A creature stalks the swamps of the Everglades' Big Cypress National Preserve, nestled between Naples and Miami. He wears hip boots and a hat and carries a large-format camera. His name is Clyde Butcher. Eleven years ago the swamp was a place he and his wife Niki went seeking solace from the cruel reality that their teenage son had been killed by a drunk driver. What began as a sanctuary/home has grown into a successful venture. Butcher's art gallery on the 13-acre site does brisk business with his immense glowing black-and-white portraits of his back yard, the Everglades. He's since photographed a slew of natural wonders all over the world and opened a second gallery in Venice, Florida. But the swamp retains its charm. Each year the Butchers present a Labor Day Weekend Gala, opening their house and its environs to the public, leading guided tours through the swamp, displaying nature-oriented exhibitions, and conducting photography seminars. Live folk music, lectures, a film screening, author autographing sessions, and food (no alligator, we hope) will also be offered. -- By Nina Korman
The Gala runs through Monday, September 1, at Big Cypress Gallery, 35 miles west of Miami, 52388 Tamiami Trail. Swamp walks are held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., cost $20, and require reservations. Other events are free.
Call 888-999-9113. Friday August 29 Diamond Dogs Pooches pounce Pro Player
A new twist on Americana, Bark at the Park Day will be a commingling of baseball, hot dogs -- and actual dogs. Fans will be allowed to sit with their canine best friends in the park's upper deck as the Marlins battle the Montreal Expos. Yelling "fetch" may not be in anyone's best interests. It's a benefit for the Greater Miami Humane Society, so the dogs are going to have to pay to get in just like everyone else. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. at Pro Player Stadium, 2269 NW 199th St. Tickets range from $3 to $9 for humans. Dogs pay $5. Call 786-924-5220. -- By Robert Andrew Powell