I am so glad I had the opportunity to visit the Florida Museum of Natural History and immerse myself in the beautiful nature exhibits. I love plants and the outdoors so it was a great time for me. I learned so much about the beautiful Florida ecosystem!
Nature on Display
The exhibit that most captured my attention was a display which showed and explained many of the coastal ecosystems in Florida. I enjoyed it because I had the opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna, geological processes, etc. closer to where I grew up (Sarasota, which is on the gulf coast, which includes Siesta Key, a barrier island), as well as learn about ecosystems closer to where I live now, here in Gainesville. I also just enjoyed looking at the scene in front of me; the display was beautiful and intricately detailed, as well as life-like. Using a display to depict the information given in the panels allowed for a more intimate learning experience. For example, I learned that barrier islands protect the mainland against hurricanes and wave action.
Me before I realized the lights were changing colors (Allison Welch 1/17/17)
Me after I realized the lights were changing colors (Allison Welch 1/17/17)
Nature and Ethics
One of the exhibits I genuinely enjoyed was this enclave full of these quotes from major scientists, politicians, etc. carved in glass. As an environmentalist, many of the quotes about preserving our Earth deeply resonated with me. I’m interested in studying the Earth’s physical processes and just gaining a general understanding of how ecosystems and geological activity works. The quotes provided insight from perspectives I don’t encounter every day, which ultimately broadened my understanding of my own quest for knowledge. There were also quotes regarding scientific principles from people I wouldn’t necessarily expect, like Pope John Paul II. I believe this exhibit serves as a source of environmental, as well as scientific, conscientiousness, as it provides specific viewpoints from distinguished figures. In a time in modern history in which science is under incredible scrutiny, this exhibit was comforting.
Another aspect of Environmental Ethics that the museum explored was early man’s historic role in shaping the earth and individual ecosystems. There was one exhibit specifically that caught my attention, which described how prehistoric humans fished for food and disposed of the waste. The modest human population took a toll on the fish populations, but nowhere near the catastrophic effect modern mass fishing has had on marine ecosystems. The way the people piled up their empty shells in mounds beneath their homes also give clues as to how they lived, what they ate, etc.
Me with my butterfly pal. We're very close. (Allison Welch 1/17/17)
Up close shot of butterfly pal (Allison Welch 1/17/17)
Header - Allison Welch 1/17/17
Nature and the Human Spirit
I’m pretty sure the butterfly exhibit is everyone’s favorite exhibit. Personally, I don’t regularly interact with butterflies in my daily life, so to see so many fluttering about me was a truly enchanting experience. The live exhibit allowed me to connect with nature in a way that I don’t usually on campus. The butterflies were a unique source of beauty completely different from anything in the human, material world. I think that is what makes it so beautiful and so enrapturing; it is something we cannot attain. “Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein.