The Butterfly Rainforest Hannah MacDonald

The butterfly garden at the Florida Museum of Natural History was a wonderful experience. The natural experiences paired with the information provided allowed me to admire nature while learning about the beauty of the butterflies. The butterfly rainforest was beautiful and informative.

I found the exhibit on butterflies temperature very appealing. I thought it was very interesting that the butterflies must not get too cold or too hot in order to survive. They cannot tolerate extreme heat or cold, so their environment must reflect a middle ground. They gave examples of specific butterflies that would not survive, and the butterflies were flying around and landing on the sign. This helped me understand the delicate nature of their life. Seeing the butterflies in person helped me understand how gentle these creatures are. The delicate balance of temperature allows me to look further into the delicate balance of their lives. I enjoyed being able to learn about the butterflies, and then see them to further understand them.

Me with the butterfly temperature sign

Part of the butterfly rainforest exhibit made me question ethical decisions. The entry to the exhibit includes a wall of dead butterflies laid with their wings showing. This made me question the ethics of studying these animals. As beautiful as these animals were to look at, they were ultimately killed for art. This made me view the exhibit as "conquering the land" as it had been altered for human enjoyment. Many other people admired the beauty of the exhibits, but only few noted that the butterflies must have been killed for the art. In contrast, the butterfly rainforest allowed visitors to connect with nature because the butterflies were flying all around. While inside, they were hung on the walls, outside they were flying through the air. Being outside with the butterflies enabled me to see nature as Leopold imagines, because I was with the butterflies, breathing the same air.

Me beside the hanging butterflies

The natural history museum helped me step out of my ordinary life and question the natural world. For example, I read about how butterflies tend to all swarm toward the same puddle after a storm. Scientists have been unable to explain this behavior or why they would do this. This made me question the butterflies behavior, and extend it to behavior in general. While we try to explain every action, some behaviors are irrational and inexplicable. This mystery helps me admire the natural world for being so vast that every facet does not have a simple explanation.

Me standing in front of the butterfly drinking exhibit

Created By
Hannah MacDonald

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