Internationally known polar explorer Ann Bancroft to share her adventures through water and ice


The year was 1986. Ann Bancroft left her teaching position in St. Paul, Minn., with dreams bigger than most could imagine. Accompanied by a team of seven men and 49 dogs, she went on to become the first woman to cross the ice to the North Pole. Bancroft didn’t stop there. She was just starting to realize what she could do in her new role.

Combining exploration with education, Bancroft went on to lead the first women’s expedition to the South Pole and became the first woman to cross the ice to both the North and South poles. In February 2001, Bancroft and Norwegian polar explorer Liv Arnesen became the first women in history to ski across Antarctica. The expedition took 94 days crossing 1,717 miles, pulling 250-pound sleds, enduring temperatures as low as negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit and winds gusting to 100 miles per hour. Bancroft and Arnesen’s latest initiative, Access Water, brings together a team of international women explorers to embark on a journey on all seven continents. The program began in 2015 with a 60-day expedition along the Ganges River in India and will culminate in Antarctica in 2027. Access Water, Mississippi River, takes place in fall 2018.

Join Bancroft on February 3 at Eagle Bluff’s Dinner on the Bluff as she leads attendees on an incredible journey through water, sharing stories of courage, perseverance and curiosity. You’ll feel the bitter subzero temperatures, fight through blinding snow and overpowering winds, face Polar bear threats and ice breaking up beneath your tent as Bancroft shares stories of the risk and obstacles involved with Polar expeditions. The evening’s menu will consists of Mardi Gras dishes featuring a seafood boil, muffuletta and lemon raspberry bread pudding.

Bancroft has a unique ability to translate her challenges and accomplishments to everyday life with powerful lessons of perseverance, ingenuity, personal integrity, goal setting and calculated risk; stories of harrowing adventure and firsts; and actual footage and stunning images from her expeditions.

As an environmentalist and educator, Bancroft believes it’s important to “stay restless and continue finding ways to carry what we’ve learned forward.” She does this by sharing her curiosity and experiences with audiences around the world.

Bancroft is one of the world’s most respected polar explorers and a Minnesota native. An internationally known adventurer and lecturer, her expeditions have been followed by BBC, CNN, National Public Radio, NBC Nightly News and NBC’s “Today Show.” Bancroft was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and founded the Ann Bancroft Foundation, a nonprofit organization that celebrates the achievements of women and girls. She currently runs Bancroft Arnesen Explore Institute with Liv Arnesen, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the voices of girls around the globe by combining exploration with education and providing leadership programs, inspiration and empowerment. She currently lives in Scandia, Minn.

Have any unwanted gloves or mittens lying around? There will be a mitten drive at this month’s Dinner on the Bluff. All donations will go to Eagle Bluff’s gear closet, which helps properly dress students for the winter weather during their outdoor experiences.

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