Will Steger

Polar Explorer

Explorer-in-Residence, 1996

Photo: Will Steger climbs a glacier in Ellesmere Island in 2008

Photograph by Ben Horton, Will Steger Foundation

Photo: Will Steger, polar explorer

Photograph courtesy Will Steger Foundation, Elizabeth Andre

The fourth person ever to reach both Poles, Will Steger is known by many titles—educator, activist, photographer, and explorer. This former explorer-in-residence for National Geographic is a pioneer in his field, with a series of firsts in polar exploration to his credit.

In 1986 he made the first confirmed unsupported journey to the North Pole, leading a team of eight people with 50 sled dogs. Two years later he guided the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history, a 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland. In 1995, he led a 1,200-mile expedition between Russia and Ellesmere Island, Canada, via dogsleds and canoe sleds with a team of five educators and scientists. This sweeping project earned Steger the prestigious National Geographic John Oliver La Gorce Medal, awarded only 19 times since the founding of National Geographic in 1888. Steger joins Roald Amundsen, Amelia Earhart, Admiral Robert Peary, and Jacques-Yves Cousteau in this honor.

In 2004, Steger led a five-month journey through the Northwest Territories in Canada.

Having testified before the U.S. Congress on polar and environmental issues, Steger has become a recognized authority on polar environmental concerns.

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    Climate Change Solutions

    Established in January 2006 by National Geographic polar explorer, educator and author Will Steger, the Will Steger Foundation first launched the Global Warming 101 initiative to raise broad public awareness about the issue and solutions. Since 2006, they have been making a tangible impact on public awareness concerning the threat of climate change through curricula outreach, youth programming, expeditions, and public outreach.

In Their Words

Having traveled for 45 years in the Arctic, what I've seen the last 15 years is shocking. We need to finally face up that we have an issue here and we need to get back to solutions.

-Will Steger


  • Photo: Will Steger, polar explorer

    Hire Will Steger to Speak at Your Event

    Will Steger was the first person to reach both Poles by dogsled. A later expedition between Russia and Ellesmere Island, Canada, earned him the prestigious National Geographic John Oliver La Gorce Medal.

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