by Hinal Kharva – Taking a break is really important in this busy life; I have heard that all the time. Many of us just live with that same work schedule within a laboratory and might forget about life outside. In my last visit to the University of Florida, I mostly remained busy with a tight experiment schedule plus a lack of other activities. When I was having a Skype conversation with Shannon, one morning she advised me “take a break, Hinal”. Talking to Shannon has always motivated me; half of my problem is solved when I listen to my advisor. That afternoon I decided to go for a walk just outside the department at the university of Florida. In that exploration, I found that there is a butterfly rain forest just 5 minutes walking distance from my lab. This was my first ever visit to a butterfly park and I will never forget this experience. The park is maintained by some of the research groups working at the entomology department. It is full with all the rainforest plant species, butterflies, moths, and many other insect species. Since it is a part of the Florida Museum of Natural History, they have an amazing collection of insect boxes with preserved butterflies and moth species.
As I entered the park, I noticed tall rainforest trees, different species of beautiful flowering orchids and many butterflies flying around me. This reminded me of the butterfly migration we observe at NCBS (Bangalore) sometime between October to November. I managed to get some pictures of the butterflies that were flying at a low height near shrubs and herbs. Unfortunately, I hardly knew their names, but if you identify them, please write their scientific names in the comment section.
I also had a wonderful interactive session with kids and elderly people while they were all learning about the life cycle of butterflies and their importance in our ecosystem. One of the kids asked me how he can catch a butterfly and take it home, but soon he realized that this was their home and we should not take them away.
When I came back to Bangalore, I started observing that weather and green cover of this city supports many butterflies, and I hope we will maintain the nature of this region as it is. I continued going for walks. Indeed, taking a break helps, and I hope you will not ignore this advice. 🙂