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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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 On the Lighter Side of Science

ARS employees participate in highway clean-up

NPARL's Jill Miller shows off her prize winning trash collection from the lab's 2009 Spring highway ditch cleanup. The award was for the most unusual item(s) found during the annual employee spring cleanup of 2 miles of MT highway by the lab. ARS employees volunteer their time for the Montana Highway Department beautification program, which they've participated in for the past five years. Note, too, that Jill's winnings are also shown....the gloves, smokes and beer bottles.... a reflection of items more commonly found, although here the gloves haven't been worn, the cigarettes haven't been smoked and the beer is non-alcoholic!



ARS employees show off quilting skills at museum

Click here for photos of NPARL quilters.Four NPARL employees and the spouse of another participated in a special quilting “demonstration day” Saturday, March 19, at the MonDak Heritage Center in Sidney, MT as a part of their annual Quilt Show Display. NPARL Administrative Officer Mellissa Brockes, Technicians Laura Seniorand Rene Sol, Aide Deb Bradley, and Carrell Evans, spouse of NPARL’s Ag Systems Unit Research Leader Robert Evans, volunteered to help demonstrate various quilting techniques for the day. They and several other NPARL employees share a keen interest in the traditional art of quilting and have organized impromptu, after-hours “quilting bees” that have typically attracted a dozen or more participants.

Even lab visitors find themselves drawn in. German researcher Dr. Kerstin Jung, became an avid quilter during her three-month stay at NPARL as a visiting scientist with the lab’s sugar beet root maggot research program. Her going-away gift was a collection of quilt squares done by her fellow quilting enthusiasts, some using American Western fabrics and others with brightly colored insect patterns.

The quilting bug first bit most lab employees more than a year ago when they began work on a quilt showing all the different types of research being done at the Montana facility as a special project to celebrate ARS’s 50th anniversary. The unique quilt has attracted a lot of interest at various ag exhibitions where NPARL has included it among its display items.  Click here for a photo of the ARS 50th anniversary quilt!  Now it's nearly ready to hang in the lab’s Technology Transfer Room, where it will join others completed earlier for the lab as gifts by both employees and area residents.

Click here to see pictures of NPARL quiltersworking on various projects (8 photos).


Announcing the first ever NPARL Charles Darwin Facial Hair Contest

To beat the winter blues and honor the great Charles Darwin, an admittedly, but unavoidable gender-biased facial hair growing contest was organized at NPARL.  The participating men had one and a half months to grow as much facial hair as they could before Darwin's birthday on February 12, 2004.  They then sculptured it into their favorite Darwinian design for the grand finale at noon, where spectators gathered in the lab's Tech Transfer Room for the "Parade of Facial Hair."  Among the favorites were the classic full beard and shaved chin only as shown here in "The Many Faces of Charles Darwin," a poster honoring the hairy participants.

 2005 Charles Darwin Look-a-like Contest Image

Last Modified: 4/19/2013
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