A lifelong athlete and educator whose love for the wilderness includes sharing it with others, Ann Bancroft is the first woman to travel across the ice to the North Pole (as the only female member of the Steger International Polar Expedition) in 1986.
One of the world’s most respected polar explorers, Bancroft also was the first woman to travel east to west across Greenland on skis, leading the first American women’s team (1992). She was team leader of the AWE (American Women’s Expedition), a group of four women to have skied over 600 miles pulling heavy sleds to the South Pole (1993). In 2001, she became one of the first women to sail and ski across Antarctica’s landmass.
A teacher who triumphed over her own struggle with dyslexia, Bancroft also coached numerous sports. She is an instructor for Wilderness Inquiry, an organization that helps disabled and able-bodied individuals experience wilderness adventure. She has developed educational curricula for teachers from elementary school through college, in mathematics, science, geography, the environment and women in non-traditional roles.
Bancroft is committed to and involved with numerous health concerns, including multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and those with learning disabilities. Bancroft has also worked as an active volunteer for women’s health research, literacy efforts and the Special Olympics. She is committed to inspiring women and girls worldwide to follow their dreams.