Nature and the Good Life By Connor Sweeney

Sweeney, Connor. “Butterfly on Pink Flowers.” 2017. JPEG file.

NATURE ON DISPLAY

Sweeney, Connor. "Myself with the Scenery." 2017. JPEG file.

I was most fascinated by the Butterfly Rainforest. I liked how the pathway snaked its way through the "rainforest," since it made me feel like the exhibit allows us to just meander around nature and observe at our own pace. I thought the small table with fruit on it for butterflies to feed on was awesome because the butterflies typically stayed still, allowing people to fully appreciate their colors and body structure. The exhibit caught my attention because it was an outdoor exhibit, when many of the exhibits in the Florida Museum of Natural History are mainly indoors. I learned from the exhibit that, when you live in a dorm or in an apartment complex with only a couple of trees planted for decoration, it's easy to forget about the intricacies of the natural world. Going from barely seeing any wildlife for many months to seeing dozens of butterflies at the exhibit made me realize how disconnected I've been from nature during my time at UF. I found the serenity of the exhibit to be its most enjoyable aspect. Aside from a couple of fellow students or senior citizens talking or taking pictures, it was just the butterflies, the greenery, and myself. There wasn't a whole lot of noise, and it was incredibly peaceful.

NATURE AND ETHICS

Sweeney, Connor. "Finally Getting a Butterfly to Stay on My Hand." 2017. JPEG file.

The Natural History Museum allowed me to observe and experience nature respectfully and with love, not above nature but one with nature. When I went through the museum I felt like a bystander just learning about and admiring the world around me. I sensed that I was more connected with nature, and, unfortunately, that many people simply do not try to themselves. Other people seemed to appreciate nature in the same ways that I did, and were feeling the tranquility that came with the relatively quiet exhibits. The museum allowed us to connect with nature by offering information about space, physics, the environment, and various other fields of natural sciences via its indoor exhibits, and by granting us opportunities to experience it firsthand with the Butterfly Rainforest. My experience made me determined to ensure that the natural beauty I have seen in my life and in the museum can be passed on to future generations to come.

NATURE AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT

(Left) Sweeney, Connor. "Dark Butterfly on a Leaf." 2017. JPEG file. (Right) Sweeney, Connor. "Light Butterfly on a Flower." 2017. JPEG file.

This museum allows us to escape from the hustle and bustle of college life and allows us to take a breather surrounded by nature and knowledge. It helps us stay humble and grateful that we get to be a part of an infinitely complicated, magical world. Personally, learning about the complexities of nature has made me consider myself only an insignificant speck in a vast landscape, and seeing the beauty of nature firsthand makes me fortunate to be able to appreciate that majesty. As much as the daily stress and strife of college can bring us down, sometimes we need to take a step back, return to nature for a little while, and come back refreshed and ready to take on the world again.

Created By
Connor Sweeney
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