“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

Written by Alexia Springer

Will Steger
Will Steger

Will Steger, from Ely, Minnesota, was the 4th person to reach both Poles and is an extremely accomplished polar explorer, photographer, and activist. Through his expeditions, he has seen the effects of climate change first hand. Animals rely on sea ice and polar bear populations are declining with ice melting. Steger was also asked to testify before the United State Congress on behalf of climate change.

The Will Steger Foundation educates, inspires, and empowers emerging youth leaders and educators in the Midwest and beyond to slow climate change. They have created a curriculum and training program that connects people to nature, focused on the impacts of climate change in Minnesota. The program encourages instructors to take students outside and into the wilderness where they talk about climate data in terms that students can understand while helping them brainstorm ideas for solutions and change. They believe in the power of the next generation and believe that more literacy is what they need. Check out a video about the foundation: https://www.youtube.com/user/WillSteger1.

High school students from YEA! MN (Youth Environmental Activists Minnesota) show their support for Clean Energy at the US Capitol during Powershift 09
High school students from YEA! MN (Youth Environmental Activists Minnesota) show their support for Clean Energy at the US Capitol during Powershift 09 co-sponsored by Will Steger Foundation

The website includes links for curricula resources on arctic community, citizen climate, experience energy, global warming 101 for grades 3-12, and Minnesota’s Changing Climate Curriculum. The YEA! MN program (Youth Environmental Activists of MN) take control of their own learning by deciding what they want to learn. It has been a huge success!

Steger at the  Homestead, chilling in the frigid waters of Picketts Lake. Photo: Tom Fowlks
Steger at the Homestead, chilling in the frigid waters of Picketts Lake. Photo: Tom Fowlks

Last week, the foundation held a 3-day Summer Institute for Climate Change and Energy Education for formal and non-formal educators of grades 3-12. Other upcoming events include the Climate Ride Midwest and People’s Climate March followed by Climate Week NYC.

Educating, Inspiring and Empowering People to Engage in Solutions to Climate Change
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