Everglades National Park Volunteer Paula Baxter calls herself "another 70-year-old on an adventure." For the past six years she has trekked through wildness exploring the park’s beauty from the Anhinga Trail to Flamingo. She takes photos all along the way.
She is now sharing her finds of nature in photos as "a glimpse into the lives of (the park’s) creatures and the ecosystems they inhabit. Each is a testament to the need to preserve and protect this unique environment."
Baxter’s photo exhibit, her second since 2011, will be on display Dec. 1-31 at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center Gallery in Everglades National Park. Monthly exhibits there feature the work of artists, including students, of all ages.
Baxter is calling her second show More Gifts From the Everglades. There is a “Meet the Artist” reception for her at the gallery at 2 p.m. on Dec. 15.
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"I am an amateur photographer, self taught, but it's hard not to get good pictures with such beauty surrounding you," she said.
The Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center Gallery has a mission "to educate, enhance and enrich the visitor's understanding and experience of Everglades National Park through quality Everglades' specific exhibits; foster a unique opportunity for the future generations of Park stewards to learn about the Everglades."
To plan a daytrip to the gallery and park, go to www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm. The visitor center is after the park’s main entrance at 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034.
BASKETS OF CARE
The members of Soroptimist International of Homestead are doing their part to help local women suffering with serious illnesses.
The group is reaching out to women who have been diagnosed with cancer, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia or any other condition that makes it difficult to complete simple tasks. Many do not wish to burden family or friends.
The Soroptimist Baskets of Care project was started just over a year ago. In that time the volunteers have given out customized baskets that include head wraps, earrings, inspirational books, gift certificates, floral arrangements, specialized hair products, home cleaning services, teas and other items. The baskets are customized for each woman’s needs.
And once the women have received their baskets, Soroptimist members continue to send them cards, "letting them know they’re still thought of, should they need anything again."
The group holds regular fundraisers, most recently its Martinis, Manicures & Massages (MM&M) event on Nov. 1 at the Woman’s Club in Homestead. At that event three women were honored with care baskets.
Soroptimist is a global voice for women through the guiding principles of "Awareness, Advocacy and Action." For more information on Soroptimist of Homestead, call 305-247-0902 or visit www.sihomestead.com.
HOLIDAY HOUSE TOUR
This year, The Villagers 2013 Holiday House Tour will be in Coconut Grove from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 7. All six homes featured will illustrate the diversity and charm of the Grove.
To see the homes, you can walk the tour or take a jitney transport available at Plymouth Congregational Church. There will also be the popular food and holiday boutique open at Davis Hall at Plymouth Church.
Tickets are available in advance for $35. To reserve a spot send a check and self-stamped addressed envelope to: The Villagers Inc., P.O. Box 141843, Coral Gables, FL 33114-1843. Be sure to include your phone number and name on the check. If you have questions, call Joan Bounds at 305-442-2330.
The Villagers is a volunteer organization that focuses on preservation and restoration of historic sites. Money received from the house tour goes directly to fund scholarships and projects. For more on this very involved group that has created awareness and preserved historic sites since 1966, visit www.thevillagersinc.org.
Local artist Elaine Andrews was recently honored with the National Association of Women Artists Memorial Award for watercolor. She traveled to attend the award reception at the 124th Annual Exhibition of NAWA in New York.
The NAWA was established in 1889 as the first professional women’s art organization in the U.S.
Andrews, who lives in the Schenley Park/Coral Way Heights neighborhood, is a longtime resident of Miami and a signature member of the Miami Watercolor Society. Her art form often uses Mylar to reflect watercolor images. The colors interact and the images can appear to move and change shape.
Andrews’ art is in several permanent collections. To see more of her work, visit www.miamiwatercolor.com/elaineandrews.html.
Celebrate the holidays at the 27th annual Caroling Competition hosted once again by the 550 Biltmore Way Building in Coral Gables. Concerts are free to the public with the first at 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Dec. 4. The events are presented by the Coral Gables, Florida Merrick Festival.
The competition includes performances by singers from different schools every half hour, each evening until Dec. 8. The concerts are held on the steps of the 550 Building.
There are 30 public, private and parochial schools competing this year for $20,000 cash. Prizes are awarded in the Junior and Senior Division for small ensembles, full choirs and show choirs.
Local foundations, municipal organizations, corporations and local businesses, and the City of Coral Gables Cultural Development Board and Miami Dade Cultural Affairs support the event. In the spirit of the season, Piano Music Center is providing the red piano for the schools’ accompanists.
The winners of the Competition will return for a short program to accept their awards at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10.