Girls Summer Science Camp

Two high school researchers searching for terrestrial insects in a Sierra meadow.


Headwaters Girls Summer Science Camp combines a unique educational experience with a fun and supportive all female summer camp. This transformative event aims to help more girls become leaders in the sciences.

Location: Truckee, CA, Campers stay at Webber Lake at the Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT) campground. 

Duration: 6-Days 5-Nights

Who: All girls entering 9th-12th grades

Drop off: Sunday July 15, 2018 at 4:00pm at the Webber Lake Campground

Pick up: Friday July 20, 2018 afternoon at 2:00pm at the Webber Lake Campground

Cost: $700

Scholarships: Applications due June 1st by 4pm. Apply here.  We encourage students to register for camp, and we will refund you any scholarship money you earn. We will save some openings in camp for scholarship recipients, but we encourage you to enroll when you can.

Register here

Digital Flyer

Program Overview

Three San Francisco University High School Girls measuring water quality in Van Norden Meadow.

Learning about variation in water quality across a Sierra meadow.

The camp is centered around participants working in small groups to complete an independent scientific research project. Campers will ask scientific questions then design and conduct experiments to test their questions. Female scientists will offer mentorship throughout this process. The camp will culminate with students giving a scientific presentation about their research to their peers. Students will interact with local female scientists and research that is being done around Truckee area. They will learn current research methods that can be incorporated into their own research.Each day, in addition to their research, students will have opportunities to explore, swim, and kayak on Webber Lake. 


Meg Seifert, Headwaters’ executive director, will lead the camp.  Meg has a PhD in Biology and is passionate about science education. She will be assisted by MaryEllen Benier, Headwaters program assistant, as well as many PhD graduate students  from UNR and UC Davis. The camp will be fully staffed with female scientists who will not only provide excellent program instruction, but also serve as role models of success in the sciences. They will help guide the projects and teach the students about their own work as well.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check in Sunday afternoon

A high school student from Quarry Lane measuring trees as part of her research project on tree growth.

Researching tree growth and drought.

Campers will arrive at Webber Lake Campground in the afternoon and get settled into camp before dinner at 6 pm. Between 4 and 6 pm, there will be a few science activities campers can drop in on as they arrive.  There will also be time for a swim.

Evening Program: After dinner we will have an evening session with background on the ecology of Lacey Meadow and the Webber Lake area. We will give campers a primer for the process of conducting scientific research. They will have time to play a few games and get to know each other.  

Day 2: Research Question Development

After breakfast students will hike to Lacey Meadow where a local female scientist along with Headwaters instructors and scientists will lead them in an exploration of wetland ecology and the many organisms living there. We will learn about the research going on in the meadow and learn some of the techniques used (telemetry, restoration, census work). Lunch will be in the field. In the afternoon campers will be guided through the process of asking original scientific questions and how design feasible experiments to test them. Some groups will collect preliminary data.

Evening Program: The girls will have dinner with the female scientists they worked with during the day. Each scientist will share more about her research and talk about how she became involved in the sciences. Campers will work in groups to review their hypotheses and create data collection goals. They will have time to talk about their ideas with the scientists.

Day 3: Data Collection

A Quarry Lane student learning about soil moisture during her school field trip to the Sierra.

Researching soil pH and vegetation.

In the morning groups work on collecting data for their research projects. Instructors will help students navigate the hiccups that come with field data collection. In the afternoon campers will kayak on Webber Lake. Groups doing comparative studies can collect samples from the lake.

Evening Program: After dinner, we will have a local female scientist give a talk about her research.  After the talk, the girls will have time for a Q&A session and continue work on their projects.  The girls will go on an evening hike to learn about the nocturnal animals and stars.

Day 4: Service work and Data Collection Continued

Morning: The groups will do service work at the campground or trails around Webber Lake. We want to give back to the natural space we are using. Lunch will be in the field. They will have time in the afternoon to collect more data as needed. They will also enjoy free time to hike, swim, or kayak. 

Evening Program: Groups will check in with their instructors about the progress made towards their data collection goal and update the goal if need be. They will have time to play camp games and have a campfire when they are all caught up with their projects.  We will have 30 minutes of quiet meditation time to enjoy the stars before bed.

Day 5: Data Collection and Synthesis

A student diligently recording her data during her class field trip to Donner Summit.

Diligently writing down data about soil and tree growth.

In the morning, groups will work on their final data collection. After lunch groups will begin to evaluate the data they collected and start graphing their results. Instructors will walk campers through how they, and scientists, can analyze their data with basic statistical analyses. Campers will also work in their groups to create a scientific poster about their research

Evening Program: Once projects are completed, we will end the evening with a campfire skits and s’mores!

Day 6: Final Presentations

If groups need more time, they can finish working on their scientific poster. Instructors will help students practice their presentations. Any groups that are done will have time to hike, swim, or kayak. After lunch groups will present their research projects. Each group will field questions following their presentation. Parents and interested TDLT partners are invited to the presentation session.


This camp is in partnership with the Truckee Donner Land Trust

TDLT logo

This camp is supported by: