Group works to preserve wild Louisiana irises

Because the five Louisiana iris species have a wide variety of colors and shapes, breeders can create fancier hybrids like this ruffled one, shown April 4, 2018, at the Greater New Orleans Iris Society's collection in New Orleans. The society is creating core collections of up to 100 more basic wild varieties of the five Louisiana iris species to ensure the flowers' genetic diversity survives as development, farming, storms and other factors eat away at the wetlands where they grow. (AP Photo/Janet McConnaughey)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Vast stands of wild Louisiana irises — vibrant purple, blue, red, yellow and orange flowers that thrive in the wet, swampy state — have been replaced by roads and buildings, leading to concerns that they are running out of habitat. A small group of enthusiasts is doing its best to make sure that the widely varied group of plants doesn’t go the way of the passenger pigeon.

Artist explores connections with nature

In this Nov. 10, 2017 photo, artist Arturo Garcia talks about his fascination with painting the American bison as the painter takes a break from creating other works as part of an exhibition at the art museum in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Arturo Garcia rose, bundled up in a puffy green vest and denim blue hoodie, and staked his easel amid the pale golden grasses of Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation, home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho. It was so windy he had to keep one hand on a canvas the size of a school notebook. It was so cold an onlooker got out of her car to offer him her gloves — he could only wear one, as he needed a bare hand to manipulate the palette knife he uses instead of a brush to apply energetic lines and bold colors. Grass blew into his paint.

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