FLMNH Nature Activity By: Jenna Toler

Nature on Display: As I first entered the exhibit, I walked down a darkened corridor with multiple TV screens on either side. A trail of butterflies above my head guided me through the corridor to the butterfly exhibit. At this point, I knew my journey had officially begun. The screens on either side of me displayed swarms of butterflies in their natural environment. The vibrant colors and unique patterns caught my eye as I passed by. When inside the exhibit, the collections of butterflies covered the walls all the way up to the ceiling. This caught my attention because although they were only displayed in cases, the grouping of the butterflies reminded me of how they would be in a natural habitat, swarming altogether. Before going to this exhibit, I do not know how important it was to study butterflies. The study of butterflies has told us a lot about the loss of biodiversity and how we correlate to a loss in biodiversity and butterfly population. Butterflies are not only beautiful to look at, they help us analyze migration patterns, pollinate and even help through the study of genes and DNA. I found the butterfly garden to be the most enjoyable aspect of the exhibit. I loved watching the butterflies fly around.

Butterfly Exhibit Entrance

Nature and Ethics: The Natural History Museum did prove to be an opportunity to experience nature in the way the Leopold recommends. Leopold's ideas of experiencing nature encompassed love, admiration and respect. He also believed we should be a "biotic community." Meaning, we should work alongside nature, without destroying or "conquering" the land. The exhibit allowed me to become immersed in a butterfly habitat. There is also a strict policy stating that the butterflies are not allowed to be touched. Butterflies can, however, choose to land on you. This enforced the respect and admiration qualities Leopold believed in. This allows for people to have interaction with the butterflies, while letting the butterflies have a safe, natural life. I was in awe of the butterfly exhibit. It filled me with joy. I sensed a calm, peaceful environment. I thought about how beautiful all the butterflies are and I pondered the communication butterflies have as I watched butterfly interaction. From the tiniest human being to the oldest human being in the butterfly exhibit, I could see happiness and excitement on all of the faces. I felt childlike excitement I have not felt in a long time, just from having a couple of butterflies land on me. Before the butterfly exhibit, I already felt as if I had an ethical responsibility to nature as Leopold imagines. However, actually interacting within the butterfly exhibit strengthened my want for everyone to adapt an ethical responsibility to nature as Leopold imagines.

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio Cresphontes)

Nature and the Human Spirit: The Natural History museum helps us step outside our ordinary lives by creating a setting and time period. Within some of the other exhibits, one can see how florida used to be and the old inhabitants. Designs, outfits and settings are created based on when, where and what is being illustrated. In the butterfly exhibit, i felt that I was able to step outside of my ordinary life through the help of the butterfly garden. The butterfly garden creates a "natural" environment that helps one step into nature and leave behind the outside world. The focus is on the beautiful butterflies as they fly around their little forest. I feel that museums such as this one, help us to understand who we are, because it brings it brings science and history together. We would not exist without history. Therefore, the history reminds us of who we once were and how that has influenced us today. The science side of it, explores how history can help us to better our future. This is seen in study butterfly patterns and other aspects of the butterflies for many years. History helps us to gather endless amounts of data and review how and why something changes. As for appreciation, the Natural History Museum helps us to appreciate by giving us a visual representation of our beautiful world. The butterfly garden serves as a way for people to come into knowledge about what is outside social media or our individual lives. By visually seeing the beauty nature has to offer, than reading about how we are causing destruction, appreciation can rise from consciousness.

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