The immersive summer program will last two weeks (14 days) and will involve a combination of front country (access to a car) and backcountry camping and hiking. During two five-day backcountry excursions, participants will engage in hands-on learning and will complete small scientific investigations of their own. Their trek will culminate in the completion of a scientific experiment of each participant’s own design, which she will present on the last day. A faculty advisor from the UC Davis School of Education specializing in environmental education will review the curriculum to ensure that it is scientifically accurate and effectively uses place-based learning techniques.

GOALS at UC Davis advances 4 main goals for its participants:

(1) Increase science literacy and content knowledge.
(2) Increase confidence in participants’ ability to pursue studies in science.
(3) Increase interest in pursuing outdoor activities.
(4) Increase self-awareness, teamwork, and leadership skills to enhance the
first three goals.

Learning objectives will include the following:

  • Activities to practice critical thinking, problem solving, and the scientific method.
  • Outdoor skills such as compass navigation.
  • Design of an independent experiment, and presentation of the results at the conclusion of the program.

GOALS is an outdoors experience that will expose you to hands-on science projects. GOALS means working in tight quarters with a 7 other girls. Some of the challenges you can expect include keeping a positive attitude, physical endurance (hiking for 6 miles with a 40 lb backpack), being away from home (and your phone) during the 2 week trip, getting along with your peers night and day, critters and dirt (your tent mate’s smelly socks), being asked questions that no one knows the answers to (welcome to science), and creative problems solving, to name a few. While some of these may sound a little scary, we believe they are also what make the experience so much fun and and such a great learning experience. We are confident that you will have fun and want to make the outdoors a bigger part of your life.