Nature Activity at the Florida Museum of Natural History Sean canny

I visited the Florida Museum of Natural History on February 11th. I documented my experience there in the subsequent pages, but I wanted to lead the introduction page with one of the first things you see when you enter the museum, the rather large model mammoth fossil!


There are a number of different exhibits to choose from for 'Nature on display', but I wanted to look at the Frogs exhibit in particular. I wasn't keeping track of exactly how many species of frog were present, but there were at least over a dozen different types of frog (One is pictured above!) that one got to observe. Now certainly, these frogs aren't in their exact habitat, but I did find it particularly interesting to see them in motion and in a model of their actual habitats. The frog behind me is labeled 'Amazon Milk Frog', but it's actually named the 'Mission Gold-Eyed Tree Frog'. The idea of calling it a milk frog actually derives from a milky substance secreted by the skin of the frog when it is stressed, which thankfully, I didn't see in person.


Perhaps the most ethically questionable section of the Museum of Natural History again takes place in the Frogs exhibit. Certainly there is something to be gained educationally from the exhibit, but there is also a layer of greater entertainment. The debate rises, however, over whether or not it is just for us to be caging the frogs simply for people to be observing them. When one walks through the rest of the museum, the model versions of life certainly are accurate representations, just without movement. Yet, with the frogs section we are still caging animals for people to learn about them, which is at the very least a bit morally grey. Furthermore, in the photo I took of the section, another moral debate is brought to attention over consuming frogs as food. The sign tells us that frogs are being consumed at a faster rate than they can reproduce sometimes, meaning that for certain species of frogs, our eating them is risking their species preservation.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Easily the most 'majestic' sight of the Natural History Museum is the butterfly exhibit. In our everyday lives, we certainly see all of the individual components of the exhibit. We probably see trees and lakes everyday, as well as butterflies or flowers, but the exhibit does a very good job at placing all of these elements together to create a space that is quite frankly beautiful. With rapid industrialization and urbanization, we often don't see large spaces of just "nature", but these essentially artificial pieces of nature are representative of the history of our world, and questions as to how we lost these pieces of land are truly raised.

Sources: All photos individually taken, and are my own

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