Nature and the Good Life Exploring the Florida Natural history museum

Nature on Display

The Underwater Ecosystem display really appealed to me in a visual and educational manner. The over-sized fish, crab, mollusks, jellyfish, and barnacles made me feel as if I were a part of that ecosystem! This exhibit really captured my attention because I enjoy learning about marine life and find ocean life very interesting. As someone who is an avid SCUBA diver and works with ocean conservation projects like Coral Restoration Foundation and, I found this particular exhibit to be very intriguing and enjoyable. It taught me about the various parts of an ecosystem that are very important. These ranged from invertebrates, moving water, seagrasses, and microscopic organisms which all play a vital role in the ecosystem. This display was set to a scale twelve times larger than real life which made me feel like I was amongst the animals living in the ecosystem which was very unique and captured my attention and interest. It was my favorite exhibit in the museum!

Nature and Ethics

As Leopold mentioned, people should view themselves as part of "biotic community" instead of conquerors. I believe that the Florida Museum of Natural History provides a way for people to experience the natural world in the way Leopold suggests. The museum offers a vast array of exhibits ranging from all spectrums of natural history. In particular, the butterfly encounter made me personally feel a part of the biotic community because I was in the butterflies' habitat. Life was fluttering by all around me and I was surrounded by beautiful vegetation. I truly felt as though I was in the wild, not in a building. In addition, the frog exhibit also allowed me, as well as other guests to connect with nature because it displayed life., just as the butterfly encounter did. I noticed many other people gazing in awe at the unique amphibians just as I was. There seemed to be a theme of awe and wonder, in the natural sense, throughout the entire museum. While walking through the museum I continued to feel curious about nature and connected to nature. Being raised by parents who believed in the importance of the outdoors and nature, my experience at the Florida Museum of Natural History confirmed my ethical responsibility to nature.

Nature and the Human Spirit

Walking through the Florida Museum of Natural History provoked a sense of wonder and curiosity in me. I felt a sense of mystery going through most of the exhibits, such as the Seminole Indian exhibit where I got to get a glimpse of what their life was life and the butterfly encounter where I wondered how freeing it must feel to be able to flutter around all day like the butterflies do. However, the exhibit that spoke to me the most, in the realm of mystery, was the prehistoric/extinct/fossil exhibit depicted above. Standing next to the skeletons of creatures that once roamed the Earth was quite spectacular and majestic. It made me feel small, like a drop of water in the ocean, in a humbling sense, seeing the beasts that once roamed. The museum allowed me to take a break from my daily routine to reconnect with the natural world which allowed me to find myself. This often happens to me when I go backpacking on trails like the Appalachian Trail and Florida Trail. When I am submersed in the natural world, like in the museum or while backpacking, I tend to lose myself, which results in the ability for me to truly find myself.


All photos taken by Stephanie Dahm

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