NATURE ON DISPLAY: The Butterfly Exhibit was the most interesting exhibit to me. When you enter the exhibit, you become part of an ecosystem very carefully created for butterflies, insects, plants, and turtles. This exhibit was so appealing to me because I was not a passive observer looking through a glass window, like at a zoo; I was an active observer within the exhibit, and I got to walk around and watch butterflies fly right next to me. From this exhibit, I learned a lot from tour guides, and museum employees that I would not have learned had I seen butterflies in a natural ecosystem. For example, I learned that butterflies eat through tubes that are connected to the center of their heads. Since it is so hard to see them, if I were to observe butterflies in nature and not through an exhibit, I would not have learned this. This exhibit was so appealing to me because, if you stood still long enough, the butterflies would land on you; this made the immersion into another ecosystem that I felt so much more real.
NATURE AND ETHICS: I believe that creating an ecosystem and caring for that ecosystem embodies Leopold's belief that humans need to enjoy nature and not see it as theirs to conquer. While I walked through the exhibit, others enjoyed the same views as I did. Everyone is allowed to take pictures, and enjoy the views. The rules in the exhibit are created to protect the ecosystem and butterflies. The Florida Museum of Natural History takes many precautions to protect these animals, and to educate everyone on all types of species. As I walked through the exhibits, I learned a lot about different species of not only butterflies, but other species that inhabit Florida rivers and beaches. I learned that the ecosystem is very responsive to human activity; although I am already environmentally conscious and treat animals well, the exhibits made me want to continue to protect animals, and be even more environmentally conscious so that other species can live on this planet for a long time.
NATURE AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT: As you can tell, I was able to get very close to a lot of the butterflies. Being able to enter a completely different world (compared to Gainesville, Fl.) reminded me that nature is always near, and it is important to remember that there is more to life than humans. The Natural History museum allows UF students to enter for free, so it is an easy way to learn more about nature, and immerse yourself in the butterfly rainforest. I think that enjoying the beauty of nature puts life into perspective, since it reminds me that the world is so big and so beautiful, and my current problem or stressor is not as big as I thought it was. This is a great resource for students who are stressed out with schoolwork or other things to come to and enjoy the beauty the world has to offer. Enjoying nature helps us to better appreciate our lives, and the beauty that surrounds us. The more we appreciate the nature, the better care we will take care of this planet.