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Ann Bancroft          

Pioneering Polar Explorer; Educator; Activist for Women and Girls

Ann Bancroft is one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and an internationally recognized leader who is dedicated to inspiring women and girl audiences around the world to unleash the power of their dreams. Through her various roles as an explorer, educator and sought-after speaker, Bancroft believes that by sharing stories related to her dreams of outdoor adventure, she can help inspire a global audience to pursue their individual dreams.

Bancroft’s teamwork and leadership skills have undergone severe tests during her polar expeditions and provided her with opportunities to shatter female stereotypes. The tenacity and courage that define her character have earned Bancroft worldwide recognition as one of today’s most influential role models for women and girls. She has been named among Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year” (2001); featured in the book Remarkable Women of the Twentieth Century (1998); 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 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 become 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. Throughout this journey, she stayed in contact with children across the country via the internet.

Bancroft’s other achievements include founding and leading the Ann Bancroft Foundation, a nonprofit organization that celebrates the existing and potential achievements of women and girls.

Bancroft, who was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, appeared in Ennis’ Gift, a film about learning differences; a documentary produced by the Ennis Cosby Foundation featuring celebrities who have dealt with learning disabilities, such as James Earl Jones, Henry Winkler, Danny Glover and Bruce Jenner. Most recently, Bancroft partnered up with fellow explorer Liv Arnesen to write, "No Horizon is So Far", about their extraordinary journey across Antarctica, published in October 2003.

Speech Topics

Lessons from the South Pole: Leadership and Teamwork

The Challenge of Adapting to Change

Taking Risks to Achieve Your Dreams


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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