Nature Activity at the FLMNH by Riley Bassett

Nature on Display

Frogs! A Chorus of Colors

Frogs! A Chorus of Colors is tied with the butterfly garden as my favorite exhibit. Frogs have been my favorite animal since I was a kid, so it's no surprise to me that I found this exhibit so interesting. In the exhibit there are a wide variety of frog species, from the classic, vibrant poison dart frog to the enormous African bullfrog. The exhibit taught me a lot about frogs that I didn't know already, like that the African bullfrog can weigh over four and a half pounds and is known to be cannibalistic. It can live to be forty years old and grow to be 8 inches in diameter. In addition to the live displays of frogs, there are many interactive parts of the exhibit that allow for a more hands on learning experience. I particularly enjoyed this part of this museum as it combined my childhood love of frogs with my newfound love of learning.

An African bullfrog next to my hand for perspective

Nature and Ethics

Me in the butterfly garden

Even before coming to the University of Florida, I had heard of the renowned butterfly garden, so I was very excited to finally see it for myself. Unfortunately, I went on a very cold day and the butterflies were more sluggish than usual, but I still got to see a good amount of the critters. There are signs throughout the exhibit explaining the importance of butterflies and the conservation efforts in place to protect and restore butterfly populations. Visitors are able to become fully immersed in the exhibit and interact with the butterflies; I saw one land on a child's extended finger. The butterfly exhibit gave me a feeling of moral and ethical responsibility for these insects and their habitats. With my newfound knowledge of butterflies, I will certainly advocate their survival and preservation if future events should threaten them. The exhibit allows the visitor to become immersed in nature in a positive experience, and in turn to learn about butterflies and their significance to the environment.

Nature and the Human Spirit

The Calusa Exhibit

I enjoyed how the museum incorporated Native Americans into the exhibits and stressed how they've contributed to modern society. In Florida, an enormous amount of our history pertains to Native Americans. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting something named after Native Americans, like Kissimmee, Okeechobee, Tampa, Alachua...the list is endless! This exhibit shows how Native Americans thrived with large trade networks used for hand crafted goods, food and other items. The Calusa people lived long and healthy lives. They were grateful for the lives they lived and worshiped the earth, always thankful for what it had to offer. This exhibit is incredibly humbling and reminds the viewer what one really should be thankful for, especially in today's materialistic society. The Calusa people were incredibly in touch with nature and are a pristine example of how well nature and the human spirit can coexist.

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