Geography Program Brings Helen Thayer to Alaska
World explorer to speak on her Gobi Desert journey
Helen Thayer, National Geographic Society explorer and educator, will speak about her experiences in the Gobi Desert at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 25 at the Schaible Auditorium, University of Alaska Fairbanks. Thayer, an affiliate professor of geographic education with the University of Alaska Geography Program (UAGP) was the first woman to walk and ski to any of the world's poles when, at the age of 50, she trekked solo to the Magnetic North Pole without dogsled or snowmobile. Thayer received critical acclaim for her book Polar Dream, which chronicles this expedition. In 1994, just four years after walking to the magnetic pole, Thayer and her husband, Bill, spent one year with their dog Charlie in the Canadian Yukon and in the Northwest Territories, studying and photographing three families of wild wolves at their den site, hunting range and on the sea ice. The remarkable story is documented in Helen's book Three Among the Wolves.
Helen has gone on to explore other far corners of the world, including a 4,000-mile trek across the Sahara Desert and her recently completed expedition across the entire length of the 1,600-mile Gobi Desert. Walking the Gobi: A 1,600-Mile Trek Across a Desert of Hope and Despair, Thayer's story of this fantastic journey, is the title of her book about this expedition and the subject of her free public lecture. A book signing will follow her talk.
Thayer will be in Fairbanks the week of April 21 - 25 working with the faculty of the University of Alaska Geography Program on several K-12 initiatives. Recently, the UAGP and the National Geographic Society entered into a long-term partnership to develop geography-based programs and education resources for teachers and students. The UAGP will also serve as the home for the Society's Alaska Geographic Alliance, one of 50 such state-based alliances that the National Geographic Society is supporting and helping to found.