GALS was initiated in 2016 at Duke University to address the lack of free, hands-on, place-based science programs available for female high school students of color, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and students from rural areas (https://sciencegals.org/). GALS provides enhanced science and leadership learning opportunities for students in an outdoor setting. The first season of GALS was run in the summer of 2017 in North Carolina with one two-week session for eight participants. The program has since been expanded to several locations around the country - supported by universities and one non-profit. Each program focuses on local ecology and regional environmental management issues.