Embracing Nature at the FLMNH Danielle Harrison

Nature on Display

The Butterfly Rainforest

This trip to the the Butterfly Rainforest was not my first and it certainly won't be my last! Being a history museum, most of the exhibits consist of artifacts, models, and replicas which is why the butterfly rainforest stands out as an exhibit. As opposed to the display of what nature once was, the Butterfly garden gives visitors a look at nature alive and in full swing with beautiful exotic butterflies circling the air. The fact the the exhibit was outdoors was very impressive and the size of the enclosure was surprising. It would have been impossible to study the nature of butterflies through photos alone, seeing them in their 'fabricated' natural habitat allows me to get a better understanding of how butterflies survive. Be butterfly rainforest is a reminder that just how the butterflies are vibrant and alive now, at one point, so were the creatures displayed all around the museum. Natural history continues to be made everyday but the butterfly rainforest, to me was the most physically and poetically beautiful part of understanding natural history. Everything even the beautiful butterflies we are fortunate enough to see today, will eventually become history in some way.

Nature and Ethics

Photos from the Northwest and South Florida Exhibits

Both of these exhibits do an excellent job of taking visitors through the several different landscapes that existed and continue to exist in these regions of our beloved state. As I went through both of these exhibits, I noticed that the focus was primarily on the near identical replication of the outdoor environment and educating people about them rather than focusing on the humans that inhabited and encountered them. These exhibits focused primarily on the landscape and environment in which the natives lived. Because of this i was able to appreciate the nature for what it was rather than how it benefited humans. I was able to read about the natural importance of each landscape unrelated to how it impacted humans which is, perhaps, the museums way of conveying the importance of a biotic community. By focusing on nature and not humans, the notion that humans were the supreme 'conquers of the land' is eliminated and the museum can serve its purpose: to educate people on the NATURAL history of Florida.

Nature and Human Spirit

Florida's Fossils Exhibit

There is certainly a ton of mystery surrounding the topic of fossils, especially when you consider that there were not humans around to see it but nonetheless, the museum has used archaeological findings and science to display to scale models of the skeletal structures and miscellaneous bone and shell fossils of the animals of the past and their evolution over time. Each replica has a description telling what the animal was, a rough approximation of what they looked like alive, and when they would have existed in time. Walking through this exhibit was an interesting experience for me because it made me realize just how vast our world really is and how small my life must seem in comparison and I mean this in the most humbling of ways. Seeing just how much this world has seen before we came along-- before I came along-- just tells me that we still have that much more to go. Everything that has come before us in this world has in some way, shape, or form, impacted us and how the future has played out. The past, whether we were around to witness it or not, is what inevitably shapes our future. We must connect ourselves to our external shared past and recognize its importance before we can move forward and improve. Our world and the human race has so much potential for greatness, it inspires me to become the best person I can be, constantly evolving everyday, never looking back.

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Danielle Harrison

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