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Twenty-five middle-school girls from 11 cities in Washington and Oregon are participating in the third annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.

Girls points to a location on a map laying on the ground.
GeoGirls learn about how the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens impacted the ecology of the area.(Credit: Liz Westby, USGS. Public domain.)

During July 30–August 3, the GeoGirls will spend five days conducting hands-on research and interacting with scientists, educators and older students, learning about volcanoes, natural hazards and modern scientific monitoring technologies. They will camp, 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.


Members of the news media are invited to observe hands-on research activities with GeoGirls program participants, and conduct interviews with students and program leaders.

During the hours of media availability, GeoGirls and researchers will analyze earthquake data from seismometers deployed earlier in the week, learn about lidar and map landslides on the shore of Coldwater Lake, collect data on sediments at Coldwater Lake, examine thin slices of rocks under a petrographic microscope and explore the ecology of the Hummocks Trail.


USGS Geologic Hazards Science Center and Cascades Volcano Observatory research scientists

Mount St. Helens Institute staff

Additional scientist-leaders from the Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State Univ., Riley Group, and City of Vancouver Water Resources Education Center

GeoGirls student participants


Wednesday, August 2, 2017, by appointment between 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. PDT


Coldwater Science and Learning Center

19000 Spirit Lake Hwy, Milepost 43.3, State Route 504 Toutle, Washington.


No later than August 1, 12 p.m. PDT, with your expected arrival time and to receive schedule updates. See contacts above.

The GeoGirls program is offered through the Mount St. Helens Institute and is free to student participants through the generosity of numerous volunteers and private donors, along with grant funding from National Science Foundation, the American Association of University Women, the Association for Women Geoscientists, Chevron, Clark County Empower women + girls, and Prana. This is the third summer of the GeoGirls program, which is expected to continue in 2018.

Female scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Mount St. Helens Institute, U.S. Forest Service, Dept. of Energy NETL/AECOM, Washington Dept. of Natural Resources, Oregon Dept. of Transportation, City of Vancouver Water Resources Education Center, Central Washington Univ., Eastern Washington Univ., Oklahoma State Univ., Oregon State Univ., Portland State Univ., Univ. of Nebraska Lincoln, Univ. of Oregon, Univ. of Washington, ARCADIS and Riley Group, will participate as leaders, teachers and role models.

This year, GeoGirls participants are from Crane, Keizer, Portland, Salem (Oregon) and Chehalis, Mount Vernon, Napavine, Ridgefield, Seattle, Toutle, Vancouver (Washington). The five high school mentors hail from Monroe High School (Snohomish), Mount Vernon High School (Mount Vernon), Skyview High School (Vancouver), HeLa High School (Vancouver), and Benson Polytechnic High School (Portland). Middle school teachers represent Monroe School District (Kenmore, WA), Evergreen School District (Ridgefield) and Jane Addams Middle School (Seattle). This year, a high-school mentor from the first GeoGirls field camp returns as an adult volunteer, paying it forward.

More information is available online.

Three girls sit on rocks and look at a computer screen.
Geogirls use computers in the field to track locations and annotate field photos.(Credit: Carolyn Driedger, USGS. Public domain.)