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Will Steger

Educator, Author, Entrepreneur, Environmental Issues and Eyewitness to the Effects of Climate Change

Will Steger is a polar explorer who has accomplished some of the most significant polar expeditions in history. Steger led the first confirmed dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply in 1986, the 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland (the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history) in 1988, and the historic seven-month, 3,741-mile International Trans-Antarctica…

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Will Steger is a polar explorer who has accomplished some of the most significant polar expeditions in history. Steger led the first confirmed dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply in 1986, the 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland (the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history) in 1988, and the historic seven-month, 3,741-mile International Trans-Antarctica Expedition in 1989–90.

Will is also an educator, author, entrepreneur and eyewitness to the effects of climate change. With his ability to blend extreme exploration and cutting-edge technology, Steger pioneered online education – reaching more than 20 million students via online daily journals and even delivering the first-ever transmission of digital photography from the North Pole.

Based on his unique eyewitness experience with climate change in the polar regions, he established the Will Steger Foundation in 2006. Now Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy, the Minneapolis-based nonprofit educates and empowers people to engage in solutions to climate change.

Steger received his B.S. in Geology and M.A. in Education at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, and taught science for three years at the secondary level. In 1970, he moved from his birthplace in suburban Minneapolis to the wilderness north of Ely, Minnesota. There he founded a winter school and developed innovative wilderness programs for 10 years. In 1991, Steger received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters, University of St. Thomas, and Honorary Doctorate of Science, Westminster College. He also holds Honorary Doctorates from Franklin Pierce University, Hamline University, and Northland College.

His unique ability to blend extreme exploration with cuttingedge technology, have allowed him to reach millions of people around the world, under some of the most hostile conditions on the planet and be a pioneer in online education. Over 20 million students followed the 1995 International Arctic Project via online daily journal entries and the first ever transmission of a digital photograph from the North Pole.

Steger’s pioneering work in adventurebased environmental education was pivotal as he founded the Global Center of Environmental Education at Hamline University and the World School for Adventure Learning at the University of St. Thomas in 1993. Steger joins Amelia Earhart, Robert Peary and Roald Amundsen in receiving the National Geographic Society’s prestigious John Oliver La Gorce Medal for “Accomplishments in Geographic Exploration, in the Sciences, and Public Service to Advance International Understanding” in 1995.

This was the first time the Society presented all three categories together and it has not been given since. In 1996, he became the National Geographic Society’s first Explorer-in-Residence. He received the Explorers Club’s Finn Ronne Memorial Award in 1997. In 2006, Steger joined Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Dr. Thor Heyerdahl and Neil Armstrong in receiving the Lindbergh Award.

Steger was given this award for “numerous polar expeditions, deep understanding of the environment and efforts to raise awareness of current environmental threats, especially climate change.” The same year Steger was appointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty to serve on the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group, a group charged with recommending a Climate Action Plan to substantially reduce Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2007, Steger received the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorers Club and the National Geographic Adventure Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on climate change.

In 2009, Steger received a Conservation Leadership Award from Conservation Minnesota Voter Center. In 2014, a Minnesota Senate Resolution honored his leadership and accomplishments for raising awareness of the urgency of climate change. Steger has been invited to testify before the United States Congress, as well as advising world leaders on the environmental protection of Antarctica. Drawing on his knowledge as an expedition leader, Steger designed the Steger Wilderness Center in Ely, MN, set in a pristine boreal forest wilderness ecosystem, to be a place for innovation in the fields of leadership, group dynamics and sustainability.

Based on his unique eyewitness experience with climate change, Steger established Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy in 2006, a Minneapolis, MN based nonprofit that educates and empowers people to engage in solutions to climate change. Steger is the author of four books: Over the Top of the World, Crossing Antarctica, North to the Pole and Saving the Earth.

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First Person Climate Change: Report From Baffin Island
In 2007, renowned climber Ed Viesturs and entrepreneur Richard Branson joined Steger, a team of Inuit hunters, and educators on a 1,200-mile, four-month-long dogsled expedition across the Canadian Arctic’s Baffin Island. Steger shares highlights of this expedition and an overview of what he and his team learned along the way.

Dogsled Dharma: The Secrets of Any Successful Expedition
Steger shares his success strategies as the leader of more than a dozen polar expeditions.

Going to the Edge and the Dramatic Changes He Has Seen During His Lifetime Traversing The Poles

A Conversation With Will Steger

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