South Florida shutterbug Claudine Laabs is headed up the Amazon again, with a paddle, a crew, and a camera. In the past 20 years she's been to the region a dozen times, leading trips for West Palm Beach's Audubon Society of the Everglades. But before her upcoming May excursion, Laabs is giving a 30-minute slide show entitled "Up the Upper Amazon." The presentation focuses on the Amazon basin and 3 recent trips to the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, a 5-million-acre lowland rain forest preserve, the largest of its kind in the world. Attendees can learn more about this pristine area of Peru that neighboring natives call "the jungle of mirrors." Except for a few rangers and visiting scientists, the reserve sees few human visitors. This makes the area uniquely suited to the study of natural evolution and the effects of global climate change. Among so much exotic fauna, a range of birds, jaguars, and monkeys make the region their home. Laabs has been photographing in the Everglades since 1981 and her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Audubon calendars and wildlife books. The slide show begins at 8:00 p.m. at Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami. Admission is free. Call 305-667-7337. -- By Victor Cruz
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Art thrives in nature
An emerging artist is like a flower about to blossom. An established artist is like a flower in full flourish. At least that's what local promoter Carol Jazzar has perhaps thought more than once. "Art in Bloom 2" is the name of the exhibition she's currently presenting at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden (2000 Convention Center Dr.), home to more flora than you can shake a spade at. And for a short time featuring paintings, sculpture, photographs, and digital art by locals such as Richard Boprae, Lee Brady, and Shirley Henderson nestled gracefully among the greenery. Open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily, the show runs through Sunday, January 11. Admission is free. Call 305-490-6906. -- By Nina Korman