Good Life Nature Activity at FLMNH By Molly gallagher

(introduction photo credit: Marina Bolser)

Nature on Display

(photos are my own; selfie taken by Marina Bolser)

I explored the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit with my friend, Marina. The exhibit was unique in that it provided an immersive experience that allowed us to learn from nature itself. The rainforest is set up to feel like a naturally occurring habitat, giving individuals an opportunity to observe butterflies and how they interact with one another as well as their surrounding environment. I was able to see different species of butterflies up close as they ate from plates of fruit and rested on the plant life throughout the rainforest. My experience at the museum was enjoyable because i was able to learn about the natural world in an unconventional way.

Entering the exhibit opened up an entrance to a mini-world! (photo taken by me)

Nature and Ethics

After passing through the exhibit, Marina and I looked at the chrysalides and emerging butterflies in a controlled lab setting as well as the preserved butterflies in wall hangings. It led us to question what the ethical repercussions of the butterfly rainforest were. Though, the exhibit is purposeful in that it serves as an educational tool, i do not believe that the Butterfly Rainforest at the FLNHM upholds Leopold's belief that we should view ourselves as part of the “biotic community” rather than “conquers of the land.” The nature of the exhibit is entirely artificial, with the butterflies being bred with the intent of captivity. Though the environment is open and relatively representative of nature, the fact that humans are regulating the space shows a perceived hierarchical superiority of people in nature, rather than a coexistence and appreciation of the natural world. I was able to learn about different species of butterflies, however I did face an ethical dilemma. It seemed as though I was existing harmoniously with the butterflies, however, when I exited the exhibit I felt as though I was removed from the reality of the environment.

(chrysalides and preserved butterfly photos taken by me, photos i am in taken by Marina Bolser)

Nature and the Human Spirit

Appreciating Nature (left and center photo taken by me, right photo taken by Marina Bolser)

The Natural History allows us to step out of our normal lives by offering an experience which allows visitors to immerse themselves in nature. The mystery and majesty of the natural world is most apparent when you are able to see it for yourself and play a role within the environment. When walking through the Butterfly Rainforest, I easily became lost in the simulation of nature and was able to understand my relationship with the the beauty of the natural world.

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