FLMNH By Erin Donovan

The Florida Museum of Natural History is filled with many fun and interesting things, one being the butterfly rain forest. I went in the morning which is when all the butterflies are flying around searching for the sun. It was very beautiful and I was so excited when one of the butterflies landed on my leg. The bananas and grapefruit scattered around the enclosure seemed a little strange, but the butterflies seemed to enjoy them. There were so many pinned butterflies and it was strange to see how they did it. After the butterflies I went to go see the part of the museum with the fossils of animals. The gigantic sloths and gator fossils were the best. Who knew sloths could be that big. The gator was fascinating because they have barely changed over so much time. All in all it was a pleasure to go.

In the butterfly enclosure, a butterfly is on my leg

The exhibit that was particularly appealing to me was the part of the butterfly museum that has the cocoons. There were some butterflies that were drying their wings while resting on the cocoons they had just come out of. One of the butterflies was on the bottom of the little clear box and it looked like it had just come out because its wings were soaked. At first I thought it was dying because it was on its back. Slowly, it started to turn over and the wings did start to become more dry. I found this exhibit appealing because you were able to see the different stages of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. My attention was captured because you hardly ever see so many cocoons or butterflies just coming out of them. I had caterpillars when I was very young and my parents and I watched them turn into butterflies so in a way it reminded me of childhood. In another medium, such as growing them in your backyard, there is only one species of butterfly and less information of what is happening to the butterflies. In the museum you were able to learn everything about the hatching process and there were so many different kinds of butterflies and the cocoons differed greatly from each other. I very much enjoyed seeing the soaked butterfly dry its wings. I don't think I had ever seen it before and it was very enthralling.

Buttery museum with cocoons and newly formed butterflies

The Natural History Museum allowed me to explore what Leopold recommends because it teaches people all about nature. There were people pining butterflies, an area about Native Americans and an area that talked about conservation of energy. All these parts of the museum educate people on the environment and history and teaches how to “love, respect, and admire” our surroundings. I felt happy because seeing butterflies makes me happy and in awe by many facts I read around the rest of the museum. I thought about the effect of people have on their environment and sensed that I wasn't the only one in shock. Most people around me didn't seem to have a reaction to the museum and if they did it was just a general interest. Some did point out a fact that they wanted to share with whomever they came with a smile or a frown, but that was the emotional response I would see. Visitors connected with nature by venturing out into the butterfly rain forest. There were so many butterflies flying about and I even saw one visitor with a butterfly on his face. Birds also fly around in this area and you get to see them hop around and make strange noises. I already felt some ethical responsibility to nature so the museum didn't instill it into me, but I do agree with Leopold.

Standing next to pinned butterflies, allows people to learn about the different species of butterflies to then better protect them

The Museum of Natural History allows us to step out of our daily lives in a few ways. The first way is because people don't go to a museum on a daily basis so its something different. The second way would be that museums make us think about a bigger picture. It shows many different aspects of nature and our environment. Day to day we usually think about ourselves or our close family and friends. In a museum you see animals and think of ideas of how you can help. Museums teach us about our place in the big picture. It helps us understand who we are as humans because it illustrates what our behavior does to everything else in the world. Very clearly it illustrates that the bad that we have done had greatly and negatively impacted other species. However, it also shows that we can fix what we have done and make things right again. The best part of museums is the questions that then come up about so many different aspects of the world around us. We know so little about the oceans and even the animals on land. The mystery of the world outside of our human lives is so great we can barely even fathom it. We know so little about the world we live in. We can only hope that people will continue to want to learn about it and we end up saving everything that's left.

In the butterfly enclosure appreciating the beauty and majesty of nature

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Created with images by SHAWSHANK61 - "butterfly white black"

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