Share your CALS “ABCs” for a chance to win Babcock ice cream

To help encourage photo submissions to the CALS Photo Alphabet Project, the CALS Office of External Relations is holding a photo contest from August 5 – 29, offering 12 coupons for a free scoop of Babcock Hall ice cream for the best photos received during the contest period. Three weekly winners will be selected and announced on August 8, 15, 22 and 29, for a total of 12 winners.

The project: The goal of the CALS Photo Alphabet Project is to compile a set of photos that depict all of the letters of the alphabet—from A to Z—taken of plants, animals, buildings, lab equipment and other items found on the CALS campus or our affiliated research station grounds. This collaborative project, which started in February and will close on October 1, has already received over 100 fantastic photo submissions from students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the college—but we’re looking for more. The plan is to use the letters to spell messages in CALS promotional materials, with participants receiving full credit for their contributions.

Letters submitted by: Natalie Hinahara (“C” – Agricultural Bulletin Building, with thanks to Hannah Gerbitz for location tip), Kyle Rak (“A” – bridge across Campus Drive), Rebecca Bock (“L” – Microbial Sciences Building) and Chris Day (“S” – detail of “Biotrek” poster).

How to participate: When you see a “hidden letter” in a lab, lecture hall, building façade, greenhouse or garden on the CALS campus or ARS grounds, take a photo with your smart phone or digital camera and send it to, the CALS Facebook Page or the CALS Twitter account. Please also share your full name, hometown, CALS affiliation and photo location info.

Contest details: On August 8, 15, 22 and 29, staff in the CALS Office of External Relations will select the three top photo submissions received by that date, giving special preference to:

  • Photos of hard-to-find letters including B, F, G, L, R, S, U and Z.
  • Clear, well-composed photos with a high degree of contrast between the letter and the background.
  • Photos that have a clear “CALS connection” of some kind.

View full rules for participation here.

Winners will be announced at the bottom of this eCALS post, and through CALS’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.

If you have any questions, please contact Nicole Miller at or (608) 262-3636.

WEEK #1 WINNERS (August 8):

A team of scientists in the Hittinger Lab–including senior Kayla Sylvester, grad student Emily Baker and lab manager Amanda Hulfachor–sent in a whole series of photos around the theme “Y is for yeast!” made from red, white, beige and pink yeast. Our favorite, made by Emily Baker, features bread, beer and other yeast-made foods!
Animal sciences professor Dave Thomas sent in this “A,” part of a key that he made for his initiation into UW-Madison’s Babcock Chapter of Alpha Zeta in 1969.


Genetics professor Ahna Skop made this fabulous Petri dish “R” for a children’s science book she’s working on. Thanks for sharing it with us!


WEEK #2 WINNERS (August 15):

This “S,” taken by food science graduate student Maddy Levin, was composed of orange gummies, lentils (generic M&Ms), and cut rock candy made during this summer’s UW Candy School.


Recent genetics grad Ron Crandall found this “G” or “B” in Allen Centennial Gardens.


This great lab shot of an “L” came from genetics sophomore Patrick Carney, one of our fabulous CALS Ambassadors.


WEEK #3 WINNERS (August 22):

Lori Bocher found this fine foto of a female (Holstein) Friesian at the U.S. Dairy Forage Center’s field station at Prairie du Sac.


University Communications science writer Jill Sakai spotted an “r” by the entryway to Bock Labs.
An A-plus for this awesome A, taken along the lakeshore path by Steenbock librarian Jessica Newman


WEEK #4 WINNERS (Aug 29):

This great “B” was found by senior research specialist Sheryl A. Rakowski in the lab of bacteriology professor Marcin Filutowitz.


CALS Ambassador Kate Griswold found this lovely “A” on the CALS campus.
CALS Ambassador Kate Griswold found this lovely “A” on the CALS campus.
Gina Lewin, a grad student in Cameron Currie’s lab, spotted this “I” made out of honeycomb in the lab’s observation honeybee hive. Note the bees in the background!