Nature and the Good Life Sydney Vaden

Nature On Display

The Butterfly Rainforest (all pictures taken by Sydney Vaden)

The Butterfly Rainforest is the most appealing exhibit at the museum to me because the design allows us to admire many species of butterflies, birds, plants, and aquatic life all in one area. The compact ecosystem almost acts a simulation of the larger ecosystem here in Florida. This representation is not something that can be conveyed in books. It is also not very common to see so many butterflies in one place outside of the exhibit, so this offers a unique experience to see a wide range of species in a short amount of time and without having to travel great distances. I found the most enjoyment out of getting to be so close to nature and come in such close contact with the flora and fauna.

Nature and Ethics

The Butterfly Rainforest (all pictures taken by Sydney Vaden)

The importance of conservation was strongly stressed throughout the entire exhibit. I was able to enjoy the presence of the various species without harming the ecosystem and any of the organisms involved. I felt like I was a small part being accepted into the world of the ecosystem as an observer rather than accepting the ecosystem as a part of my world. We were walking into a world that did not revolve around people; it was the home for all those diverse groups of animals and plants. By seeing the beauty of the diversity and delicate balance in the ecosystem, I felt more obligated to be more aware of my impact on the environment and hope for better conservation efforts for the future.

Nature and the HUman Spirit

The Butterfly Rainforest (all pictures taken by Sydney Vaden; Max Peña gave permission to use photo of him)

As previously mentioned, when stepping into the butterfly rainforest, we are stepping out a world catered to people and into the ecosystem for many species that has a delicate balance and should not be tampered with. It feels like stepping into a different realm of life not centered around busy highways, salaries, and work. It made the natural world feel harmonious and less stressful. The butterflies and other animals only are able to focus on what is currently happening in their ecosystem. I am from Ocala, a small town only about 45 minutes south of Gainesville, and have gone to the butterfly rainforest many times since I was a kid. I associate the exhibit with many happy childhood memories. The rainforest helped me feel more at ease during a time when I was feeling overwhelmed with work because it allowed me to step into a different world where I could let my mind wander and lose myself in nature while thinking back on memories. I also enjoy going with other people because I get to hear what their experience of it is and how the slight disconnection from reality makes them feel.


All photos taken by Sydney Vaden

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