Florida Natural History Museum Spark Story Yael Diamond

Introduction: All images included in this presentation were taken by myself at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. Formally known as the Florida State Museum upon its founding in 1891, the museum was not associated with the University of Florida until 1917. Housing over one million specimens the museum is an incredible resource that we are lucky to have on our campus.

Photos from my adventures "Under the Sea"

Nature on Display: The exhibit that I found most appealing was the marine exhibit, the sensation that it created made me feel like I was really underwater. I think walking into that exhibit I was able to really imagine for a moment what it would be like to live under the sea. What made the experience so enjoyable for me was being able to see how all of the different aspects came together to form the incredibly immersive experience. From the sound of rolling waves and splashing above, to the blue and green lights that traveled across the room to mimic waves and the traveling sun, to the incredible attention to detail on all of the replicas of plant and animal life is what made this exhibit stand out most to me.

Photo taken inside the Butterfly Garden. A tour group is seen here watching a presentation. They gave me permission to photograph them for this assignment.

Nature and Ethics: The Butterfly Garden exhibit allowed me to take a step back from the toils of my everyday life and in a way enter a new planet. A planet were the butterflies had the power. With this exhibit in particular I noticed the most interesting reactions from children visiting. A museum employee is seen in the picture above taking butterflies that recently hatched from their cocoons, out of a box and showing them to the crowd. They responded with joy and laughter as they were able to witness the butterflies flap their wings and fly off for the first time. After having the ability to get so up close and personal with all of the butterflies it really made me think about the fragility of life and the careful balance we all face. At any moment we could be struck by a car or suffer from a heart attack. With these butterflies there are these massive people all over them all the time who can easily crush them by mistake. It made me think a lot about Leopold and his statements on ethical responsibility and how it is up to us to protect these animals that are not able to do so for themselves. Additionally, our reasons for helping should be based on our desire to do good, not on any economic benefit or gain.

A selfie at the entrance of the Northwest Florida: Waterways and Wildlife exhibit

Nature and the Human Spirit: I have spent most of my life living in central Florida, and yet I have not been to the northern part of the state more than a handful of times and really had not idea about the topography, the planet and animal life, or about indigenous people who once lived there. From leaving the familiar sight of grassy planes and oak trees it is incredibly refreshing to step into a totally different environment than what you are accustomed to. In the Northwest Florida: Waterways and Wildlife exhibit I was able to not only experience a new environment, but a new culture. Learning about the plant and animal species that are native to that part of Florida was very interesting and educational to me. By being able to walk through the replica they had created of the limestone cave made me think much more about my personal daily water usage and how I make an impact. I learned about the Florida Aquifer and how it is shrinking very quickly because of our enormous consumption of water. Limestone caves such as the one replicated at the museum are formed when the water disappears and leaves behind this cavern of rock. I know appreciate how important this water and the aquifer is, not just for our drinking water, but for our land as well. When these caverns become too deep and have not substance such as water in the middle to keep them up, they are susceptible to collapse. The result of these collapsed can be massive sink holes that have the ability to suck up an entire home. Instances such as these make me think more about how we are treating our environment, about the majesty and mystery that is the natural world, and about what we are obligated to do to protect it for our children.

Here I am pictured inside "The Cave" which marks the entrance to the Seepage Bog

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