The Beauty of the Natural World A visit to the Florida Musuem of Natural History by CJ Cooper

Nature on Display

I immensely enjoyed the Florida Fossils exhibit for the sheer coolness that was presented. Seeing all the different fossils, all of which were found here in Florida, was visually immersive (I was particularly fond of the enormous ground sloth). The displays presented everything ranging from ancient alligators to enormous flightless birds, all of which was spectacular in size and scale. These remnants of days long past were a great exploration experience and reminded me of the many times I visited the South Florida Museum in my youth. Being able to stop and read about the characteristics that each of these species also added some meat to the bones of the exhibit and effectively made a learning experience an enjoyable one. That's the part that I personally enjoyed the most:combining learning with a visually stunning and inspiring exhibit.

Nature and Ethics

The museum did provide a great opportunity to gain perspective on man's place with the environment. For me rather than taking the form of an exhibit solely on nature, it was through the exhibit on South Florida and the Calusa. As I went through the exhibit it became evident how "conquerors" repeatedly destroyed what they conquered, which in this case was an indian tribe. That exact relationship is what Leopold warns against in his call to arms for the environment. The downfall of the Calusa had an impact on me without a doubt, as seeing the fallout of conquering on a fellow society and group of people is much clearer than the impact of conquering on the environment. This, at least for me, illustrates the role we have in shaping the environment and the need for mankind to act as a noble guardian of nature rather than a greedy conqueror of it, as I firmly believe is our ethical obligation.

Nature and the Human Spirit

In most typical days people don't spend any time truly immersed in nature. Actually visiting a natural park or going for a walk in the forest are rarities, and I think this lack of interaction is the source of the apathy towards the many plights that the environments around us are having to face. The reason these visits are so infrequent is because it isn't easy to go to a natural place. The Natural History Museum provides a place where we can enter that natural place and step out of the humdrum of everyday life. We can forge that connection with nature without have to drive out the the middle of a forest and camp out in the woods. The museum allows us to not only visit that natural place, but to learn about the natural world. As much as I'd like to I'm not going to be able to learn much about the ancient inhabitants of Florida by wandering out in the woods. However, I can learn about them at the Museum of Natural History. These atmosphere of connection and learning at the museum is what better allows me to appreciate the wonders of the natural world.

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