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 for over 50 years, leading teams on some of the most significant polar expeditions in history.
Will Steger’s Biography
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 in 1988 (the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history), and the first dogsled traverse of Antarctica in 1989–1990 (the historic seven-month, 3,741-mile International Trans-Antarctica Expedition).
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 empowers individuals and their communities to engage in solutions to climate change.
Drawing on his knowledge as an expedition leader and educator, 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 breakthrough innovation. The center is built as 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, MN, 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 wellbeing, Steger has been invited twice to testify before the United States Congress, as well as advise world leaders on the environmental protection of Antarctica. Each year, Steger gives more than 100 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.
Read more about Will Steger’s legacy on his personal website.
Will Steger embarked on a solo journey across the Canadian Barren Lands in March through June to finish his 2018 expedition. Dive into his dispatches from the Arctic during the 2018 expedition.
Climate Generation’s Eyewitness Expeditions
From 2006-2008, Climate Generation and Will Steger executed eyewitness expeditions through the Global Warming 101 Initiative to document people and places impacted by climate change in the Canadian Arctic:
Our goal was to use young explorers as a vehicle to motivate their generation and peers to get engaged in climate change.
Our goal was to put a human voice and cultural face on the issue through the eyes of the Inuit communities and our eyewitness expedition team.