Florida Museum of National History Thomas Bettor

NATURE ON DISPLAY: As I went through the Age of the Mammals part of the exhibit I was absolutely astounded as to just how far back mammals date back to. It really puts into perspective human life, and how we are just a small period of time in the grand old universe which is billions of years old. We can go in order of the periods and start off with the Cretaceous Period which was 65 million years ago. Here we lost our last dinosaurs, but mammals in general survived a mass extinction caused by an asteroid. What caught my attention was that in each different period mammals have evolved and we have seen some sort of growth or adaptation to life needed for advancement. Next was the Permian Period where mammal-like reptiles dominated land ecosystems and we lost about 95% of the life that was on Earth. Again, this causes you to stop and think as to just how large the scale of our universe is. The last periods depicted were the Devonian, Ordovician, and Cambrian periods which were 375, 450, and 505 years ago, respectively. It is actually mind-boggling to me to read about and have samples of periods this long ago and get a feel for what it was like on Earth way back when. I also thought those who designed this area of the exhibit did a very nice job because it was indeed aesthetically pleasing and attention grabbing. This was without a doubt one of my favorite parts of the museum, due to the authenticity and background behind these periods, and I would definitely love to see it again next time I visit.

Bettor, Thomas. "The Age of Mammals". Florida Museum of Natural History.2017.JPEG

NATURE AND ETHICS: There is no question in my mind after visiting the museum that my views on nature have been changed and I found a finer appreciation for the subtleties of nature. Leopold calls on us to “love, respect, and admire” the land, and I can honestly say my views have come closer to this ideal laid out by Leopold after my visit, in particular at the Butterfly Exhibit. Right when you walk in, you get hit with a very fresh aroma and then you take a path filled with beautiful scenery and having each of the five senses tapped and brought out. Talking about not only the Butterfly exhibits, but all exhibits, you could definitely see a genuine reaction of joy on people's faces as they admire what they see and are analyzing. It was indeed refreshing to see such youth at the museum. I think it is tremendous for kids to develop an appreciation for nature at an early age as it will broaden their horizons and force them to be aware of sustaining the environment. I whole-heartedly believe the Natural History Museum provided me the opportunity to experience nature in ways that Leopold recommends as it brought out a more intriguing part of me where I am interested in the details of nature in general. After visiting, I do feel an ethical responsibility to uphold Leopold's values and do whatever I can to protect and enjoy nature as a whole.

Bettor, Thomas. "The Butterfly Exhibit". Florida Museum of Natural History.2017.JPEG

NATURE AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT: As Heschel believes we need to take time in our daily lives to connect to the eternal so we can recognize the mystery and majesty of the Universe, I absolutely stand by what he is saying. The National History Museum makes us come out of our ordinary lives because not very often do people nowadays take the time to appreciate nature and reflect on the ideals we should be held to, in order to protect and appreciate the land. I think by far the biggest fact the museum makes me realize is just how old we are as a universe and truly how majestic our natural world is. For example, above is myself taking a picture in front of the Columbian Mammoth which is the kind of huge animal I am not used to seeing at all. In my opinion, this animal is very awe-inspiring. The Columbian Mammoth stands 10-13 feet tall and weighs on average from 6 to 8 tons which is incredible. Mammoths have been around for 1.8 million years which I feel again speaks to the grand nature of our land. All this makes me ponder about how just how short our time as humans really is on Earth, and this museum has highlighted this fact to me which has made me want to cherish the time we have and live life to the fullest. It does sound cliche, but it is the honest truth and this museum has enhanced my perspective and made me want to strive to embark on more journeys in nature so I can appreciate the finer things in life and the majesty of our natural world.

Columbian Mammoth. N.d. Fossil.Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL

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