In March 2008, six emerging leaders, ages 21–28 from four countries, including the US, Norway, Great Britain and Canada, will join Will Steger on a 1,400 mile dogsled expedition across Ellesmere Island, in collaboration with National Geographic Society, the International Polar Year and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
Our team will follow in the footsteps of legendary polar explorers: Robert Peary, Matthew Henson, Frederick Cook and Norwegian legend, Otto Sverdrup. An area considered the front lines of global warming, they will visit ice shelves that have collapsed and those that are on the brink of collapse to document and bear witness to the disintegrating ice shelves, the retreating glaciers and the destruction of wildlife habitat. Crossing fjords, mountain ranges, ice shelves, ice caps and sea ice, the Expedition Team will record the impact global warming has had on the third largest island in the Canadian Arctic and northernmost tip of the North American continent, only 490 miles from the North Pole. The 2008 Ellesmere Island Expedition will inspire and mobilize the next generation of adventurers and eyewitnesses to global warming.
There is no better time than now for this expedition: the Ward Ice Shelf experienced a major breakup during the summer of 2002 and the Ayles Ice Island calved entirely in August 2005. The team will visit the Ayles Ice Island at its new location, which as of, October 2007, had broken again and drifted further south. Using expedition journals and archived photos, the team will retrace historical routes to examine how conditions have changed due to global warming. The content will be rich in imagery and history for the avid historian or adventurer.
During the 60-day dogsled journey, the team will use innovative technologies to post short video, images, sounds and text to the www.globalwarming101.com website, with shared content in blog and podcast formats. Each expedition dispatch will be featured alongside an action story of an emerging leader working to slow global warming. Stories from the team members’ perspective on Ellesmere and young leaders building a movement to slow global warming one person at a time — from campuses, to workplaces, to individual lifestyle changes — will showcase how this generation is mobilizing and acting to make a difference. Online participants, students, teachers and emerging leaders will integrate the educational components developed by the team into their participation in the expedition through research and discussion. The archived images, photo gallery, sounds and stories will illustrate the dramatic climate-related changes happening in the Arctic: starving wildlife like the Peary caribou, retreating pack ice, melting glaciers, and the unraveling of historical ice sheets and changes in polar history.
The expedition route will leave Resolute via dogsled, across Norwegian Bay to Eureka Sound. Traveling up the western shore, the team will spend time on the northern coast visiting the area where the Ayles and Ward Hunt ice shelves were located, returning over mountains to Lake Hazen, then across the Agassiz Ice Cap to the village of Grise Fjord for a cultural study. The team will cross back to Resolute, completing their journey.
Click Here to download the Ellesmere Expedition Overview (PDF)