My Visit at The Florida Museum of Natural History by shea hogan

Nature on Display - I found the Butterfly Rainforest to be an extraordinary exhibit featured at this museum because it was one in which you could learn about the lives of a species while being completely immersed into their exact environment. The Butterfly Rainforest was set up so it felt like you were walking through the forests of South America. The exhibit had tons and tons of butterflies on display, in which you could get in arm's length and be able to spot it's coloration, wing shape, size, and more important qualities. The pond, waterfall, various plants and flowers, and tall trees made it much easier to imagine how butterflies thrive in such a climate because you were actually physically in that place. Had I just read a bunch of descriptions describing the rainforest and seen pictures of them, I would never be able to paint as vivid as a picture in my imagination as this exhibit did for me in reality. From this specific exhibit, I learned about the different types of butterflies, how to spot a particular one out from the description book left out for visitors of the Rainforest, and about their feeding, flight, feeding, and drinking. This experience at the museum was one that I won't forget, especially because it was such an amazing sight to see!

Hogan, Shea. Butterfly Exhibit Photos. 2017. The Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville. All photos taken by Shea Hogan, courtesy of The Florida Museum of Natural

Nature and Ethics - I believe the exhibit that related most to Leopold's ideals and beliefs was the one referred to as "Our Energy Future". This exhibit described the dangers that our environment faces everyday in regard to the way we as humans destroy and abuse it. Rather than exploit all it has to offer, we need to begin to love and cherish it's value before it is too late and all of the nonrenewable resources that we use so carelessly are forever gone. After reading an informational poster about how Florida is one of the top energy users in the United States, I began to actually see just how possible it is for us to change our way of living by going more green. For example, this exhibit provided many actions us, as a society, can take. These include: eating local foods (shown in the top right photo), biking more which exposes the atmosphere to less CO2 from cars, using less energy in home appliances, and more helpful approaches. I felt as though I could really make a difference if I follow through with these courses of actions and persuade my friends and family to do the same. After all, every idea begins with one person. Others in this exhibit with me, specifically a little boy and his father, were just as shocked as me to learn about the dangerous position our environment is in. The little boy even showed fear to his father, asking if everything will be "okay when he is a grown up". Overall, this exhibit allowed for visitors to make a deeper and more personal connection to the environment, and nature as a whole, but instilling an ethical responsibility to take care of this beautiful world of ours.

Hogan, Shea. Our Energy Future Exhibit Photos. 2017. The Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville. All photos taken by Shea Hogan, courtesy of The Florida Museum of Natural

Nature and the Human Spirit - The South Florida and Northwest Florida exhibits at the museum were ones that would force visitors to step away from their lives, take a step back to look into history, and appreciate the mysterious past of our ancestors, while imagining the possibilities of our future. From looking at the various ways in which they would hunt, collect, and make food to seeing what they wore on an everyday basis, I received a better understanding of how we, as humans, evolved into the amazing species we are today. Every idea starts with an even smaller idea, and then develops into something that can change the way we live forever. In the South Florida section, I found a captivating poster that explained how our ancestors settled here around 12,000 years ago, which is still 6,000 years before the gulf coast was formed! How they made a life and utilized what little tools they had millenniums ago is truly a mystery that this museum seeks to understand a little more.

Hogan, Shea. South/Northwest Exhibit Photos. 2017. The Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville. All photos taken by Shea Hogan, courtesy of The Florida Museum of Natural

Here are some more pictures from my day at The Florida Museum of Natural History!

Hogan, Shea. Miscellaneous Photos. 2017. The Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville. All photos taken by Shea Hogan, courtesy of The Florida Museum of Natural

Credits:

All photos taken by Shea Hogan, courtesy of The Florida Museum of Natural History.

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