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Ann Bancroft          

Pioneering Polar Explorer; Educator & Dyslexia Advocate; Activist for Women & Girls

Ann Bancroft is a polar explorer and an internationally recognized leader. She is passionate about inspiring women and girls worldwide to pursue their dreams. Bancroft, an explorer, educator, and public speaker shares her experiences of outdoor adventure to motivate her audiences. She also teaches at Wilderness Inquiry and co-owns an exploration company, Bancroft Arnesen Explore, alongside Liv Arnesen.

Bancroft's leadership and teamwork skills have been tested during her polar expeditions, providing her with opportunities to challenge female stereotypes. Her tenacity and courage have earned Bancroft worldwide recognition. She has been named among Glamour magazine's "Women of the Year" (2001), inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame (1995), named Ms. magazine's "Woman of the Year" (1987), and honored with numerous other awards for her accomplishments. Bancroft's expeditions have included crossing the Ganges River in India, traversing Greenland, traveling to the North Pole, and crossing the South Pole. She was the first woman to reach the North Pole on foot and by sled and led the first all-female expedition to the South Pole on skis. Notably, Bancroft and Liv Arnesen became the first women to ski across Antarctica. Furthermore, she has participated in expeditions to draw attention to global issues such as global warming.

Bancroft is the first known woman in history to cross the ice to the North and South Poles. In 1986, Bancroft dogsledded 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from the Northwest Territories in Canada to the North Pole as the only female member of the Steger International Polar Expedition. In 1993, she led the American Women’s Expedition to the South Pole, a 67-day expedition of 660 miles (1,060 km) on skis by four women. In February 2001, Bancroft and Norwegian polar explorer Liv Arnesen became the first women in history to sail and ski across Antarctica’s landmass – completing a 1,717-mile (2,747 km) trek in 94 days. During these journeys, she maintained contact with children worldwide via the internet.

Bancroft's additional achievements include founding and leading the Ann Bancroft Foundation, a nonprofit organization that celebrates the existing and potential achievements of women and girls. The foundation, established in 1991, supports the Wilderness Inquiry group. She has also participated in the Great River Race organized by Wilderness Inquiry. As an author, Bancroft has written several books, including "Four to the Pole!" and "No Horizon Is So Far." Her work has been recognized by being included in the 2005 Amelia Bloomer List.

Diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, Bancroft appeared in Ennis’ Gift, a film about learning differences. The film, produced by the Ennis Cosby Foundation, features celebrities who have dealt with learning disabilities. Bancroft is openly bisexual and has campaigned against a proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages or civil unions. She also has been featured in various publications and media outlets, including an appearance on NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" show.

Speech Topics

Taking Risks to Achieve Your Dreams

The Challenge of Adapting to Change

Lessons from the South Pole: Leadership and Teamwork


Explorer Ann Bancroft Visits Marine Elementary School
Marine Elementary School students were visited by a very special guest last week for participating in PowerUp’s WinterWarm-Up Challenge. World-famous author, teacher and adventurer Ann Bancroft visited Marine Elementary School to celebrate their Winter Warm-Up Challenge.
Explorer talks to students about dreams; Ann Bancroft comes to AHS for Women’s History Month
Ann Bancroft, an educator and explorer, was at Austin High School Tuesday morning giving a presentation about her travels through Antarctica to celebrate Women’s History month.
Polar explorer Ann Bancroft took on education mission
When Ann Bancroft was dog sledding 1,000 miles from the Northwest Territories to the North Pole in 1986 as part of the Steger International Polar Expedition, she didn't think much about being the only woman on a team that included seven men and 49 male sled dogs.
Polar explorer Ann Bancroft plans return to Arctic
Polar explorer Ann Bancroft is planning to head back to the Arctic in March, this time through Canada.
Ann Bancroft reflects upon her polar adventures and announces her next stop — the Himalayas.
Sitting on the porch of her vintage farmhouse that overlooks the St. Croix River, Ann Bancroft appeared more homebody than polar explorer the other day.

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