The Butterfly Rainforest exhibit was particularly appealing to me because of the openness of the display. It felt very natural, as if I was actually in a rainforest and not a museum exhibit. The bright colors all around from the vegetation and various butterflies helped to capture my attention and keep me engaged throughout my visit. Physically visiting this exhibit was an experience that cannot be cloned by a picture. Having butterflies land a foot away from you and being able to observe the details on the creatures from such a close distance allowed me to appreciate the beauty of nature that is often overlooked. This experience was enjoyable because it was unique; it is not everyday in Gainesville that you can say a butterfly landed within a foot of you.
Nature and Ethics
Fragile Wetlands Exhibit || Photo taken by Tayla Regenbaum
After visiting the Fragile Wetlands Exhibit, I see the importance of experiencing nature in ways that Leopold recommends, as members of the "biotic community" rather than as "conquers of the land." Seeing this visual representation of how humans destroy nature, whether deliberately or not, gave me a sense of awareness. Aside from this exhibit, there were many other indoor exhibits that portrayed different aspects of our earth in very realistic ways. I was in awe at the details in all the nature exhibits and could sense the astonishment in those around me as well. Everyone seemed to be silently taking in the beauty of the exhibits around them as we were give the opportunity to "love, respect, and admire" the land. Seeing the beauty this earth holds through the Natural History Museum exhibits instilled in me the will to be more selfless as a human being and protect this earth from humankind's potentially harmful effects.
Nature and the Human Spirit
Butterfly Rainforest || Photo taken by Tayla Regenbaum
Many of the exhibits such as the Butterfly Rainforest pictured above allow us to recognize the mystery and majesty of the Universe that Heschel believes is so important. The various exhibits throughout the Florida Museum of Natural History help us step out of our ordinary lives by transporting us through the different habitats and ecosystems of beautiful Earth. It is from a strong connection with nature that we learn who we truly are and take steps toward achieving the good life. Once we can put aside all distractions and appreciate the mystery and majesty of the natural world, we truly are living.