The Art of Nature By ryan mccane

Nature on Display: When attending the Florida Natural History Museum I got to go behind the scenes and explore the butterfly curation and collection of hundreds of thousands of different families, and species of butterflies. Although somewhat bias as I got a VIP tour of this exhibit, the Lepidoptera collection and curation section of the museum was by far my favorite. This exhibit was most appealing for me because rather than putting animals on display for entertainment of the viewers, the insects here were used scientifically for studying of each species. Such studying of these insects has lead to amazing advancements in science such as crossbreeding different families of butterflies. The curation manager of the museum hopes for one day to be able to use the DNA from insects gathered of certain (now extinct) species of Lepidoptera, and be able to reproduce and genetically recreate these butterflies to re-introduce back into their natural habitats. This Museum is one of the largest collection of butterflies, with three floors of pinned and tightly stored floors full of diverse species and families of Lepidoptera. Being able to see first hand the sheer vast quantity of different families of butterflies in person helped me understand more the vast diversity of Lepidoptera that no other medium of explanation could have. What I found most enojoyale throughout the museum was being able to intertwine my previous knowledge of Entomology and of Lepidoptera and see first hand what I have been studying all this time. Seeing as I am also in the process of creating my own insect collection for ENY 3005, the collection of Lepidoptera at the museum was a "holy grail" presentation of a collection for me.
Nature and Ethics: Although the Rainforest butterfly exhibit has butterflies captured in a small habitat for human enjoyment, there is a deeper underlying meaning that can be drawn from it. Being able to experience first hand what the environments of these butterflies consist of, seeing them thrive in an organic environment will hopefully inspire those who view them to take change in their lives to preserve everything they can/use to protect such species as butterflies. Walking through the museum I felt a sense of nostalgia, almost as I was reliving the past, with the delicate bone remains of mammoths and preserved specimens of extinct insects. Seeing these extant creatures, however, filled me with a sense of curiosity of how life once was on Earth when these creatures wandered the lands without the overbearing destruction of humans upon their habitats. Seeing as most of the other people attending the museum were under the age of five, their reactions to such exhibits were different then mine, however connectingly similar. Although when seeing the exhibits I pondered deeply in my curiosity of the great wonders of these creatures, the younger children were filled with excitement upon the site of the same exhibits. Curiosity is sparked by interest, and interest can be spotted by a feeling of joy and excitement, so one could say my experience as the museum was inherently similar to that of a small child. This museum offered a unique experience to experience nature first hand, not only did they provide information sections, but also a coinciding specimen. Being able to see first hand the creature talked about in text books or in informational handouts has far greater value than the text written on paper. Also, after you've seen a dead specimen of the creature, they even offer a live exhibit of the Lepidoptera to get a third prospective! This is truly a unique experience and a valuable technique to connect with environments that would otherwise be impossible for a student. Attending this museum was enlightening, as it provided me with a sense of responsibility for the enviroment as Leopold imagines, so that I can protect the creatures still living on Earth from ending up in museum.
Nature and the Human Spirit: On a daily basis each person often only see only one, maybe two environments/ecosystems. Being able to attend the Florida Natural History Museum allows for people to step out of their day to day ruts and experience ecosystems and creatures they otherwise would never experience. Being able to see more then one environment has a major impact on one's life, as it allows us the ability to take responsibility for our actions and see the different ecosystems we could destroy with our negligence. In my opinion, the greatest purpose of museums is to plant a seed inside each person who visits, a seed that will trigger a chain of events in cleaning up our ecosystems in which we live now in order to preserve the ones we still have. Viewing our environments is just as important as saving them, because being able to see first hand the beauty of such environments that can be so easily destroyed by the hands of humans can enlighten those to respect nature, and protect it.


All taken by Ryan McCane at University Of Florida NHM.

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