Inspiring Girls Expeditions provides this list to offer some ideas for you should you be ineligible due to age or gender, or if you simply were not chosen for this year's team (please keep trying if you remain eligible!). We are not affiliated with these programs, and do not necessarily advocate these over other programs. This is just a sampling to get you started thinking about different opportunities! We wish you luck in following your passion!
The BRIGHT Girls program is a hands-on learning experience where girls do authentic science in the field and laboratory alongside scientists. In Fairbanks, girls explore salmon and the rivers where they live, while in Juneau, girls explore harbor seals and the glacial fjord habitat. Come join us to navigate rivers or fjords, learn new skills, have outdoor adventures, and make new friends! Bright Girls is a non-residential program, so applicants must live in either location or have friends or family who can host them. Girls who are rising 9th-12th graders are eligible.
Alaska Summer Research Academy
The Alaska Summer Research Academy (ASRA) is a fun two week academic experience offered by the College of Natural Science and Mathematics in cooperation with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and industry partners. ASRA provides an opportunity for students in grades 8-12 to live on the UAF campus and work with university faculty, staff, and industry professionals. Field research is often part of the experience. Learning happens quickly when a student is deeply engaged in the subject matter. If the topic is interesting and challenging, and the student is allowed to interact and play to discover their own solutions and answers, learning will be deep and rewarding. ASRA emphasizes exploration and creativity as part of the learning process.
Student Conservation Association
The SCA provides high school students, college students, and others with meaningful conservation service internships and other outdoor/environmental/scientific opportunities. There are incredible opportunities in this program for being a part of a trail crew, a science field assistant, leading high school crews, and tons more! Take the time to look through their website. This is a great introduction to conservation/recreation focused government agencies like the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management.
Juneau Icefield Research Project
The American Geographic Society established the Juneau Icefield Research Project (JIRP) in the late 1940s to study glacial formation, botany, geology and many other related topics. Presently, the Foundation for Glacier and Environmental Research manages this project, continuing research while providing combined academic and field training for educators, university students and high school students. Evolving from Dr. Maynard Miller’s search to find a prototype area to study Alaska’s coastal glaciers and trends in climatic change, the foundation encourages young scientists to integrate academic learning with field experience. Every summer students and scientists pursue research on the Juneau Icefield at several of the fifteen permanent icefield camps, some of which are visible from flights over the icefield. Aided by skis and crampons, participants cross the icefield from Juneau to Atlin, British Columbia, and conduct field investigations focusing on the effects of climate change on the icefield. Many of the program’s alumni have pursued careers related to research in the natural sciences. Typically runs July 1 – August 24.
North Cascades Institute
From four-day retreats to free half-day paddles, there are many ways to participate in the North Cascades Institute programs. Learn the natural and cultural history of the region on a field seminar or join them for a one-night speaker series event at the Learning Center. The Learning Center Day Trips are free, half-day adventures in the North Cascades. There are also internship and other opportunities available. For example, they have the mountain school internship program, a paid position, where you teach 5th grade science and environmental education.
Alaska Wrangell Mountains Field Studies
The Alaska Wrangell Mountains Field Studies in Alaska is an intensive, field-based, and interdisciplinary academic course in environmental studies. Our study area is in the middle of the world’s largest complex of internationally protected wilderness lands. Glaciation, volcanism, erosion and ecological succession are exposed and active, making it an ideal natural laboratory in which to study Alaska’s dynamic landscapes, while the history of preservation and development of this region provide a rich example of environmental history and policy. The isolated community of McCarthy, which existed before park creation and now finds itself within the largest national park in the USA, is our home base. Here the intersection of rapid environmental change, national conservation policy, and subsistence livelihoods are part of daily life, engaging students as investigators and participants in nuanced park-people conflicts as well as small-scale solutions to living off-grid in community.
Earn a full semester of academic credit and experience 7 weeks in remote Alaska for the about same tuition (or less) than you’d pay on campus!
The program may serve as a field course requirement or an interdisciplinary alternative to single-subject field camps in geology or ecology and may help students meet graduation requirements in those subjects.
For other programs at the Wrangell Mountains Center, see their main webpage: Wrangells
Teton Science School
The Teton Science Schools were founded in 1967. Since that time we have been educating, training and inspiring students of all ages about the natural world. We enjoy a reputation as an innovative environmental education center, and our programs serve as models worldwide. Teton Science Schools’ Kelly Campus in Grand Teton National Park serves as home for our Graduate Program and a wide variety of youth-oriented educational programs.
National Outdoor Leadership School
NOLS, a non-profit school, has 40 years of experience and curriculum development. They offer a wide range of courses and are the leader in the industry for this kind of trip. As a NOLS graduate, you will have everything you need to lead others in the backcountry. You will have the outdoor skills for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and the leadership ability you need to excel at work or in the classroom. These courses do cost money, but can be used for college credits. Also, they have an excellent scholarship and financial aid program. NOLS’ college credit program is unparalleled in wilderness education. More than 75 percent of NOLS students who are of college age take their NOLS course for college credit. Students have successfully transferred the credits to over 400 colleges around the country.
Outward Bound is a non-profit educational organization with five core programs that change lives, build teams, and transform schools. We deliver adventure in the wilderness, urban settings, workrooms, and classrooms to help students achieve their possibilities, and to inspire them to serve others and care for the world around them. Our programs are similar to those of NOLS, and emphasize interpersonal relations and leadership. There are also good financial aid, scholarship, and college credit options.
GirlVentures was founded by two Bay Area women who met at the Harvard School of Education and studied the transition from childhood to adolescence among girls. They found that girls faced multiple emotional, physical and social challenges and that underserved girls from urban, low-income communities in particular need extra support and mentorship to foster the self-confidence, perseverance, and sense of community needed for academic, social and career success. Outdoor education, they found, and single-gender outdoor education in particular, fosters the positive qualities that girls need in order to face the challenges posed by the transitions of the teenage years. Our transformative courses are designed to empower girls to Live Healthy, Relate Wisely to others and the environment, and Lead Confidently. GirlVentures' Approach follows a Leadership Progression Model, where girls grow and learn through each grade and course.
Girls Outdoor Resources
The Girls Outdoor Resources website lists programs around the country that provide outdoor and experiential education for girls!
Go! Girls Outdoors
GO! Girls Outdoors is a website for anyone (including men) interested in the issues facing women in outdoor education and recreation. Here you will find a discussion forum, information, profiles of people, organizations and events, stories, interviews and trip reports and links to help you find further information.
School for Field Studies
Founded in 1980, The School for Field Studies (SFS) is one of the country’s oldest and largest undergraduate environmental study abroad programs. Through our network of field stations, we have been teaching students how to address critical environmental problems using an interdisciplinary, experiential approach to education. We take our students out of the classroom and into communities around the world to explore and examine the interdependent cultural, economic and ecological aspects of real-world problems. In the end, our students leave their SFS program with a deeper understanding of the complexity of environmental issues, and a unique perspective on what it really takes to develop long-term conservation solutions.
AmeriCorps programs have a diverse group of members numbering over 20,000. The AmeriCorps*NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a one year program for people age 18-24 to live on one of five campuses. You perform community services, and after a year you receive an education grant that can be spent on classes or other educational materials.
Earthwatch is an international non-profit organization supporting scientific field research and offering members of the public the opportunity to work with distinguished scientists.
Semester at Sea
Semester at Sea is a comparative study abroad program that takes college students to Europe, China, India, Africa, South America and Australia.
SEA Education Association (SEA) offers college students a study abroad that challenges them intellectually and physically by combining a sailing adventure of a lifetime with the study of the deep ocean. Tons of marine research projects.
Wildlands Studies field projects are exciting and challenging opportunities. For the past 36 years participants have joined backcountry study teams as working field associates, helping field researchers search for answers to important environmental problems. Your team will be small in size. In most cases there will be no more than 9-16 team members working with the project leader.
American Field School
AFS-USA works towards a more just and peaceful world by providing international and intercultural learning experiences to individuals, families, schools, and communities through a global volunteer partnership.
Geological Society of America Geocorps
Geocorps hosts a variety of positions (in different times of year). Most are for upper level undergraduate students or recent graduates and graduate students. You work at a BLM, National Forest Service, National Park, etc. location for ~3 months. For some of these positions, it is ok if you are not actively in school anymore.
NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program
The NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program gives you the opportunity to work in a national lab. A variety of science and engineering projects are available. Some may be available for non-US citizens.
GeoGirls is a geology and technology field camp for middle school girls at the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington State. GeoGirls spend five days conducting hands-on research and interacting with women scientists, educators and older students, learning about volcanoes, natural hazards and scientific monitoring technologies. GeoGirls camp at Mount St. Helens, hike to field sites, work on research projects with scientists and learn how to document and share their scientific findings by building a public webpage. The goal of the program is for GeoGirls participants to emerge with a stronger understanding and connection to Earth systems and feel confident in choosing careers in science, technology, engineering, math or other STEM-related fields. The GeoGirls program is jointly organized by the USGS and the Mount St. Helens Institute and is free to student participants through the generosity of numerous volunteers and private donors.
Cascade Mountain School
Cascade Mountain School, a program of the Mt. Adams Institute, is an outdoor science school located at the base of Mt. Adams in the Columbia River Gorge. At Cascade Mountain School, we offer a dynamic learning environment, one in which senses are enlivened and academics become relevant to daily life. We cultivate our ability to study nature and the world around us holistically, in all its complexity, through a "systems thinking" lens. Cascade Mountain School's programs are grounded in ecological and community values, using the human and ecological communities of Trout Lake, Washington, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mt. Adams Wilderness, Yakama Nation, and the Columbia River Gorge for exploration. Students and staff explore the interconnected dimensions of the Gorge--wilderness, agriculture, natural resource, industry, transportation, energy, and native communities--through hands-on science, research, backpacking, tinkering, mindfulness practices, and more. High school and college science credit is available for select programs. Environmental stewardship and exciting adventures are incorporated into our programs for participants ages 6-18.
Girls Adventure in Leadership and Science (GALS)
GALS is a free summer science program for high school students to engage with science while backpacking through the wilderness. GALS was created to increase hands-on science opportunities for students who identify as female or gender nonconforming, students of color, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and other groups underrepresented in fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
In Summer 2018, GALS will run sessions in multiple states – we encourage you to apply to the program specific for your location. During this two week experience, you will learn ecology, earth science, and other topics by exploring your surroundings with local scientists . This mentally, physically, and academically challenging trip rewards you with a deep understanding of your natural surroundings and your own leadership strengths.
GALS strives to cultivate a passion for environmental science and stewardship, develop leadership abilities, enhance critical thinking skills, and promote teamwork. This program provides you with the unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in science and experiential education while immersed in a supportive community of peers.
- As a high school or college student, contact individual professors in the fields you are interested in and at the universities you might consider. This is a great way to select a university and to get connected with research projects at the undergraduate level. Most professors are happy to talk to someone who is interested in their research.
- Look up REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates), often sponsored by the National Science Foundation (funding many scientific disciplines including glaciology).
- Go to departments at local universities that you are interested in. They often have resources listing potential internships, field programs, and job opportunities. There are also study abroad opportunities in most universities.
- Get involved locally with environmental organizations. There are countless volunteer, education, and internship opportunities here. It is also a great way to get involved with some of the local issues and see the impact of your work.
- Many federal and state government offices take students in to the field with them including the US Geological Survey, National Park Service, and the Department of Natural Resources.
- There are numerous websites that serve as clearing houses for environmental jobs, internships and other opportunities. These sites require some time and commitment. Start with the internship page and revisit it often (e.g. Ecojobs Or this one for Biology)
- Exchange programs: Many universities host amazing exchange programs that you can do regardless of which University you go to. Examples of this are the Boston University Study abroad or Evergreen College.
- Look for National Park Institutes (like the North Cascade Institute) at nearby parks for similar programs and opportunities.