Polar explorer Ann Bancroft sleds by Marine Elementary School

February 12, 2016
Ann Bancroft visits Marine Elementary

World famous polar explorer Ann Bancroft visited Marine Elementary School to celebrate their Winter Warm-Up Challenge. For the past five weeks, students have been staying active outside, while learning how to cross country ski, snowshoe, and ice skate. Parent Stephanie LeGros, who organized the challenge, called it a huge success.

"The whole school had a great time getting outside and being active this winter,” said LeGros. “The students developed an enthusiasm for winter and reached their activity goals. It's great for these kids to learn new skills that will keep them healthy and active in the great outdoors year-round."

Every classroom that participated in the challenge tracked how many times they went outside or played throughout the 5-weeks. Students also recorded how often they were active outside of school. Their goal was 5,000 points. They reach nearly 7,500!

Students celebrated completing the challenge with a special outdoor party. And who better to attend a cold, snow-filled party than Bancroft, the first woman to reach the North Pole on foot and by sled. In 2001, Bancroft and Norwegian polar explorer Liv Arnesen become the first women in history to sail and ski across Antarctica's landmass - completing a 94-day, 1,717-mile trek.

Bancroft, a former elementary school teacher, told stories about her polar expeditions and even brought her sleds for the kids to try out. She said it’s important for kids and adults to know that they can still have fun outside, despite the cold and snow.

“I’m still using the sled I had when I was eight years old,” Bancroft said. “If you’re out playing in this weather you are still a kid."

Marine Elementary facilitated this program in partnership with PowerUp and Lakeview Hospital, Community Education, Healthy Moves and the St. Croix Valley Ski Club. A special thank you to our sponsors St. Croix Valley Foundation, Youth United Way and the Marine School Association.

Organizers hope to expand the Winter Warm-Up Challenge to other schools next year.

For pictures visit our Facebook page.