Exploring by Dogsled, Kayak, Kite Skis
Legendary polar adventurer shares life-long journey, changing environment observations with
Flagstaff Festival of Science
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – They call it sustainability now, but that’s just the way he wanted to live. From his off-the-grid cabin in far Minnesota near the Canadian border to his more than 50 years of wilderness expeditions, polar explorer Will Steger’s life journey has followed three main paths: a deep concern for the environment, a tireless expedition spirit, and a passion for educating others about human impacts on the planet. This month, his journey takes him to Northern Arizona to kick off the Flagstaff Festival of Science – The Science of Change – as the Shoemaker Keynote Presenter, Friday, Sept. 23, at Northern Arizona University.
“I’ve been on the ice when it was breaking up in the Arctic Ocean. In Greenland in 2008, in the early summer ice was thawing at 7,000 feet, which is unbelievable. I’ve seen it (climate change) at the very beginning and all the runs in the polar areas you can’t do anymore, the ice isn’t there, which is pretty shocking. I feel I have a really intuitive perspective of what’s happening. I took my eyewitness account, shared the stories, and it captured people’s attention.”
Steger has traveled tens of thousands of miles on some of the most significant polar expeditions in history by dogsled, kayak and kite skis. Long-time Flagstaff residents may recall Steger’s visit as the Festival’s original keynote speaker in 1990, after leading the first dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply. During the trip, he and his human and canine team members were sponsored by W. L. Gore & Associates of Flagstaff, and outfitted in waterproof GORE-TEX® fabric.
The Flagstaff Festival of Science, Sept. 23 – Oct. 2, is offering more than 100 free science education activities featuring space exploration, endangered plants and animals, drones and robots, a dissecting workshop and Arizona’s own prehistoric reptile Arizonasaurus babbitti. Events include the Flagstaff Star Party, Science in the Park, SCI Talks, guided hikes into the forest, and open houses at research stations and museums. The 10-day Festival also will offer field trips to archaeological sites during the National Park Service’s centennial year and celebrate 130 years of science on the Coconino Plateau with the Babbitt Ranches Landscape Discovery Expo at Arizona Nordic Village!
Free tickets to Steger’s presentation, “My Life as an Explorer,” will be handed out at the door, on a first-come, first served basis. They can be picked up or printed out in advance through the NAU Central Ticket Office (nau.edu/cto; 928-523-5661).
The Festival is made possible through the generous support of businesses, organizations, foundations and individuals. Major sponsors include the City of Flagstaff/BBB Revenues, Flagstaff Arts Council, Northern Arizona University, W. L. Gore & Associates, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Peaks Audio, Babbitt Ranches and the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff.