Florida Museum of Natural History Sierra Krug, IUF 1000

Nature on Display: This experience surprised me from numerous aspects. I do not consider myself to have a particularly great interest in nature and the outdoors. So, I expected to go to the museum of natural history and learn a couple facts to jot down and move on. However, the beauty and complexity of the displays truly helped to capture my attention as I found myself immersed in elegant, graceful history of nature, wildlife, and my everyday surroundings. The butterfly exhibit, specifically, caught my attention. While bugs and nature surround us every day, it is rare to find such intricate, rare creatures flying around in their natural habitat. Rather than seeing a butterfly on a lamp post or bike rack, I got to see swarms of butterflies eating a banana or sleeping on wild flowers. It was such a beautiful sight. I think it is absolutely incredible that we have access to a museum that displays such natural beauty for us to not only see one display, but in a display of which all members can temporarily become and experience first hand. There was a specific "piece" that additionally sparked great curiosity in me. As my friend and I began to exit the exhibit we found ourselves struck in awe of a beautiful piece on the wall above us. The museum crafted an elegant work where they used materials like wood, tissue, etc. to make essentially a collage of "butterflies" and to make them appear so close together in such a great volume that it appears as if a huge swarm of these intricate creatures are flying above the onlooker. It was breathtaking and truly showed the simple, yet so intriguing nature of butterflies and nature.

Nature and Ethics: This museum definitely would have pleased Leopold as by entering each exhibit, one is ultimately immersing himself within the life of the exhibit. The greatest example, again, lies in the butterfly exhibit as humans literally enter the butterflies home and are requested not to touch anything. Therefore, we are emerging ourselves into a biotic community without exhibiting any form of control, power, or influence. Humans simply look at the beautiful surroundings and witness the beauty and grace without feeling superior to the community. We become merely onlookers in a community of biotic factors of an environment all congregated together in equality. I definitely feel closer to nature now, as if I, along with all other humans have not only an everyday opportunity, but obligation within society and nature to observe nature, to protect it to my greatest ability, and simply to appreciate it's existence and encourage its long lasting endeavor throughout the planet. Why should humans feel superior to the insects and other creatures on our planet? Every singly creature has a purpose and helps to make he natural community exist in order and peace, it is out job to maintain such peace with as little impact, leaving the smallest ecological footprint left as possible.

Nature and the Human Spirit: It is unbelievable how relaxing and almost "magical" some of these exhibits were. Walking into the Florida Museum of Natural History fully emerges one into the natural state of existence. It is shocking to see so many butterflies alive and well fluttering around the entire room of the butterfly exhibit. I was nervous about attending the museum, because like most students, I had so much work I needed to be doing that I originally, almost felt it was a waste of time to take hours out of my day to visit a museum that I wasn't even initially interested in! Yet, as I stepped through the doors of the exhibits with graceful butterflies circling my head and effortlessly floating through the "sky" I found that all my stress had slowly began to fade away. I became immersed in the beauty of the nature, the soft leaves, the intriguing flowers, the elegant butterflies; I couldn't take my eyes off of the swirling colors and majestic scenery! Stepping into an exhibit like this temporarily displaces one from the real world, and allows one to, again, temporarily relieve themselves of all stress and obligations of normal life and responsibility. This was a nice, relaxing break, and I do not regret it in the least. Sharing this experience with a friend who loves nature enriched the experience to even a greater extent. My friend Haley loves nature, and seeing her passion and spirit for the outdoors helped enhance and spark my interest in the beautiful wilderness around me. As she guided me through the true state of beauty relayed through each enthralling exhibit.

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