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Ann Bancroft

1955 -

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Breaking more than ice, Ann Bancroft shattered the notion that women were too weak to endure polar exploration. Along with Norwegian Liv Arnesen, Ann and she became the first women to sail and ski across Antarctica which encompassed a 94 day, 1,717 mile journey in February 2001. Working up to the Antarctica trek, in 1993 Ann led an all-women team to the South Pole covering 660 miles in 67 days on skis with three other women. After this trip she became the first women to cross the North and South Poles. Earlier, in 1992, Bancroft led another all- woman expedition crossing Greenland, and in 1986 she used dogsleds to travel 1,000 miles from the Northwest Territories in Canada to the North Pole as the only female of the Steger International Polar Expedition. During that trip she earned the distinction of becoming the first female to cross the North Pole.
Growing up in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, Ann loved to be outdoors. Her father took her camping and canoeing in northern Minnesota. When she was eight years she began leading backyard winter camping trips with her cousins. Following her love of the outdoors, Ann earned a B.S. in physical education from the University of Oregon, and began teaching physical and special education in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Presently she is an instructor for Wilderness Inquiry, a group dedicated to helping disabled as well as healthy individuals to experience the wilderness. 

She is also the founder of the Ann Bancroft Foundation which promotes the potential and realized achievements of women and girls. Ann Bancroft's expeditions have been followed and recorded by BBC, CNN, National Public Radio, NBC Nightly News and NBC's Today Show. Articles have been written chronicling her life and achievements in Time, People, USA Today, Ms., McCall's, Ladies Home Journal, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, and many more magazines. Ann has spoken many times for the Learning Disabilities Association, Wilderness Inquiry and Girl Scouts of the USA.
Her life has been recorded in Remarkable Women of the Twentieth Century and in 1995 was asked to be a member of the Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y.. On the same day other women such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sandra Day O'Connor, Elizabeth Dole, Eileen Collins (first woman to pilot a space shuttle), Nannerl O. Keohane (first president of Duke University), and Rep. Pat Schroeder, D-Colo. (who introduced legislation to help women and families) joined her as inductees. Preferring to work on her 35 acre farm, Ann who is soft-spoken and unpretentious understates her impact on women, "I don't think I what I do is all that special". Her brother wears a T-shirt that says "Yes, I Am Ann Bancroft's Brother" to answer the often asked question. Several years ago when she revealed that she was a lesbian, Ann found that her fears of embarrassing questions by the media had gone away. She currently lives in Scandia, Minn. and is 47 years.

by Jane Y. Harter

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Ann Bancroft, Polar Explorer
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Ann Bancroft
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Ann Bancroft Age: 45 Hometown: Scandia, Minnesota Accomplishments ... ...

Ann Bancroft Bio
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Explorer Ann Bancroft honored in Women's Hall of Fame
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Lessons from Antarctica - 3/30/2000 -
... itself.". Polar explorer Ann Bancroft, recalling her first Antarctic ski trip in
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Bancroft donates to Minnesota Historical Society
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1999 Fall Newsletter - Tucker Center
... We are pleased to announce that Minnesota native and Polar Explorer,
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EXPEDITION NEWS - December 2000 Highlights
... Dian Fossey, Mary Leakey, Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle, Eugenie Clark, and Ann Bancroft.
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