The Good Life Nature Activity at the Florida Museum of Natural History By Brenna Masgai

Introduction: I went and experienced the Florida Museum of Natural History this week, and it was one of the most memorable experiences I've had so far at UF. Below are all my different experiences, along with some insight about each one. Please feel free to scroll through and enjoy all of my experiences, and go to the museum for yourself!

Nature on Display: I found the Butterfly Rainforest to be particularly appealing to me at the Florida Museum of Natural History. This exhibit required you to walk into a room that was decorated and adorned with rainforest foliage, along with hundreds of butterflies. In this exhibit, the butterflies flew freely around the space and allowed visitors the chance to see the butterflies in a more natural and interactive state. I found the design of this exhibit to be the most appealing because of all the different colors in the area. The whole space was such a vibrant green color, and all of the butterflies were so diverse and beautiful. It really made the entire experience of the exhibit so interesting and enjoyable. The exhibit captured my attention with it's interactive nature. The fact that I could step into a butterfly's world was so cool to me, and it helped me pay attention to the different things I was learning about them! The things I learned about the natural world that I may not have known before or might not have been taught through a different medium, was the idea of coexistence. I was aware of coexistence in the world, but by having so many different species including humans in one area, it really reinforced the idea that we are all creatures on one earth sharing all of the resources. I think that is a very important lesson for the Florida Museum of Natural History to teach because with nature, people need to realize that the earth is here for everybody to use. Not one species needs the earth more than another, and it was a good thing to relearn and remember as I experienced the exhibit. The thing I found most enjoyable about this experience at the museum, was the happiness it gave to the people around me. Kids on field trips and older adults were enjoying the exhibit along with me, and everybody had a smile on their face because the butterflies were so fun. I think the mutual enjoyment of the exhibit really made the whole experience for me.

Nature and Ethics: The Florida Museum of Natural History along with the fossil exhibit I experienced there, really helped to open my mind to conservation and ethics in nature. The fossils in this exhibit specifically were located above, beside, and around you. By placing the fossils in this way, it provided a visitor with a sense of community with the other fossils around them. This helped to exemplify Leopold's idea that we are a part of the community rather than conquerors of it. It also helped to reinforce the ideas about conservation because some of the fossils on display were extinct animals. Being reminded of the beauty of things that are now gone helps us to realize that conservation is needed in order to save our community of nature around us. I felt rather small walking through this exhibit, and I felt almost less interesting than everything going on around me. I was in awe of the structures of the different kinds of species on Earth. I sensed that all of these animals were apart of my world at one point and it was amazing to think about. The whole time walking through the exhibit, I just kept thinking about all of the cool species that were or still are on the plant now and how they all connect to one another. I think that's a really good thing for the museum to provoke thought for, and I appreciate the flow of thought they allow visitors. Other viewers reacted to this exhibit in awe because of how massive and diverse the fossils being shown were. Kids were amazed at how big some of the older animals got, and it was refreshing to see. The museum allowed other people to experience the fossils in a way similar to what I experienced. It allowed other visitors to feel small and consumed by the other creatures around them, which was good for the kind of idea about conservation and unity the museum was going for. The museum did instill the sense of ethical responsibility that Leopold described for nature. It showed me what I need to conserve or what could have been conserved in a fully encompassing way, which was amazing. It brought species and nature that needs to be conserved to my attention. It definitely made me more concerned with my ethics and nature, and I'm sure it did the very same to other visitors.

Nature and The Human Spirit: The people exhibit and the main fossil at the front of the museum really helped to instill the mystery and magic of nature. The fossil helped to show the magic of huge animals and the ways we piece them together. The people exhibit helped me to see the mystery of how we got to be the species of human we are today. the Florida Museum of Natural History helps us step out of our ordinary lives by helping us to imagine and experience history instead of just reading about it. The people exhibit brought me right up close and personal with the members of our ancestors, which is something that's hard to do just by reading. The fossil at the front of the museum helped me to explore my imagination with the different types of animals that were once alive. By bringing it right in front of me, I could really see how huge and important these animals truly were. The museum does a great job of connecting people to history in fun, big, and inventive ways. By doing this, it helps us as humans to understand how and where we fit in the natural world, and it allows us to see the interesting and beautiful things about nature we have never seen before. This unlocks the mystery and magic of nature for us, because it allows us to be exposed to so many beautiful and crazy things in nature. The info and knowledge that is still unknown about the discovery and creation of such things helps to instill the awe we have for the world in all of us. The Florida Museum of Natural History is a beautiful place that can teach so much about nature and it's mysteries, and I think that all people should experience it at least once.

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