World-Renowned Adventurers Lead Expedition to Highlight Global Water Issues

Six women will travel seven continents in a multi-year journey to promote access to clean water

In 1986, explorer Ann Bancroft was the only female member of the Steger North Pole Expedition. It was just Ann, seven men and 49 male dogs. As a result, she earned the distinction of being the first known woman in history to cross the ice to the North Pole.

In an appearance on NPR's Wait, Wait .... Don't Tell Me in 2010, host Peter Segal joked, "Did they bring you so in case they got lost someone would ask for directions?"

In February 2001, Bancroft and Norwegian polar explorer Liv Arnesen, became the first women in history to sail and ski across Antarctica's landmass—completing a 94-day, 1,717-mile (2,747 km) trek. Ann, who turns 60 this month, and Liv, 62, are now preparing for a multi-continent series of adventure and education treks focused on global water resources.  

First up is Asia where in fall 2015 they will travel India's Ganges River on a two-month expedition with six other women from six continents. Along the way, through web links, curriculum and partnerships, they hope to engage millions of school kids regarding the plights of the world's water supply. 

"Water encompasses everything," said Ann, who lives on an 80-acre farmstead home in Scandia, Minn.

"It's an element that links us all as human beings. Everyone needs water, and we all have challenges about it no matter where we live." A similar trek is planned for Africa in 2017, with trips to the other five continents in the next five odd-numbered years - all to highlight water's central role in life.

Bancroft is a spokesperson for the Learning Disabilities Association, Wilderness Inquiry and Girl Scouts of the USA. She also founded and currently leads the Ann Bancroft Foundation, a non-profit organization that celebrates the existing and potential achievements of women and girls.

Learn more about her many projects here:

Read about Liv Arnesen here:


The above story originally appeared in Expedition News.

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