The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology appreciated the dedication and efforts of its staff with a week of fun interspersed among the workdays during the week of April 18, 2016.

From alien abductions to erupting volcanoes and shark attacks in a coral reef, staff appreciation week's ad-mini golf course never fails to entertain. More on that later.

Activities began with a photo contest themed “Diversity of Life” that attracted a beautiful variety of photos from staff. The winning photos were: a tie for first place by Nick Van Dyke’s butterflies from the entomology class’ teaching collections, and Sandy Hardy’s view from Cathedral Rock Trail, Sedona, Ariz. A three-way tie for second place included Katie Davis’ humpback whale face in Southeast Alaska just outside Glacier Bay National Park; Branden Bufford on safari with a giraffe in the distance, South Africa; Elizabeth Walker’s water landscape, Kilkenny, Ireland; and another three-way tie for third place: Kendra Renner’s dog and cat cuddling; Bufford’s shot of schoolchildren in South Africa; and Brandi Berg's photo in the Sunken Garden at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, Minneapolis, Minn.

Staff played two email games. One was a twist on the usual Tuesday Trivia game, which involved a series of previous trivia to match with the corresponding staff member. Nancy Smith knows her staff and took the prize for this game.  The other game was the trivia game that Jason Dobkowski creates for  the annual holiday party, with this version made by Dobkowski, Chris Cook, and Gail Kuhnlein. The savvy winners were the team of Robbin Murrell and Linda Garcia.

The “Diversity of Life” theme carried over to ad-mini golf, wherein staff designed putting greens throughout their workspace for a fun afternoon followed by lunch in the Kraus Natural Science Building administrative office. The winning hole was created by Cody Hagar and Nick Van Dyke depicting a diversity of alien life, featuring a glowing spaceship hovering above a Fibonacci spiral with the golf hole in the center. Donna Szalay’s Game of Life careers golf hole placed second. Other themes included a coral reef; putting through a volcano surrounded by dinosaurs; the Everglades with an alligator to putt through into a snake’s mouth; bizarre sea creatures; an array of materials; it’s a jungle in here adorned with plants; a cave; mammals; a golf hole that depicted the progression from below the sea to up into the sky; and a tricky ramp. Altogether, teams scored 23 holes in one throughout the course.

Cindy Carl and Hagar were the winning golfers with the lowest score. The other winners were Charles Davey, Jacqueline Marsack and Van Dyke who “had the most fun” (aka high score).