Since its founding in 2016, The Cairn Project’s grants have expanded access to outdoor programs for girls in Alaska, California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Montana - funding has helped get more young women out backpacking, kayaking, biking, climbing, and experiencing the power of outdoor adventure. You can learn more about their grant program here.

The Cairn Project’s mandate is to channel more financial resources to stellar groups leading environmental and outdoor education programs for young women. As it brings together a broad community of support under the banner of “more young women outside,” The Cairn Project supports emerging, volunteer-run groups and increases scholarship funding for landmark opportunities such as Girls On Ice, the nation’s leading outdoor science expedition program for young women.

The Cairn Project was started by Sarah Castle and Alison Wright, two women whose friendship has been fueled by outdoor adventures near and far. Their 2016 thru-hike of the 220-mile John Muir Trail served as the impetus for this new endeavor, dreamed up as a way "pass on" the gifts of adventure to younger women. Sarah, a soil scientist, and Alison, who directs a philanthropic fund supporting environmental activists in developing countries, both have derived huge personal and professional inspiration from their time in wild places. Melding their backgrounds and passions, The Cairn Project is rooted in their personal knowledge that outdoor experiences can be transformative - seeding self-esteem, inner strength, and the tenacity to embrace the unexpected.