaking as it came out of it's cocoon and bam there it was! That was definitely my favorite part of the tour!
NATURE AND ETHICS
The museum was full of so many descriptive exhibits that helped me to recognize the need to "love, respect and admire the land" as Leopold said. When I first walked in, I was taken back by the huge dinosaur-like skeleton structure that stood tall in the center of the first exhibit. I then found a sign that said "Where did all the mammoths and mastodons go?". Immediately, I correlated this with the ethics and the following thoughts took over my mind: What did happen to them? How did this happen? When did this happen? By better examining the exhibit, I discovered that hunting and climate change played a major role in this. Which is honestly not much of a surprise. If we over hunt, then the we will kill off all the animals especially those who are endangered, like dinosaurs were. I really believe that every action we do as humans has a major effect on our world, especially nature. In terms of climate change, we have experiences warmer temperatures, different rainfall patterns and melting glaciers. This correlates with global warming which is defined as the result of poor atmospheric conditions. Realizing and understanding the direct effect these conditions have had on nature, especially dinosaurs has allowed me to better understand what Leopold meant when saying that we must help and not conquer our fellow cohabitants.
NATURE AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT
Wild-life is truly so beneficial for human life, but I have never appreciated it like I should. Since I went to the museum, I now better understand this and will do my best to better appreciate nature, especially here on campus. I think that sitting outside on a nice day and doing homework can be so beneficial to one's human spirit and mental spirit. When exploring the museum, I found the below exhibit. By looking at it, you can tell that it is a group of people living in a village like setting. The young boy is using his hands to catch a fish, the little girl is sitting on the ground and just enjoying her surroundings. While it is obvious these people are going about their daily lives, it is also observable that they are able to truly enjoy the nature. I think this leads them to find happiness, or even seek the Good Life. From the entire experience of the museum, I know believe that my whole and simple life can be connected to nature in one way or another.