Girls on Ice programs are TUITION FREE wilderness science expeditions for teenage girls 16-18 years old. It is different from typical technical mountaineering courses and different from science "summer camps" in that we truly integrate the wilderness challenge with the intellectual challenge.

The core philosophy of Girls on Ice includes:

A more detailed description of the Girls on Ice philosophy is on our "about" page and in several articles on our "press" page:

  • We aim for 16-18 year old girls because they are nearing a transition point in their life and we want to give them the confidence and self-awareness to make the decisions that will be right for them (for example, not what their friends, are doing not what their parents think they should do).
  • We have found 12 days is the minimum to develop their confidence, to build strong relationships, and to maximize the science learning.
  • Girls on Ice instructors are professional working scientists, artists, and wilderness guides - providing role models for the girls in addition to instruction.
  • Girls on Ice challenges the girls physically, intellectually, and socially/emotionally (leadership). This tripartite of challenges allows girls to transfer their confidence in one of these areas to the other areas. Each expedition has a "peak" experience in each of these areas that they spend time building up to over the course of the week. For example, the peak experience for the physical challenge is climbing to the summit crater on Mount Baker and looking into the steaming crater of an active volcano. The peak experience intellectually is the public presentation on the results of their research project at the end of the program.
  • We teach to the whole girl; her background, past experiences, passions, and interests all affect the lenses through which she will learn new concepts. We take the time to get to know the girls lives.
  • We really really challenge the girls - no "kid gloves" here. This is often the hardest thing they have done in life, even for the super athletes and super academics. We want to push them outside of their comfort zone - push them outside their physical comfort zone, their intellectual comfort zone, and their social leadership comfort zone. But we are there by their side, so they can take those personal risks with someone they trust.
  • We teach that the best discoveries in life come when we step outside those comfort zones.
  • We combine science, art, technical, and leadership skills to show the girls that the power of exploration stems from this integration.
  • We teach science and art through hands on inquiry methods. We first teach them to observe, then question, then experiment. We build the science around the girls' interests. We integrate all the science of local environment - geology, chemistry, physics, biology.
  • We devote as much time to mentoring the girls, both during and after the program, as we do to teaching them content.
  • We select a team that is diverse in all ways: ethnically, culturally, academically, and artistically.
  • We select each girl based on whether we feel Girls on Ice will impact her life, not based on her academics or honors. "Girls on Ice is not a reward for past academic achievement, but an inspiration for future success."
  • No experience is necessary, scientifically or athletically. We have taken girls who have done little more than walk around the block and helped them successful summit Mount Baker.
  • We do not expect all girls to become scientists in the future, but we do want them to become critical thinkers, observers, listeners, and advocates for the scientific process.
  • We teach a single gender program to give the girls space to be dirty, strong, smart - to be who they are - without the complications of a mixed gender camping and mountaineering program.
  • We provide this program tuition free (rather than tuition plus scholarship) because evidence has shown that even with scholarships available girls from families that can't afford a program just won't apply. Also, by being tuition free, we get free "marketing" through many people's willingness to share the information.

Girls on Ice is a life-changing experience not just a science camp

it has changed the lives of nearly 200 girls since 1999.

We want to provide this kind of experience for more girls through a variety of courses - but we want your creativity and ideas to help grow the program!

We are looking for female scientists who are interested in taking leadership roles in developing new programs based on the successful Girls on Ice philosophy. We are also looking for professional artists or wilderness guides who are interested in teaming up with a scientist to develop a program - we can provide help with connecting potential leadership teams.

This workshop will be open to 8 to 10 women, on an application process. We especially encourage, senior graduate students, post docs, and early career scientists. We also invite industry or agency/non-profit scientists!

The workshop is free and we have some support for travel (see details below).

Workshop Application

Letter of Intent - No due date, but it starts the conversation.

This will allow us to provide feedback and support in the application process. Click APPLY

Between April 16 and May 1, I am happy to schedule a conference call with you to discuss your sketched out ideas. Please submit a letter of intent first.

Application/Proposal - Due May 15, 2015. Click APPLY

The proposal should include the following (we are happy to answer questions as you pull these pieces together!)

  • Program title (proposed)
  • Summary of science/art content
  • Summary of wilderness context and suggested logistics
  • Why should this program idea be funded?
  • Your background in field teaching/research (we may request your cv in the review process)
  • The ideal expertise of the instructor team
  • Your wilderness experience
  • Existing support (verbal, equipment loans, volunteer time, funding)
  • Estimated budget (we know this will be off, just do your best, and ask us questions)

meals and lodging will be covered during the workshop. Limited funding is available for your travel to Seattle.

Example program ideas:

  • River:  kayaking coupled with headwaters to delta river exploration - fluvial geomorphology and ecology.
  • Rain Forest:  tree canopy exploration - ecology, chemistry and physics. 
  • Desert: Rock climbing and desert ecosystem.
  • Ocean: Sea kayaking and marine science (tropics or arctic)
  • Human Communities of the High Mountains: Tibet or Nepal.
  • Winter: Backcountry ski touring and snow science

Or... if you have new ideas and interest in helping expand the "original" Girls on Ice - with more funding and more talented instructors, we can offer more than two Girls on Ice programs!

Workshop Schedule (subject to change)

  1. Meet in Seattle, drive to Mount Baker, camp at Schriebners Meadows trailhead. 
    1. Introductions
    2. Overview of Girls on Ice Program structure
    3. Overview of each program idea of participants
  2. Hike to basecamp and meet Girls on Ice 2015 team help them hike out, camp at Schreibners Meadows
    1. Observe the instructor student interactions
    2. Talk with girls to understand the experience from their perspective
    3. Afternoon/Evening discussion of program teaching/mentoring concepts
  3. Day hike to Room with a View, then drive to Learning Center, watch girls presentations. Camp near Diablo Lake.
    1. Field safety concepts
    2. Field teaching concepts and approaches
  4. Drive over pass to Winthrop, WA, stay in cabin
    1. Morning reflection on girls presentations, closure activities
    2. Afternoon specifics of program logistics - make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Flush out your ideas in detail.
  5. Day 1 at Cabin
    1. Program funding support - what do you need, where can you get it?
    2. Curriculum design
  6. Day 2 at Cabin
    1. Program Safety/Risk Management specifics
    2. Program Permitting issues
    3. Program Application and Selection process
  7. Drive back to Seattle, fly home.
    1. Morning final discussion, action items for each program
    2. List of questions to still be answered
  8. Continue discussion and build support network in online forums and monthly conference calls.