Museum of Natural History Clayton French

It wasn't until the past few years that I've started to truly appreciate all nature has to offer. For the better part of my childhood I would much rather have stayed indoors playing video games than take a walk out in the woods or in the park. However, as I matured, I've come to realize all the beauty nature has to offer, and even take solace in it every now and then when I need some time to clear my head. This trip the the museum of natural history has given me a renewed sense of appreciation for nature.

Nature on Display

Picking an exhibit for this section was extremely difficult, because every one that I visited in the museum was surreal. No matter where I went, I felt like I was immersed in the environment on display due to how well they were all put on by the museum. However, more than anything, the butterfly garden was the most appealing exhibit to me because it was real. Sure, every exhibit in the museum was realistic, but the butterfly garden was different. The trees, the plants, the butterflies - none of these were created for the sake of the display, they were simply cultivated to be viewed in one area.

Florida Museum of Natural History, February 24, 2016

Walking through the garden, I felt as if I was walking through an actual tropical rainforests with lush, green plants on every side of me. Even though it wasn't actually a rainforest, I felt as if I had been placed in one, and even learned about just how diverse and ideal of a climate they were for the flora and fauna that reside within them. Walking through the garden gave me a whole new sense of appreciation not only for rainforests but for nature as a whole.

Nature and Ethics

Growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida, I was never more than a hop skip and a jump away from the beach. Even though I never truly appreciated the beauty of the beach until recently, I grew up on a sense of respect for the water and knew that it was our duty to take care of it, seeing as it made up the majority of the planet on which we live. As I walked through the ocean exhibits, I recounted everything from my childhood that I had been taught about how to treat our beaches and all nature around us. It really hit close to home, and I left with a feeling of longing for the beaches that I had grown up around.

Florida Museum of Natural History, February 24, 2016

Walking through the ocean exhibit, I stumbled upon two adults and their daughter. As I was taking in the surroundings, I heard the little girl ask her parents, "Mama, Daddy? What's a beach?". Hearing the little girl, who could not have been younger than 5 years old, ask her parents what a beach is opened my eyes to just how diverse nature can be. While I was fortunate enough to grow up by the coast close to the water, I realized that there were some people who had never even visited a beach in their lives. It made me realize just how being born in a certain location can foster sympathy for nature that it foreign to others.

Nature and the Human Spirit

One of my favorite exhibits that I visited during my trip to the museum was the Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife Exhibit. During my time there, I was immersed in a variety of climates, from caves to rivers and bogs.

Florida Museum of Natural History, February 24, 2016

Sometimes, in order to gain a better understanding of who we are, we have to understand who we were. This exhibit takes one out of the ordinary world and places them directly into that of their ancestors, painting a crystal clear picture of what life was like when they depended on waterways. Much like how we rely on the Internet and paved roads, in the past people depended on waterways for commodities such as travel and spreading influence. Because we gain an understanding of our past, we are able to better understand why certain facets of life today are the way that they are.

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