Good Life Tour of the Florida Museum of Natural History By riley bailey
Nature on Display
The butterfly rain forest enclosure was an enjoyable and beautiful exhibit to learn not only about butterflies; but also the work of those whose job it is to research nature. An opened aired enclosure filled with exotic butterflies from all over the world, the butterfly rain forest was clearly the main attraction of the Natural History Museum and was an awe inspiring experience. Even more appealing, were the cases of thousands of taxidermy butterflies separated by world regions outside the enclosure. The sheer number and variations of the butterflies was magnificent and illustrated the power and beauty of the processes of biological variation and genetic development. It was interesting to try to discern why butterflies from one region were different from those from another. Without viewing this collection in its entirety I would have never truly gasped the genetic variance of the butterfly species. My favorite aspect of the exhibit was the above quote in a section on Monarch butterflies. The fact that the butterflies are genetically disposed to travel thousands of miles to a place they have never been to was really inspiring and a fact that I will remember for a long time. This pilgrimage to the breeding grounds is the sole goal of the butterflies life, an aspect that makes me wonder how these creatures think, prepare, and feel through an epic journey of massive proportions. Seeing the large amount of butterflies in the enclosure and learning about the monarch butterfly migrations, makes me want to visit the breeding grounds of the monarch to see millions of butterflies at one time; what would be a massively awe inducing display of nature.
Nature and Ethics
Human beings are apart of the natural environment around us; however, our urbanization and societal organization also makes us think that we are separate from, a condition that can explain the general apathy many people have to nature's preservation and survival. This relates to Leopold's claim that we are apart of the "biotic community" and not "conquers of the land." Several displays at the Florida Museum of Natural History drove home this connection human beings have to nature; but the most effective were a wall of quotes about nature and an exhibit about extinctions. The wall of quotes, ranging from famous evolutionist Charles Darwin to the Bible, greatly emphasized how prevalent nature has been to the development of human though, faith, and emotions. The fact the museum reserved a section room for the wall highlighted the importance this connection and impact that nature has had on the human race. The exhibit on extinction had a dire warning, when human beings disregard this connection and influential role of nature and act as "conquers of the land", nature's chances for variation, preservation, and survival greatly diminish. While these exhibits and the beauty of the butterfly enclosure made me appreciate the importance and sanctity of nature, I did not feel the "love, respect, and admiration" of nature that Leopold references. The museum presented nature whereas I believe the beauty and point of nature is that it occurs naturally. Thus, to feel truly and religiously awed by nature in the manner that Leopold stresses will create the respect needed to persevere nature, I need to observe nature in nature, the environment as it occurs without interference. When this occurs, the beauty and power of nature presents itself in its purest form.