An Amazing and Wonderful Journey EXPERIENCE OF VISITING the Florida Museum of Natural History

Introduction & Foreshadow

The Florida Museum of Natural History is one of the most amazing museums I have ever visited. And it is the first time I visit a museum in the University of Florida and is also the second time in the United States. More importantly, there are some difference between the the Florida Museum of Natural History with the museums I have visited in different cities in China. Everything is new to me right here, so I pay full attention to each animals, plants, and insects in the museum. As I set foot in the museum, I knew a new and wonderful tour would start soon and I cannot wait.

Nature on Display

When I set foot into the Florida Museum of Natural History, I strongly feel about the atmosphere of nature. I found that the museum are designed to immerse people in nature. There are many animals, plants and insects displayed inside the museum. The first thing that catch my eyes is the Columbian Mammoth skeleton in the first gallery of the museum. It is so huge and appealing that me and friend immediately decided to take a picture with it after we saw it. The most particular and attractive part of the skeleton is the long and curved Mammoth teeth. Paleontologists uncovered this adult male mammoth skeleton from the bottom of the Aucilla River in the Florida panhandle, about a mile apart from each other. After reading the introduction, I learned that this skeleton and many other mammoth and mastodon bones came from river sediments dating 16,000-10,000 years old; the adult mammoth stood 10-13 feet at the shoulder and weighed 6-8 tones; mammoths lived in open savannas and grasslands, and ate mostly grass; mammoths are proboscideans, which includes modern and extinct elephants and their close relatives - a group of mammals with a 50-million-year fossil record. The most enjoyable part about that mammoth skeleton is taking photo with it, because I have not seen such a big skeleton in a museum for a long time. And I know it is great start for the journey!

Nature and Ethics

What Leopold believes is that conservation efforts are destined to fail unless we study to appreciate, love, respect and admire the land. All we need to do is to start viewing ourselves as members of the “biotic community” rather than as “conquers of the land”. As I went through the Natural History Museum, I indeed got the opportunity to experience nature in ways that Leopold recommends. Actually, the museum provide me with some information about the bad effect on some kinds of animals. The common ground dove is one of the examples. Common Ground dove is the smallest dove in Florida, found in variety of habitats. Feeds on ground, eating insects and seeds. Importantly, human alternations to habitat are contributing to decline of common ground dove. This case is completely opposite to the one that presented by Leopold. And what we and human need to do is to put in effort to protect the habitats of birds because both of us are members of the “biotic community”. Another example is the Brown Pelican, which often seen diving headfirst into water to capture fish in huge pouch like bill, also feeds by swimming on surface and scooping water in search of fish. Although common now, pelicans suffered widespread declines because of DDT pesticide. Same reason, same result. Because of human’s some inappropriate action, some kinds of animals are suffering disaster. So we should control our using of pesticide and utilize it appropriately in order to protect brown pelican and other kind of species. As I go through the museum, I found that the museum provide us with some actual scene of natural environment. We can see different kinds of trees, flowers, birds and insects, and we can actually hear the sound of bird’s chirp, the sound of raining and the sound of the thunderclap, all of which are so real that I feel I am walking through a big forest. When I went through those places, I feel I am communicating with nature and enjoy the company of nature. My friend Ding go with me and he felt really relaxed and comfortable in the museum, because he has long time not get in touch with the nature closely. More importantly, my experience in the museum instill in myself an ethical responsibility to nature as Leopold imagines. Because I feel that I am no longer a conquer of the land but a member of the biotic community and a friend of nature.

Nature and the Human Spirit

What Heschel believes is that we need to take time in our lives to connect to the eternal so we are able to recognize the mystery and majesty of the Universe. Importantly, by providing a large number of fossils mole, skeletons, images and text introduction, the Natural History museum enable us to step out of our ordinary lives can started to learn and realize the truths and mysteries of nature. One thing caught my eyes when I went through the museum is a text introduction. What it says is “You are what you eat”. After reading the introduction, I completely agree with it. In fact, Animals specialize in that they eat, how they gather their food, and when they collect it. Marine invertebrate communities are ideal setting s to examine this trophic specialization. Some marine organisms are active carnivores, stalking or ambushing their prey. Others are herbivores, grazing on plants. Clams and some other invertebrates filter food from water as it passes through or around their bodies. Some animals feed on dead organisms, while others eat detritus, feeding on organic debris. Those information help me better understand who we are, by telling me that the things that we eat make up our bodies and become the nutrients that we need. The information also enable me better understand the mystery and majesty of the natural world. Even though different species and animals look totally different, but all the species adhere to the principle of the nature and follow the law of natural environment.

Thank You

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