A formidable voice calling for understanding and the preservation of the Arctic, and the Earth, Will Steger is best known for his legendary polar explorations. He has traveled tens of thousands of miles by kayak and dogsled over 50 years, leading teams on 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 led the first dogsled traverse of Antarctica (the historic seven month, 3,741-mile International Trans-Antarctica Expedition) in 1989–90.
Will Steger 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 Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy in 2006 (formerly the Will Steger Foundation), a Minneapolis, MN based nonprofit that educates and empowers people to engage in solutions to climate change.
Drawing on his knowledge as an expedition leader and educator, Will Steger has designed the Steger Wilderness Center in Ely, MN, dedicated to solving the problems of our age at a place that inspires clarity and break-through innovation. It is built to be a living example of ecological stewardship, a demonstration center for devising new solutions to the seemingly intractable issues we collectively face.
Steger joined 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 these three categories together and this award has not been given since. Steger holds a Bachelor of Science in geology and Master of Arts in education from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, in addition to five Honorary Doctorates.
In 1996, he became the National Geographic Society’s first Explorer-in- Residence and 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.” In 2007, National Geographic Adventure presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on climate change.
A recognized authority on polar environmental issues and ceaseless advocate for the Earth’s well being, Steger has been invited twice to testify before the United States Congress, as well as advising world leaders on the environmental protection of Antarctica. Each year, Steger gives more than 100 invited presentations on his eyewitness perspective.
Steger is the author of four books: Over the Top of the World, Crossing Antarctica, North to the Pole and Saving the Earth.
Steger Wilderness Center, Ely MN – Read more about the Center here
Located in the Northwoods of Ely, Minnesota close to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Steger Wilderness Center provides both the setting and the framework of facilitated meetings and experiential learning, bringing together leaders of all ages to consider personal and community-based solutions that will transform obstacles into opportunities. Will Steger established a Trust in 2013 to preserve his legacy, drawing on the power of a wilderness setting to bring people together and form a community to solve our most pressing problems. The Trust includes Will Steger’s archives, including his historical expedition archives, a pristine boreal forest wilderness ecosystem, and the Steger Wilderness Center, in order to provide a place for game-changing innovation in the fields of group dynamics, education and environmental sustainability.
Will Steger – www.willsteger.com
Will Steger’s personal website with an overview of his legacy.