Inspiring Girls Expeditions at UAF

Empowering young women to lead and succeed through science, art, and wilderness exploration

Designed for 16- and 17-year-old girls, these 12-day, tuition-free wilderness programs weave scientific investigation, artistic inquiry, and backcountry travel on trips led by female-identifying instructor teams.

Program goals

  • Increase the participation and diversity of women in field sciences, art, and outdoor recreation
  • Foster young women’s self-confidence in their physical, intellectual, and leadership abilities while creating lifelong advocates for Earth science and wilderness stewardship
  • Support a network for current early-career scientists, artists, and guides through continuing development opportunities and collaborations

Inspiring Girls in Alaska

Inspiring Girls Expeditions began in 1999 with the creation of our flagship mountaineering program, Girls on Ice, in Washington State.

In 2012, with support from the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center, a second Girls on Ice expedition was launched in Alaska primarily for Alaskan girls. The program has since grown to include Girls in Icy Fjords and the Alaska EPSCoR-supported Girls on Water, two sea kayaking expeditions. Each year, these teams camp in, explore, and study the respective landscapes of the Alaska Range’s Gulkana Glacier, Northwestern Fjord near Seward, Alaska, and Southcentral Alaska’s Kachemak Bay. Teams are led by a group of graduate students and early career scientists, artists, and guides, providing a unique and intensive professional development opportunity.

Each day brings science lessons, wilderness excursions, art activities, and self-designed science projects. After a week in the backcountry, the teams spend their last 2 days at learning institutes of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where they publicly present their scientific findings.


  • Girls on Ice Alaska—observing the changing alpine landscape of the Gulkana Glacier (since 2012)
  • Girls in Icy Fjords—exploring the interactions between glacial and marine ecosystems—launched in Seward (since 2017)
  • Girls on Water—exploring coastal ecosystems in Kachemak Bay (since 2019)
  • Girls in the Forest—investigating fire regimes in Interior Alaska boreal forests (coming 2021)

All expeditions are tuition-free.

Program contacts

Visit the Inspiring Girls website to learn more.